A recent survey conducted by SuperOffice surveyed more than 1,900 business professionals. When asked what their top business priority was for the next five years, 45.9% listed customer experience as top priority. Not surprising considering the power of customer experience. Research from the Temkin Group reveals that companies with annual earnings of $1 billion can expect to earn an additional $700 million on average by investing in customer experience. Statistics also show that 48% of customers will cut ties with a company after a poor experience. Bad customer service costs businesses in the United States more than $1.5 trillion!
Do you know what most organizations are prioritizing over the next few years? If you guessed customer experience, you’re right!
To deliver an amazing experience, you need to first figure out what exactly your customers want and need. How can you unearth what matters most to your customers? Here are seven tips to get you started.
1. Stop Focusing on the Wrong Things
There are lots of metrics that are useful for lots of different reasons. Metrics like conversion rates and the number of visitors your website receives are important. They're traditional indicators of overall success. But they only tell you about the state of your business. They don't tell you how your customer feels. Instead, focus on satisfaction and engagement. These two metrics are more than just buzz words, they're important markers that give you insight into your customers and how your company's actions are making them feel.
2. Leverage Intelligent Engagement
It's easier than ever to engage with customers in real-time. Social media, messaging capabilities and tools that let you actively talk to customers while they're browsing your website are invaluable ways to interact with your customers. Even more, this gives your proprietary data that you can use to watch for patterns and gain insight into customer challenges, needs and pain points. You can also use this data to schedule regular times to call or email them to talk about things more and create robust customer development. In doing so, you can glean knowledge into exactly what people dislike or like about your products and services — key information if you want to know what matters to them.
3. Create More Detailed Buyer Personas
Simpler buyer personas might use generic details like location, age and profession to base buyer personas one. High level personas might be fine with just those data points. But when you're trying to measure what your customers really want, it helps to dig deeper. One effective resource is Google Analytics' Acquisitions tab, which will tell you about the blogs, professional forums and social media platforms your website's traffic is coming from. Even better, you can use keyword data to discover the way different buyer personas describe your products and services and to figure out what phrases are driving traffic to your website.
4. Ask Them What They’re Thinking
Surveys have a time and place, but they can also be off-putting to your customers if you’re always asking them to fill out a long questionnaire. Including something super simple, like quick SMS messages after each purchase can make a huge difference in gaining useful feedback. This is a fast, effective way to communicate. And doing so after someone has made a purchase sets it up for perfect timing when customers are most actively engaged with the brand or organization. Data suggests that 82% of consumers open every text and 60% read it within five minutes of receipt. In addition to thanking them for their business, the post-purchase text is ideal for asking them to provide a customer satisfaction score so you can correct anything that needs attention.
5. Pay Attention to Behavioral Data
Really listening to your customers is vital. But you can also learn a lot about them using good old observations. Using a one-two punch of survey and behavioral data can give you insight into how perceptions play into customer actions. For example, you might have a large percentage of customers who indicate that they want chat-based support. But if that chat support is usually skipped in favor of phone or email, that tells you more than mere words.
6. Use Predictive Modeling to Plan for the Future
Survey-based measurement systems have value, but they’re aging. They've been the bread and butter of customer experience efforts for the past few decades. While they're a great tool for research, they don't really give what you need to figure out what customers want. McKinsey recently conducted a survey of CX experts and while 93% of respondents reported using survey-base metrics for their main CX measurement, only 15% were satisfied by it.
Those pioneering the way forward are relying on other tools. Some collect interaction and smartphone data to gain deeper insights into customer wants and needs. Others are using predictive analytics to pinpoint trends and patterns that can be used for making decisions for the future.
7. Take a Walk in Your Customers’ Shoes
How can you ever really understand your customer’s wants, needs and desires if you’ve never looked at their experience from their vantage point? Every organization offers a unique journey that takes customers and clients from leads and prospects to customers. Customer journey mapping lets you do just that by illuminating the customer's experience from the very first point of contact through the first purchase and relationship. It identifies key interactions between your business and your customer. It gives you deep insight into motivation, expectations and questions customers have along the way. It can also clearly show you where you’re failing — a crucial point you need so you can correct any shortcomings along the customer journey.