In today’s hyper-competitive business environment, competing on price alone is no longer enough. Companies also need to think about other ways to gain a competitive advantage and stand out from their competitors.
Delivering personalized experiences has slowly started to become the norm to ensure customer satisfaction and gain the upper hand in the market. A positive customer experience is all that separates a company with a good brand image and one that should be avoided at all costs.
As we like to say, customer experience encompasses all the impressions made on a customer as they go through each interaction with a company. There isn’t any other business relationship more important than the one a business has with its clients. Simply put, 84% of firms that have invested in their customer experience have ended up reporting a significant increase in their annual profits.
This is why we wanted to make customer experience the focus of our latest article. The importance of customer experience management cannot be understated. Therefore, we wanted to deliver a thorough breakdown of it so you can understand why you, as a business, should really care about it. So, let’s begin!
What Is Customer Experience?
Customer experience is all about ensuring that customer expectations are met and that your customer interactions have, as an end goal, a higher customer lifetime value. In more simplistic terms, customer experience represents the overall impression a customer has of your brand as they go through each stage of the buyer’s journey.
You could say that customer experience impacts a customer’s view of your brand and can have an important sway on factors impacting your bottom line, such as your revenue. Luckily, there are only two main components making up customer experience:
Making sure that you combine the two seamlessly can provide you with a solid foundation on which to build your reputation. Let’s have a look at a real-life example of this philosophy in practice.
Achieving a Positive Customer Experience — The Case of Oscar
The main goal of a potential buyer is to have a hassle-free customer journey. Nobody wants to feel overwhelmed when they go to a company in order to solve a problem that is already weighing them down. Take the case of health insurance. It is without a doubt an industry laden with jargon and complex topics to wrap your head around.
So, how can you adopt a customer centric approach in this case? By becoming more human of course. This is the mindset Oscar, a New York health insurance company, has built its philosophy around. They’ve taken everything customers hated about the insurance industry and have simplified the process in order to deliver personalized experiences.
Customers get an instant quote on their health insurance by only inputting a few basic personal facts such as marital status, income, number of children, and location. By making buying health insurance this easy, Oscar has ensured a seamless customer life cycle.
The end result of all this? High customer loyalty and exponential growth as customers jump at the opportunity of buying health insurance without the added headaches.
The Importance of Customer Experience Management
All aspects surrounding customer experience, such as what to look out for, what to implement, and how to monitor processes, can all be put together under the umbrella of customer experience management.
Investing in a well-developed customer experience management strategy is a business investment that actually delivers a tangible return. So, what can you expect if you embark on the process of customer experience management? Let’s have a look!
Higher customer lifetime value
Why should you care about having a high customer lifetime value? Well, considering that a business has a 60 to 70% chance of making a sale to an existing customer compared to just 5 to 20% of doing so with a new customer, it should make customer lifetime value all you think about.
Customer lifetime value basically represents the sum of money a customer will spend with a business over a lifetime. Managing your customer experience correctly from day one will ensure this amount will be significant through repeat business and customer loyalty.
Higher customer retention
Once you convert a lead into a customer, keeping said customer is key. Having a well-managed customer experience will ensure higher customer retention.
Retaining your customers for longer will ensure more sales, a higher customer lifetime value and will make it easier for you to increase your return on investment after the initial conversion.
Increased brand equity
How valuable your brand is in the eyes of your customers is what brand equity is all about. Emotions play a vital role in deciding your company’s brand equity. How can you manage these emotions to your benefit? By having an effective customer experience management strategy in place.
If you deliver on your promises, solve problems quickly, and ensure each customer interaction with your support staff is on point, you will undoubtedly build positive brand equity. This will ultimately lead to the building of a solid fan base and efficient prevention of negative reviews.
More effective means of marketing
When you are focused on customer experience, there is every chance you will end up learning a lot about your customer segment. Going through a customer experience management process will force you to look at all aspects of a customer’s journey through your company.
You will end up knowing why they bought a certain product, what they will buy next, and why they’ve reached out to you in the first place. Having this information to hand will take guesswork out of the equation when it comes to developing a marketing campaign.
Challenges of Customer Experience Management
On paper, managing customer experience sounds easy enough. It doesn’t dawn on you how complex it actually is until you try to put it into practice. Let’s have a look then and see what are the main challenges you need to overcome when you are revamping your customer experience process.
Brand consistency across the board
Overall, customers are more than willing to accept inconsistencies in service when different channels are involved. However, they expect the quality of what they receive to remain the same.
Making sure this happens can be quite daunting when you manage a variety of services delivered through different channels.
Making sure brand and channel experiences are part of the same ecosystem
Ideally, your brand and channel experiences should be viewed as a whole unit rather than two separate entities. However, legacy processes, technology, and the very territorial structure of your company can all stand in the way of converging brand and channel experiences.
Synthesizing customer segment data into a single view of said customer
An effective customer experience management strategy has a coordinated customer communication system at its base. Creating a single view of your customer across channels, products and interfaces needs to be the aim here.
However, poorly defined processes, insufficient data, and departmental silos can make this coordinated effort impossible to achieve.
Customer Experience Management — The Collabo Creative Way
Transforming how your business operates and changing its mindset to putting the customer first is no easy feat. Just saying you put the customer at the center of everything you do is not enough to provide a positive customer experience.
Getting to the point where you can reap the benefits of a properly managed customer experience can take some doing. Especially when you consider the challenges you need to overcome.
However, acknowledging that a change is needed is a great start. We can take care of the rest for you.
Our approach to transforming your customer experience management process focuses on three core techniques:
Design thinking: Understanding your customer is the starting point to reconfiguring your customer experience management approach. This is why we place great emphasis on doing thorough research on your customer segment.
Customer experience mapping: This is, genuinely, the easiest way to get to know your customers. If you put yourself in their shoes you will have a better understanding of their behaviors, expectations, and feelings. Mapping their journey will highlight any weaknesses evident in your customer experience.
Design sprints: This is where shaping customer experiences becomes fun. Our design sprints are a medium to promote collaboration and sharing of ideas for the benefit of your customers. These are participatory sessions with all relevant stakeholders geared at identifying problems and encouraging a solutions-based discussion.
Our Approach in Practice — The Case of Indiana University School of Nursing
Our collaboration with the Indiana University School of Nursing (IUSON) had as a primary focus its students. Primarily, how to enhance the student experience for their Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) program. Therefore, we were tasked with helping them to keep their clients happy aka students.
Our challenge was two-fold:
To mold a student-centric mindset
Undergo a comprehensive review of the ideal student experience for the DNP program
Using the design sprint technique, we have organized an in-depth seven-hour participatory session with the DNP program leaders. The aim of the session was to clearly define the academic, social, advisory, and professional leadership parameters for the student experience.
Armed with all the relevant information we then organized a two-day boot camp to further cement the course of action and connect with everyone affiliated with the program, from alumni to professors, administrators, and college deans.
The result of all this hard work? A comprehensive two-year student journey map that is still being used to this day as a focal point when devising any kind of strategic planning within the DNP program.
Ready, Set, Go
Being competitive in today’s business world means competing on more than just price. Offering excellent customer service just on one occasion is still not good enough. Consistently surpassing customer expectations is the key to sustained success.
How do you ensure consistency in such a volatile field? You need to be willing to go through an intense process of customer experience management planning. It is no easy feat. Done properly, it could provide you with a solid foundation on which to grow in the long term.
We love designing customer experiences and helping companies transform their customer service delivery.
Contact us today and let’s see how we can help you consistently surpass your customers’ expectations.