Successful brands know how important customer satisfaction is for the success of their company. Leading companies understand that the way they deliver a product or service to the end customer is becoming as important as the quality of the product.
Customer experience has emerged as the key driver for growth and sustainability across industries, and brands increasingly realize they are in the customer-experience business. The 2020 Publicis Media predictions report reveals the single most thrilling opportunity companies look forward to this year, and just as the year before, customer experience takes the lead.
What is customer experience?
The way a customer perceives your brand through all interactions with it during their customer lifecycle is called Customer Experience (CX). In today's era of modern technology and global connectivity, customers are more informed about brands and products than ever before. Brands are increasingly relying on technology platforms to build good customer experience across multiple communication channels.
Customer experience consists of two basic elements: perception and interaction.
Customer's overall perception of your brand and company comes as a result of continuous interactions with your brand during their customer lifecycle. Every interaction during every stage of the buyer's journey is important and accounts for overall customer perception of your brand.
How is it different than customer service?
Although customer experience and customer service sound very similar to many, one of them represents the entire consumer experience, while the other refers to a single interaction with a brand.
Customer service is the support a company or brand provides to its customers when they face issues during a purchase or while using a certain product or service. It is one part of the complete range of customer experience elements.
Customer service is active and often happens when a dissatisfied customer contacts the company or when they have a question about a product or service. Customer experience, however, is an interactive, holistic approach that represents the buyer's overall perception of a brand. All possible interactions are combined through multiple channels including email, loyalty programs, app-based environments, social media, and digital messaging/SMS.
How to build a customer experience strategy
Data is your best friend when it comes to building a customer experience strategy. Never before have marketers had access to such an extent of various data assets as they do today. Combining third-party data with your own allows you to gain a comprehensive understanding of user experience across many channels and through various touch points.
An effective way to improve customer experiences is by building customer journeys. A customer journey represents the sum of all experiences the customer has had through interactions with your brand on different communication channels. It accounts for every marketing and selling touchpoint across every channel, and when combined, they create a single view of the customer's interactions with your brand.
Combining online and offline experiences is essential because consumers nowadays have more insight into brands and products than ever before. For example, the average buyer will check for reviews online before shopping for a product in an offline store. Likewise, when buying something online, people often go to the offline store first to get a better look at the product. If you're looking for improved customer experience, you must take every single interaction into account.
Tips for improving customer experience
The most important part of improving customer experience is understanding the customer. Each customer has their idea of an ideal experience and it's your job to understand every individual's journey, both online and offline.
A solid customer experience starts with the brand and the brand's understanding of that individual's full scope of interactions with the brand. This is not easy to do - many brands have entirely different departments for email and loyalty programs, not to mention outbound digital campaigns. One of the best ways to ensure that you bring this together is through using a third-party persistent identifier that can connect all of these touch points back to a single consumer ID.
Having clean, organized data that's well-connected across the business and available in real-time is essential. Since many different teams interact with customers and affect customer experience, it's important to have a clear picture of overall effectiveness, and the only way to achieve that is to use data coming from multiple touch points. For example, if the digital team and marketing team aren't connected, they won't know how many times a certain consumer is receiving messages through various communication channels.
How to measure customer experience
How do you know if all your efforts are paying off and if you're delivering a great experience to your customers? One of the biggest challenges organizations face is measuring customer experience. Many successful companies use the Net Promoter Score (NPS) which consists of collecting valuable information by directly asking customers if they would recommend their company to a friend or relative.
Conducting regular customer surveys is also an effective way of measuring customer experience. They will give you a clear insight into your customer's satisfaction with your company, especially when conducted after meaningful moments in the customer's journey.
Customer reviews, social mentions of your brand, press pickups, social shares, and customer interaction: they all fall into account of the overall customer experience your company provides.
However, the real measure of successful customer experience management is through hard metrics—the monetary transactions with your brand. Numbers never lie. If a customer is happy with the experience your brand is delivering, they will continually come back and purchase from your brand.
Customer experience services may seem complicated, but all you need to do is find the right partner. Through our extensive suite of Epsilon PeopleCloud solutions, we help brands connect their consumer’s online and offline activity to a single ID that their brand owns. From there, all media decisions and measurement tie back to that ID, building a comprehensive view of each brand’s customers. We know how to bring data together to enhance your brand’s customer experience and bring it to the next level.