Most companies today know they’re supposed to have a customer experience strategy – but do they?
Up to 84% of customers say the experience a brand provides is equally important to the product itself.
You can find statistics like that everywhere, pushing companies to prioritize their online customer experience – often without even knowing where to begin. Most don’t even have the resources to begin: 69% of marketers say traditional marketing roles can only do so much to improve customer engagement. And 79% say their companies lead “customer experience initiatives” but does that equate to a dedicated strategy?
Don’t be so sure.
Customer experience is too fluid to pin down and optimize without the right tools and data. Inaccurate or inaccessible data is a huge problem across 41% of organizations already. Implementing technology, meanwhile, creates another multifaceted challenge. Most companies have certainly taken steps to improve their customer experience – whether with AI tools, hiring CX experts, or other initiatives – but don’t be so sure about a dedicated strategy.
8 Basics to Lay a Foundation for Your Customer Experience Strategy
Take your customer experience strategy slow to avoid losing sight of the goal.
For example, there’s no need to overhaul your entire website for customer experience if your customers already love the website you have and interact with it.
Don’t let yourself assume new is always better. Your strategy should keep what works and improve what doesn’t – for your customers.
1. Segment Your Customers to Understand Their Needs
Before proceeding, figure out who your customers are and what they need from your online experience.
Start by breaking your existing customer base into different groups based on shared information like:
- Types of products they buy
- Features they use
- Company size
- Job roles
- Pain points
Use each group as a foundation to create a detailed customer persona with firmographics and what they’d appreciate from a customer experience. It helps to note each segment’s age and familiarity with technology.
2. Map Customer Touchpoints in Your Current System
You don’t want to fix anything that’s not broken. A complete overhaul could even overwhelm your customers.
Instead, create a touchpoint map to outline the different ways customers already interact with your website.
What do they visit your website to do? Where do they exit your page? Where do they go next?
3. Synch Data and Tactics in a CRM
A contact relationship management system serves as a dashboard for integrating data from multiple sources. It is easier to keep data clean and put it to work when it’s accessible in one place.
Plus, every department can play its role in the customer experience without holding others back. One unified platform focuses your team on a unified goal: the customer.
4. Figure Out the Ideal Journey for Your Customer Experience Strategy
Using what you know about your current weak spots and customer expectations, start building your ideal journey for each segment.
Make sure to include platforms beyond your website: Nearly 70% of customers expect inter-connected experiences from your brand across multiple channels.
Your website should be the foundation of your customer service strategy while other channels – like apps, social media, tools, email, and blogs – come secondary.
That’s the best way to stay focused and ensure your efforts revolve around a central experience.
5. Clean Up Inefficient Touchpoints with AI and Automation
Artificial intelligence makes it easy to level-up your customer experience strategy with user-friendly tools. Look for inefficient touchpoints to improve with tools like:
- Chatbots to answer immediate questions
- Adaptive FAQs or knowledge bases
- Triggered email nurturing journeys
- Smart search or filtering features
Tools like these improve the customer experience without removing important human elements like live chats or customer service reps.
6. Add Predictive Analytics to Your Content Personalization
You can also add AI-powered predictive analytics to your website’s content experience for personalized recommendations.
For example, customers who fall under specific verticals or use certain product features would see a personalized resource center that displays the most relevant content to them.
The AI tool would take note of what they’ve read, offer relevant suggestions, and allow them to save content for later. Plus, these predictive AI tools use machine-learning so they improve themselves over time.
7. Give Something Away in Your Customer Experience Strategy
For companies in technology and other intangible industries, free trials are a must in every customer experience strategy.
Make sure your free trial is comprehensive enough for customers to understand the product’s full capabilities. Likewise, 14 days seems to be the sweet spot for conversions – certainly no less.
Don’t leave existing customers out. Reward your loyal customers with access to beta features, low-cost upgrades, and referral programs.
You could take notes from consumer brands by offering ambassador programs where customers can earn points for sharing your content on social media or talking about your product.
Word-of-mouth is still some of the best advertising so don’t neglect this in your experience strategy.
8. Run Ongoing Tests and Keep Improving Your Customer Experience Strategy
Every CX strategy is a work in progress. Your customers’ expectations today won’t hold up several months out. Just look at how customer experience expectations changed over only a few months in 2020.
Run ongoing tests across different touchpoints and tools to identify areas for improvement and calculate the ROI of specific initiatives.
Make sure you supply a channel for customers to submit suggestions and problems as well. No one expects technology to work perfectly 100% of the time but they will get frustrated if there’s no human alternative or function to report problems.
There’s No Need to Rush When You Prioritize Customer Experience in Your Strategy
It’s easy to get lost in the expectations set by other companies, the latest AI tools available, and CX stats telling you what you’re supposed to do.
Just let your customers dictate your customer experience strategy – why overcomplicate things?
Data can help you understand your customers and technology can help you improve their online experience. If you lose sight of the goal, you’ll never achieve the results you expect from your investment.
Treat yourself to a new experience. Register for an upcoming webinar or Morning Marketing Mug in the Televerde Resources and Events Hub.