How To Improve Customer Experience And Boost Retention Rates

Simon Davies

Great customer experience (CX) leaves a lasting impression. It can make you feel more positively about the brand and encourage repeat purchases. While this is often conflated with customer service – which refers to the direct assistance and advice provided to customers for a product or service – CX goes several steps further. It’s about the interaction between a brand and its customer for the duration of the relationship, taking in customer care, product and service features, advertising, and social media engagement.

It cannot be overstated just how important this is to a company’s success. A study by the Temkin Group found that 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a great experience. As such, CX can have a major impact on your business’ retention rates and, in turn, your bottom line. In fact, the report found that companies can expect to see a whopping 70% increase in revenue within three years of investing in CX.

But as CX is such a broad concept, how exactly can your brand improve on the experiences you provide?

Understand your customers better

The first step to improving CX is learning as much as you possibly can about your customers. If you don’t understand their preferences and priorities, it will be difficult for you to connect with them and provide the experience they’re looking for. Effective market research is particularly useful to bolstering retention rates, with 54% of consumers more loyal to brands that demonstrate a deep understanding of their needs and desires.

One way of better understanding your customers is by creating personas and giving them each a name and personality. Doing this helps you recognize different sections of your audience and determine what they want from your brand. However, you shouldn’t just rely on demographics like age, profession, and location to create these personas. Use analytics tools to give you real-life insights into your audience, like where your site traffic is coming from. Apply this information to your personas so you know where and when to most successfully reach them.

You can go even further than this with analytical tools to better understand audience preferences. From clicking on a link to reading through a Web page, every customer action provides useful insight into their behavior when using your site. As such, these tools are crucial for gathering and organizing behavioral data on customers; for example, analyzing your website performance, such as what visitors are searching for when they access your site and what the bounce rate is on certain pages.

These details can help you ascertain elements that your audience doesn’t understand or like about your site and create a better overall user experience. For instance, if people are struggling to navigate certain pages, you’ll know you need to be work on them. Another option may include five different cloud solutions that can be used for CX purposes. For instance, a customer data cloud solution helps companies streamline data they’ve gathered on their audience into one app, while a marketing cloud solution can be used to create in-depth customer profiles.

Produce a defined CX vision

The next step to improving CX is to create a clear, customer-focused vision for your company. The simplest way to do this is with a vision statement that can act as a guiding principle for employees. For example, Nordstrom’s mission statement is: “To give customers the most compelling shopping experience possible.” Although clothing choice, quality, and value are all encompassed in the statement, it’s evident that customers are the main focus. By creating a similarly definitive vision for your company, you ensure that employees are all on the same page and motivated to deliver an exceptional experience to customers on your behalf.

To create your mission statement, you’ll need to take into account whether there’s a gap between the needs and wants of customers and what they experience when interacting with your brand. You will also have to think about how your brand can gain an advantage against its competitors and which points on the customer journey require particular attention.

It’s therefore essential to create a customer journey map, outlining each step your customers go through when interacting with your brand – including pre- and post-sale aspects of their experience. By mapping out each of these interactions, you can make it easier for employees to visualize the customer journey and improve their understanding of customer needs at each point on it. Combining this with your CX vision helps employees to pinpoint exactly how they can influence it and improve on their current performance.

Create emotional connections with your customers

The best customer experiences foster a connection with brands on an emotional level. In fact, a study by Forrester and FocusVision shows that 93% of retailers believe customers are more likely to spend money on a brand they’re emotionally linked with. As such, creating these encounters can significantly improve a customer’s brand experience.

There are numerous ways you can foster this connection, with perhaps the most obvious strategy being to make your customers feel like they’re being cared for. This can include anything from paying close attention to their feedback to keeping them in the know (such as letting customers know the exact progress of an order). Another method is weaving user-generated content (UGC) into customer journeys, such as reposting customer pictures on Instagram (always crediting the original account, of course) or encouraging them to produce video content for advertising campaigns. This can spark a greater sense of belonging among your audience, which in turn helps to create feelings of loyalty and affinity. In fact, UGC has been shown to increase online sales by up to 15%.

Even something as simple as using certain colors when it comes to things like your logo, advertising, and office or store layout can help create an emotional CX. Different colors evoke different emotions, so make sure to use colors that are in line with the emotions you want to elicit among your audience.

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About Simon Davies

Simon Davies is a London-based freelance writer with an interest in startup culture, issues, and solutions. He works explores new markets and disruptive technologies and communicates those recent developments to a wide, public audience. Simon is also a contributor at socialbarrel.com, socialnomics.net, and tech.co. Follow Simon @simontheodavies on Twitter.