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Managing customer experience (CX) in real-time requires meticulous tracking, analytics and responses to each interaction a lead, prospect, or existing customer has with your brand—across all touchpoints along the customer journey.
Touchpoints—the critical moments that collectively create an organization's overall customer experience—might look like:
These touchpoints can occur across many different mediums including:
It’s important to note that these touchpoints are affected by multiple business objectives including:
As if the enormity of customer experience wasn’t great enough, companies must also compete with the rising expectations customers have about customer experiences across every company that they are doing business with.
If you hope to increase revenue, improve retention, and build customer advocates, you need to meet or surpass the CX of every brand they’re currently purchasing from.
Plus, with the average adult spending more than 6.3 hours a day interacting with digital media, that’s a lot of content and potential competitors to go up against.
The opportunity to form strong relationships and increase revenue is what makes customer experience essential for organizations to focus on.
Not only is it more likely that customers will continue to do business with you if they have more positive experiences with your organization, but it’s likely they will recommend your product or services to friends and family as well.
According to a Gartner Customer Experience Management Survey, 75% of organizations are able to show that customer satisfaction leads to revenue growth through increased customer retention or lifetime value.
Another study by Walker shows that businesses are relying on customer experience as their key brand differentiator, even over price and product. Gartner echoes this thought, saying more than two-thirds of companies now compete primarily on the basis of customer experience.
Customer service is the assistance and advice provided to a customer for your product or services as needed.
While customer service is a critical function within organizations—resolving customer issues, answering questions, and shaping brand perceptions—it is just one factor in the customer journey.
Customer service falls under the delight stage of the customer journey (after a lead becomes a customer), and is looking for ongoing support and assistance during their partnership.
Customer experience, on the other hand, requires intel across the entirety of a customer’s interactions with a brand.
To improve customer service at your organization, it’s essential to know what your customers expect from you, along with how your customers prefer to interact with your product or services. By gathering insights from your customer experience management strategy, you can continue to delight customers.
The first step to understanding customer experience at your organization is to map the customer journey with real-time analytics.
Organizations that create and understand customer journeys are twice as likely to outperform competitors than those that don’t, according to the Gartner Customer Experience Management Survey.
Creating a 360-degree customer journey intelligence is relatively simple as long as you have access to all of the data in a single view and the ability to map the goals of the customer and your brand at key points in the relationship lifecycle.
To begin your customer journey map:
Enterprises that can achieve 360-degree visibility into each interaction with their leads, prospects and customers—across all mediums—can more easily devise a plan that allows them to meet or exceed customer expectations. In addition, this level of insight makes increasing customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy much easier.
There are many examples of companies leveraging customer journey analytics for a positive customer experience across multiple industries, and within varying business silos. For instance:
HubSpot, one of the most popular CRMs for inbound marketing, sales, and customer service, has created dozens of pieces of content about customer experience. HubSpot even shares an interesting case study about their own path towards perfecting their customer experience management.
When HubSpot first created its CRM in 2006, they targeted two primary personas:
While Ollies made up a more significant portion of HubSpot’s customer base, this persona often had limited resources for the tool. Marys, on the other hand, came with larger budgets, but were often spread too thin, and therefore unable to leverage the full power of HubSpot’s capabilities.
To better understand its ideal customer, HubSpot performed an average customer lifetime value analysis to understand its most profitable customers.
Through their research, they learned that while Marketing Mary had a longer LTV or lifetime value than Owner Ollie, Ollie utilized the CMS more frequently, resulting in a significantly higher retention rate.
To continue to delight Ollie who spent more time using their technology, HubSpot developed an innovative content strategy to keep educating Ollie and, to increase his skill and reliance in using the tools. For continued education for Ollie, the team at HubSpot started to deploy:
To focus on improving Mary’s retention rate, HubSpot began rethinking its payment model. They began monetizing their popular free-ware products by wrapping them into feature bundles.
In its analysis, HubSpot also found that those who used their CMS as opposed to other features of its product were more likely to have a longer customer lifetime value or CLV. As a result, HubSpot began structuring its monthly subscription model differently to make the most of each user:
By encouraging users to leverage its CMS, HubSpot was able to improve retention and decrease the churn rate for its two target personas.
Their continued focus on customer experience management has earned them a significant and loyal following, with their revenue hitting roughly $883 million in 2020.
Sephora’s omnichannel customer experience strategy has long been an example of how to use the offline and online customer journey to build a holistic shopping experience.
Sephora recognized that a large percentage of shoppers used their smartphones to search for online reviews, recommendations, and price comparisons of competing products. Rather than treating personal devices as a threat, Sephora developed a retail strategy to take advantage of mobile technologies.
For example, Sephora was among the first brands launched in Apple’s Passbook in 2012 after realizing that more than 70% of mobile traffic to Sephora.com came from iOS devices. After launching the passbook option, Sephora averaged 87,000 app downloads per week. Sephora deemed the strategy a success after noting that “customers with Passbook spent two times more annually and purchased twice as frequently as the average Sephora customer.”
They didn’t stop there. Sephora also offers a unified and personalized customer experience with other AI-powered features like Sephora Visual Artist.
As you can see from our HubSpot example, service plans play a significant role in the customer experience.
For example, when you go to a cell phone service provider, you may be forced to decide between carry-forward minutes or free calls within a network compared to the cost of such services as push-to-talk, roaming, and messaging. Each buyer will have different criteria they approach your plan with, but if they see a benefit in options offered, they will stick to your brand for the convenience of your service delivery.
Dropbox was a leader in developing the freemium to premium service model, offering 2 gigabytes of storage services for free to users, but charging a fee to users who exceed that threshold.
When first deployed in 2010, Dropbox’s Freemium model did a great job attracting new business (to the tune of 200 million users), but until 2011, 96% of Dropbox customers paid nothing.
By analyzing the customer journey, Dropbox realized its product was receiving a referral rate of about 70%, indicating there was still a huge market for its service. They just needed to find a better way to increase revenue. As a result, Dropbox began adding additional features and products to its original product. Their model changes included:
By understanding the bottlenecks in its existing payment structure and making product improvements to address those issues, Dropbox generated $1 billion in revenue in 2017 from 11 million paying users.
In addition to mapping the end-to-end customer experience to understand the full life cycle from the buyer’s perspective, consider the following tips and techniques for improving customer experience management:
Creating an impactful customer experience can take your company from good to great, but the hard work between your brand’s introduction and a customer’s renewed purchase cannot be overlooked. In order for a CX strategy to be successful, every department needs visibility to be on board at every touchpoint and interaction. Your plans must be built on a unified CX platform that can adapt as new information surfaces as new insights emerge. Not only that, but you need to be able to make decisions based on new information on the fly at each critical junction point.
While most teams already have the systems and data points, they need customer intelligence across channels to create a solid strategy with proper business visibility across teams for a comprehensive view of customer and prospects.
A far-reaching analysis like this can take days—not weeks or months—to create when you work with Scuba to enable customer Intelligence across all channels and departments.