Customer experiences for competitive advantage
In the past, very few businesses could operate in their areas of specialization, unless you were living in a fully market economy. However, times have changed drastically, and the rise of globalization means that more people have access to different stores – the increase of the use of the internet also helps to spread the locations that businesses can cover, and ease the costs of setting up a company.
However, that also comes at a cost – it becomes increasingly difficult to succeed in the business environment of today. The ease of setting businesses has increased, but so has the competition, and you cannot rest on your laurels and expect success to come by – no matter how good your idea sounds. Many business owners today will echo that thought, such as Stylecaret Co-Founder, Nikki Singh, who once said in a recent interview, “the business environment of today is much more competitive than it was 10, 20 years ago. You cannot sit back and wait for customers to notice you; you need to actively put your business out there.”
Well, part of what makes a business stand out is the customer service. Yes, customers can afford to go elsewhere if they feel that you are not serving them well enough, and statistics back that up – 89% of businesses in 2017 relied on positive customer experience to sustain the business in the long term, according to a recent survey. By 2020, predictions show that customer experiences will actually overtake other success factors and make brands stand out – so it is important to know how to stand out from your competition.
Here are some tips to help you with that.
Customer experience and customer satisfaction
You should note that social media has plenty of power in the 21 st century – and any unhappy customer will likely share their unhappy reviews online. Thanks to the power of a few clicks, your business reputation can be ruined significantly. A study by Zendesk, for instance, revealed that 95% of unhappy customers will tell their negative experiences to other people.
Even if you have a great product, it is not enough to have a mediocre customer service. Many customers have increasingly high expectations, and this has forced even the most traditional industries such as banking to pay extra attention to their customers; some due to the competitive necessity, and some from choice.
Customer satisfaction is increasingly under measurement, and service providers will use CSAT surveys to check on sales and support interactions. All these points will contribute heavily to the customer experiences, and change their strategy according to the results they get.
Any of the professional fields in the world of today have customer success as one of their hottest professional fields. That is particularly in the case of SaaS tech (Software as a Service). You might have a company that uses a subscription model, which relies mainly on customers renewing their subscriptions, so you will need to make sure you can satisfy your customers to make them coming back every time.
This is hardly special in this instance, as this is present in numerous businesses and their operations. Regardless of the industry you are in, customer churn is among the worst culprits for killing profits in a company – so the question is how you can make the customer experience better to improve your retention rates.
The easiest place to start is the personalized messaging methods – studies are increasingly showing that more people want a personalized experience from a business they are buying a product from. That means that more marketers will want to make personalized customer stories. This is a great strategy because it will speak to the customer, instead of a mass of customers. You will also take their interests and create strong connections to them, which leads to increasing loyalty.
Improving customer experience
The last part is ensuring you improve your customer engagement – a major aspect of the entire customer experience. This involves the numbers of customers are, and how they are engaging with your brand throughout different channels such as mobile platforms, text messages, support resources, social media, and so on. It is important to ensure the engagement is optimal on all the platforms your business uses, or else it will become a disappointment to the customer.
A recent study from the company WOW, a marketing company, revealed that 52% of customers were less likely to engage with a business after a negative experience on mobile. That may seem strange and nonsensical to you, especially because you are focusing on bigger things – like crafting the perfect website, or thinking that small improvements do not make any impact.
However, when a potential customer tries to contact customer support and fails to get what they are looking for, or try to get on your website and only get a clunky site, then that is enough to ruin their experience.
Developing an opportunity map
When you finish establishing the customer experience, as well as what your competitors are using and identifying the target market, you can then make comparisons – these will help you to know gaps and how to fill them. Keep in mind that the gap might be because of unexpected factors, or intentional choices.
Regardless of the gap and its cause, that alone is a lot of information once you find it out, and you can create a roadmap from it. the process will not be the most straightforward, as it needs you to put yourself in your customer’s shoes and satisfy their needs – even in the future. You will also need to anticipate customer needs and the evolution of your competition.
Regarding the satisfaction of your customers, always remember that it is going to be a never-ending process, and will require you to constantly anticipate their needs. That will need you to be proactive in the process and know how to match others, and align the needs of your customers with your own capabilities – this will give you plenty of competitive advantage.