If you’re a business owner who wants to differentiate your brand, then looking at understanding your customer experience (CX) will give you an edge.
Customer experience is about looking at how you can connect with your customers during their buying journey. You can follow them from the very first time they experience your brand, right the way through to their first purchase. Then you can follow afterwards when they rave about you or return to buy more.
Traditionally business owners are taught to consider just the service they provide their customers, which of course, is an important aspect of keeping customers happy.
Once you shift your mindset from focusing on your customer service to really understanding and then optimising your customer experience, you will start to see some sustainable business growth that you may have missed out on previously.
Let’s look at how.
Customer Experience vs Customer Service - What is the difference?
Customer service is reactive.
Customer service has many facets but some of the key factors include:
- response time
- reactive problem solving
When we look at customer service only, we are solely focusing on the support we offer customers when they aren’t happy or when something isn’t quite going right. It tends to be reactive and something that business owners act upon when a customer gets in touch with them.
Customer experience is proactive.
Customer experience looks at proactively improving every customer touchpoint of your business to improve the way a customer experiences doing business with you before there is a problem, or to resolve a known problem before more customers experience it.
Just to clarify, a touchpoint can be any time a person hears, sees, touches, or engages with your business, whether they are an existing customer or not.
Why shifting your focus to customer experience is worthwhile
Optimising the customer experience is a smart marketing strategy that:
- lowers customer acquisition cost
- reduces customer churn (and staff churn!)
- increases profitability
- improves internal systems and processes
- increases business sustainability
- improves customer satisfaction
- reduces reactive customer service, enabling more proactive customer service
- feels good for you, your staff, and your customers
- increases referrals and repeat buyers
- improves marketing ROI
And, even the smallest of actions to improve your customer experience can dramatically improve these areas in your business.
Where and when do you start?
A customer’s experience can be broken into four stages of their buyer journey: consideration, investigation, buying, and aftercare.
1. When a customer is considering a purchase they are searching for solutions – how will your brand and your products/services stand out from the crowd?
2. When a customer is investigating a solution, they are looking for the best option for them – how are you going to represent yourself as a niche leader?
3. When a customer is buying from you, which technologies are you going to use to make this an easy, seamless process for them?
4. When your customer is enjoying your products/services, how are you going to provide relevant, timely, and genuine aftercare to encourage repeat purchase or rave reviews?
All businesses have these buyer stages, therefore all businesses - new and old - can make a start on optimising their customer experience. Even the smallest of improvements can make big differences.
The sooner you start, the better.
Even if you have a brand new business, being aware of how a customer may experience your business at each of these phases can help you setup your business to reap the rewards from the start.
Where to start
I normally recommend starting with a Customer Experience Audit. You could also review your customer’s frequently asked questions or customer service logs, to determine which of the buyer stages needs priority improvement. Start there for the quick wins.
To get a Customer Experience Audit worksheet and walk-through demostration, enrol in this 5 module self-study ecourse.
Shift Your Focus For Business Growth
Improving your customer experience is paramount to seeing authentic, profitable and sustainable business growth happen faster in your business.
Start with an audit of how your customers currently experience your brand through the four stages of their buyer journey and go from there.
You can learn the basics of improving your customer experience in the Optimising Your Customer Experience Upskill course.
If you have questions, feel free to leave a comment or ask on our Facebook page.