Simplify Customer Data Acquisition, Improve Customer Experience!
By Guest Blogger, Daniel Newman
The customer experience (CX) is increasingly driving business success worldwide. With customers able to share their experiences online in real time, companies in every sector—from retail to healthcare—are realizing CX has the ability to make or break a reputation, and to do it even faster than ever before.
Not buying it? Consider this: Research from Forrester shows that in 2016, companies deemed “CX Leaders” in their markets outperformed revenue growth of “CX Laggards” 17 percent to 3 percent. It’s no longer enough simply to provide a service consistently. Customers want to enjoy, share, and get excited about the experiences they are having with their favorite products, restaurants, and clothing.
Customer feedback and data acquisition are important parts of building a strong CX strategy. In fact, I’ve never seen a successful business that doesn’t thrive on customer feedback. Luckily, the digital transformation taking over our modern business world gives us even greater, stronger tools for measuring customer satisfaction. Even better: We can do it relatively easily, and in real-time. The following are a few simple ways to gather data while enhancing your CX.
Let Technology Work for You
Data is obviously an important part of CX, but the way successful companies are gathering data today is changing. Shoppers and diners have less time and move more quickly than ever before. They want to feel important, but they also want to be on their way. That means companies need to focus on fewer smart, targeted questions that will truly help improve CX, rather than lengthy customer surveys and mail-in questionnaires. That’s where artificial intelligence (AI) and automation can help.
For instance, AI can prompt web site visitors who are slow to click “Buy” after they’ve added an item to an online shopping cart and ask them instantly why they failed to pull the trigger on the item in question. It can also automatically send reminders about the un-purchased items, or send coupons encouraging unconverted shoppers to return for the item once they have left the online store. I’ve personally never loved a company more than when they send me unprompted coupons (at least, unbeknownst to me) for items I was planning to purchase anyway. AI and automation can also allow you to send recurring reminders or coupons for items that need to be refilled or renewed regularly, encouraging a long-term shopping relationship and making it even easier for customers to get what they need.
Look Beyond Data
Yes, data is extremely important in the CX realm. But it’s also important to remember that customers are not data points. Today’s marketing teams need to look beyond healthy sales numbers to understand true trends and keep those numbers growing. Of course, they still need to look at customer satisfaction scores in every customer-facing part of the business, and determine how to address those that are lagging in a way that is meaningful for customers or clients. But they also need to pay attention to verbatim survey responses and social media trends to understand what customers are saying to their friends about their products once they’ve left the store or office.
Focus on Keeping Your Advocates Happy
I read there are two important parts to marketing: Getting leads and converting them. I would add one more: Keeping customers happy. That’s where CX comes in. It’s no secret: It takes a lot more money—and effort—to get a new customer than it does to keep one happy. That’s especially true when it comes to your company’s “Advocates” and “Evangelists”—the ones who are singing your praises to friends and family, and visiting your store or restaurant on a regular basis. One report shows that these customer segments spend 17 percent more every month. They’re also creating new customers for you, just by word of mouth. Its important that your CX program keeps them happy!
This is also a place where AI and automation can help, making loyalty and rewards programs even easier than ever. Square, for instance, can automatically track purchases and email addresses of those shopping or dining with your business. Why not use these tools to count and automate milestones for your active customers, sending text coupons or emails instantly for those reaching certain plateaus or sharing their experiences on social media?
Understand Your Customers
Customer service is no longer a one-way street with a company providing a service and a customer moving on his or her merry way. In today’s selfie-loving market, customers want to be seen and heard, especially when spending hard-earned money. But traditionally, it’s been difficult to get customers to respond to tedious surveys and questionnaires. One way to help is to look beyond your service and see what your customers truly need and want—not just in your stores, but in their lives. A great example: A number of stores, such as Neiman Marcus, have recently begun offering WiFi charging stations for those frustrated customers down to their last few bars of power. Realizing no one can stand to be without their phones, they used this need to draw customers into their store, and then linked a customer satisfaction survey to their charging process. This allows the store to get real-time feedback while the customer is still in the store.
Listen to Their Feedback
Is there anything more frustrating than having someone ask you what you think, and then not caring what you tell them? It’s the same with customer satisfaction. You can ask for all the feedback in the world, but if you don’t listen, your customers will feel even more frustrated and under-valued—the exact opposite of what you want from a CX program. With today’s technology, it is even easier to hear, process, and respond to customer feedback, including negative feedback, to win back that customer’s loyalty and trust. Someone unhappy with their meal? Instantly text a coupon for a free appetizer or entrée. Someone unsatisfied with their golf lesson? Offer another lesson immediately with a different instructor.
One of my fellow colleagues at Futurum recently noted, the digital transformation isn’t just about technology—it’s about people … “creating experiences and making every experience, every touch point, and every interaction one that is pleasing to your customers.” Today’s technology is here to help you do that. It takes the weight off your shoulders by processing and automating meaningful responses, and gives you new tools for meeting customer demands faster and easier than ever before. You could almost say there is no reason not to develop a strong CX strategy—let alone strong CX results.
Additional Resources on This Topic:
Competing on Customer Satisfaction: Your Best Bet for the Win
The Seven Laws of Digital Transformation Revolve Around the Customer Experience
How Technology has Changed the Customer Journey