The new differentiator
Customer experience has become a top priority for businesses in recent years.
Many companies are now realising that customer experience is the key differentiator between them and their competitors. A recent study by Walker Information found that 86% of customers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience.
If you feel lost by all the buzz around it, this article seeks to tell you why you should care while clarifying what customer experience is and what it is not.
First, customer experience is not the same as customer service. Customer service is just one part of the customer experience.
What exactly is customer experience?
Perhaps, one of the best definitions is the one by Bigdata Insider:
“Customer experience is the sum of all experiences that a customer has with a company or a brand. It comprises the subjective evaluation of the customer’s experiences at the various touch points during a customer journey.”
Zendesk defines it thus:
Customer experience (CX) refers to all aspects of a company that influence a customer’s perception and feelings about that company.”
Putting everything together, we can define customer experience as the sum total of all touchpoints a customer has with your brand, from initial awareness and discovery to purchase and post-purchase follow-up.
And at each of these touchpoints, customers form perceptions about your brand.
The following points stand out from this definition:
- Every touchpoint in the customer journey is critical: Make sure every touchpoint is positive. This means that every interaction a customer has with your brand should be a positive one. From the initial contact to post-purchase follow-up, each customer should feel valued and appreciated.
- Customer experience is subjective: What one customer may perceive as a positive experience may not be the same for another customer. It’s important to be flexible and adaptable to create customer experiences tailored to the individual.
- Consider both rational and emotional factors: You also need to create an emotional connection with your customers. Besides creating customer experiences that are memorable and enjoyable, you also need to ensure that your brand values align with their own.
Why is CX important for your business?
Good customer experience profoundly impacts your business, boosting conversion rates, word of mouth, and Customer Lifetime Value. In other words, it’s an essential part of any growth strategy.
Yet too many businesses still treat customer experience as an afterthought. They focus on acquisition, forgetting that it’s just as important to keep your existing customers happy.
Don’t make this mistake. Customer experience should be a top priority for any business that wants to thrive in the long term. Here’s why:
- Increase conversion rates.
Investing in customer experience is one of the most effective ways to increase conversion rates. Why? Because happy customers are more likely to buy from you again and recommend your products or services to others.
Think about it: when was the last time you bought something from a company you had a bad experience with? Probably never. On the other hand, you’ve probably made multiple purchases from companies that you’re happy with.
- Generate word of mouth.
Positive word of mouth is one of the most powerful marketing tools. And it’s almost entirely driven by customer experience.
People are more likely to talk about a company if they had a positive experience. They’ll tell their friends and family about the great product they bought or the fantastic service they received.
On the other hand, if they had a bad experience, they’ll be sure to spread the word as well. No amount of marketing can counteract negative word of mouth.
- Build Customer Lifetime Value.
Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) is a measure of how much revenue a customer will generate over the course of their relationship with your business.
Not surprisingly, CLV is directly affected by customer experience. Happy customers are more likely to stick around and continue doing business with you, while unhappy customers will quickly move to your competitor.
Good customer experience leads to a higher repurchase rate and average order value. This translates to more revenue for your store over the course of time.
If your business wants to increase customer lifetime value, investing in customer experience is a no-brainer.
- Decreases acquisition cost
Customer experience decreases both direct and indirect costs. You may have heard that it is cheaper to keep an existing customer than to acquire a new one.
In fact, if you are using paid media to acquire customers, the cost of keeping those you are already have is 16 times cheaper than acquiring new ones. This is especially so if you have a good customer experience strategy.
When you invest in customer experience, you make it easier for customers to do business with you. They have a positive experience, so they’re more likely to stay loyal to your brand. This reduces customer churn rate and helps you keep your costs down.
Let’s say you spend $50 to acquire a customer. You do not need to pay that acquisition cost again when that customer buys from your brand the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th time.
To ensure they return for that repeat purchase, you need to make their post-purchase experience so good that they won’t hesitate to return to your store again.
- Stand out from the competition.
In today’s competitive marketplace, customer experience is more important than ever. It’s no longer enough just to have a good product or service. You need to offer a fantastic customer experience as well.
It is, in fact, the new differentiator.
Differentiating your brand based on customer experience can be challenging. But it’s worth the effort. Customers are increasingly willing to pay more for a better experience, so it’s a great way to increase revenue.
Now that you know how important customer experience is, you may wonder, “Okay, I get it! But where do I start?”
In this article, we’ll lay bare every touchpoint along the customer journey that you should start optimizing to improve your customer experience.
Touchpoints that impact customer experience
Every touchpoint, from the awareness to the point the order is placed and all the way to delivery is critical for the customer experience.
However, where the real value is created is the post-purchase experience after the order is placed. It is, therefore, essential to see the post-purchase experience as a profit centre rather than a cost centre.
For DTC brands, six post-purchase touchpoints will significantly impact your customer experience and the perspectives customers have about your brand.
It is therefore imperative to optimize every one of these touchpoints.
Failure in any one of these will hurt your overall customer experience.
These touchpoints are:
- Shipping (Delivery)
- Post-purchase communication
- Customer support
- Community building
Shipping is a general term that usually involves several steps. However, all those steps can be grouped into two distinct stages viz.
- Fulfilment (Shipping #1)
- Handing over to carrier (Shipping #2)
In fulfilment, 4 distinct steps are involved:
- Packing lists
- Handing over to the carrier
This is followed by handing the order to the carrier:
- Shipping #2
- Handing over carrier
- Handing over to the customer
These 6 touchpoints are the two most important every ecommerce should audit and seek to optimise to ensure as many customers as possible leave with a good impression of the brand.
In subsequent articles, we shall examine all of these touchpoints one after the other, and suggest ways to optimize the customer experience.
Where necessary, we shall also cite examples of brands that are offering next-level customer experience.
Do you need help with auditing your customer experience? Or, are you looking to convert more of your visitors to paying customers, and one-time customers to loyal brand advocates?
Feel free to reach out to us using the Contact Us button.