86% of customers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience. Given that, it's not surprising that two-thirds of businesses compete primarily on the customer experience they are able to provide.
Superior customer experience builds a foundation of trust and creates customers who are not only willing to pay more for the same products and services, but also eager to become brand ambassadors that will spread the word about your company.
But while it might be easy to see why customer experience is crucial to business success, figuring out how to improve it isn't as straightforward. Sure, you can apply industry best practices and utilize technologies to create a more positive customer experience, but you also need to know exactly what your audience wants in order to cater to their specific needs and improve customer loyalty.
To help you get better at meetingt customer expectations, let's take a look at why starting with your audience makes sense, how today's customers perceive their brand interactions, and how to connect the experiences you provide with your audience.
Know Your Audience First
Customer experience refers to your audience’s perception of every interaction with your business. And that's why they are the best resource for discovering your customer expectations, improving customer retention, and preventing unhappy customers from leaving without ever voicing their issues.
Customer feedback can become the single most powerful tool in your arsenal, providing an effective and reliable method for answering the crucialalmost any questions you might have about your business. Collecting feedback at every customer touchpoint allows you to understand each bad customer experience, showing attention to the individual while also learning how to prevent the situation in the future.
But how can you discover insights about the customer experience through feedback from your audience? Let's look at a few different methods that are proven to work.
Even though there are many excellent tools for collecting customer feedback, one-on-one interviews remain a staple for gaining insights into the digital experiences of your audience.
By sitting down with your customers, you can take more time to understand not just how they feel but also the thought process behind their opinions and actions. You can dig deeper into the initial questions, asking for follow-ups that would help you better understand the context of their experiences and how your CX choices impact their satisfaction.
While interviews do take time to set up and execute, the benefits for your customer experience strategy are immense as well. Customer perceptions of your services should be the primary driving force of change and having different customers share their opinions with you is the single best way to make sure they remain happy.
When you want to reach more people and capture different aspects of the customer journey, surveys can be the perfect tool for asking multiple questions and getting thorough and specific answers.
While surveys don't provide as much context as in-person interviews, they have the advantage of being largely automated, which means the volume of responses you get will be larger and you’ll have a bigger scope of data to work with.
And to compensate for the lack of context, you can use surveys at various stages of your customer journey, asking targeted questions about specific, recent, and relevant experiences that they had and later use the answers to see how your customer base responds to the services, products, and overall brand experience you have created.
Even single-question surveys such as an NPS survey can be incredibly valuable, especially if you are deliberate about using it at various touchpoints and tracking whether your customers have a positive experience.
Analytics has become an indispensable part of any comprehensive customer experience management (CXM) strategy. Even though you can learn a lot from interviews and surveys, analytics can provide you with real-time data about what your customers are doing and how they're interacting with your products.
Products like Alida Analytics enable you to create a unified view of the essential customer experience metrics. It allows you to import both external and internal data, see how your customer behaviors evolve over time, and provide you with a complete picture of what you should prioritize.
The reason why analytics play such a vital role in improving customer experience is that it provides context on how your users are actually interacting with your website, products, and social media.
Hearing your customers talk about how they perceive their problems and your brand is essential, but having data that can enhance the direct insights is the only way to verify that what you are hearing is in line with your customers' actions.
And when you have a comprehensive way to track analytics, that can not just reshape how you approach CX but also give you insights for reducing costs, simplifying processes, and making better data-driven decisions.
Customers Are Hungry for an Experience-Based Connection
The experience economy is a term that's been used for decades. But today, it might be more relevant and important for success than ever before.
With products and services becoming more readily available, companies will need to find ways to take their customer experience to the next level through personalization, customization, and exceptional service.
And the truth is, it's not just a matter of gaining an advantage over the competitors. Today's customers expect an experience-based connection that's built on more than just the transaction of buying the products.
Sure, consumers need high-quality solutions that deliver on promises and solve the issues they are facing. But at the same time, they want experiences that aren’t just transactional in nature, instead, they prioritize relationships with companies that are willing to go the extra mile to make the customer feel important, taken care of, and protected.
Today, a successful company must have a comprehensive strategy for measuring customer experience at every touchpoint. The experience-based connection is what allows for a more emotional and invested connection between the brand and the customer, which is an integral part of customer loyalty and building lasting customer relationships.
But what does an experience-based connection look like in practice?
Let's look at a few key aspects that you should consider.
Track Key Audience Behaviors
As mentioned before, knowing who your potential customers are requires you to have a deep understanding of what a typical happy customer does by using customer surveys and interviews, as well as analytics data.
Only when you know how your customers think and behave can you start developing the fundamental principles of their experience that will serve as the very essence of better customer satisfaction.
You should have a process (and the right tools) for setting up surveys, interviews, and analytics in a way that's convenient. At the same time, the data you generate should be easy to access and analyze for your team, as that's the only way to ensure that you actually get insights you can take action on.
Anticipate Your Audience’s Needs
When you know what your customers expect, you can anticipate and stay one step ahead of their needs. Instead of having to react to issues that are brought to your customer service team, you can focus on improving your current CX processes and planning ahead for the types of challenges, obstacles, and needs your customers are likely to deal with.
Even when something does go wrong, you should have processes in place to make quick adjustments on the go that will prevent your target audience from having to deal with similar situations in the future.
For instance, you might notice that many customers are facing similar challenges when figuring out how to use a product. Instead of allowing the issue to persist, you should either look into simplifying the product’s UX or develop a guide or knowledge base that would help customers learn how to use it on their own.
Nurture the Conversation with Your Audience
Understanding your audience is essential, but you must also show your customers that you know what they need through your social platforms that they engage with the most. The team responsible from your social channels should promote relevant content that will ensure that your audience feels like your brand knows them and is aligned with their worldview, which will also have the added benefit of making your campaigns much more successful.
At the same time, you should carefully select the most promising marketing channels for establishing a stronger connection with your target audience, showcasing the customer experience that you have created and the unique benefits it offers.
How Customer Experience is Connected to Your Audience
The insights you collect from your audience is intrinsincally connected to your customer experience. While you can apply best practices and new ideas to your customer experience, lasting and significant improvements are only achievable if you analyze both positive and negative feedback, as well as user behaviors, and use that information to make decisions for providing a consistent experience your audience wants.
Because of that, you need to have a comprehensive strategy for collecting customer feedback through various digital channels and using them to make better decisions about the critical customer experience challenges your current users are facing.
The good news is that there are many ways to keep the conversation going with your current customers. You can use interviews, surveys, and analytics to get a complete picture of their behaviors, preferences, and biggest needs.
At Alida, we provide a broad range of solutions aimed at making these tasks more efficient, convenient, and valuable for your business. Using the Alida CXM platform, you can get a complete view of how your customer experience compares to what your audience expects.
Customer experience is an integral part of sustaining growth for your business over the long term. Only by consistently creating positive customer experiences can you expect your customers to buy again and share your message with others.
The good news is that you can generate useful insights about your audience through voice of the customer research and then use that information to make informed and data-driven decisions about your customer experience strategy.