Understanding & Supporting Customer Experience

Mapping customer experience out on a table with post it notes and paper

Last Updated on April 5, 2022 by Ronen Ben-Dror

Creating a great customer experience has two requirements: a lot of work and a customer-centric mindset.

In this guide, we’ll define customer experience, see why it’s so important, how to improve yours, and more. By the end, you’ll have everything you need to deliver the perfect experience to your customers.

Related: Three Tips to Optimize Your Customer Experience

What Is Customer Experience?

Also referred to as CX, customer experience is your customers’ perception of their interaction with your brand or business.

Customer experience is the result of every time a customer interacts with your brand, from visiting your website to speaking with customer service and buying and receiving your products or services.

Everything that you do as a business impacts their perception of your brand and whether or not they keep coming back to you. An exceptional customer experience is crucial to your success.

The Importance of Customer Experience for Your Business

Giving your customers a great experience is vital for any business. For example, the better customer experience you provide, the more positive reviews and repeat customers will receive. You’ll also likely notice a reduced rate of customer returns and complaints.

Some of the top benefits of delivering a great customer experience include:

  • Better customer loyalty
  • Lower customer attrition
  • Higher profitability as a result of greater lifetime value 
  • Greater repeat business
  • Higher customer satisfaction
  • Increased positive reviews
  • Increase in referrals

Every business model can benefit by improving its customer experience. For example, subscription-based businesses can reduce churn and increase retention rates, while e-commerce marketplaces can reduce returns and increase brand loyalty.

Putting customer experience first is always good for any business.

Customer Experience vs. Customer Service

While customer service is part of the customer experience, CX is so much more.

As we mentioned, CX is how a customer perceives your company overall based on their interactions. Comparatively, customer service is more about the customer experience at specific touchpoints where they request and receive assistance.

In other words, customer experience is more extensive than customer service. CX includes every touchpoint customers have with your company, whether when they first hear about you or contact your customer service team for help.

What Defines a Good Customer Experience?

There’s no universal checklist that you can follow to guarantee the best customer experience; your customers and your business are unique. However, some common principles apply in every industry. So let’s look at some of the key points.

You can help achieve a better customer experience by:

  • Making listening to your customers your top priority
  • Using customer feedback to gain a better understanding of your customers
  • Implementing systems to collect, analyze, and act on that feedback regularly
  • Reducing friction and solving your customers’ specific challenges and problems
  • Empower your employees to solve any problem or complaint the right time the first time.
  • Stop offering excuses, start providing solutions

The summary is simple: good customer experience typically comes from asking for feedback, listening to customer responses, and acting on what they say.

Sign that says we hear you in bold caps

What Causes a Bad Customer Experience?

Unfortunately, it’s easier to create a bad customer experience than a good one. Bad CX comes in various shapes and sizes, but let’s look at what frustrates customers the most. Typically, bad customer experience comes from:

  • Dealing with employees that don’t understand their needs
  • Automating too much of the process without human touch
  • Speaking with rude or angry employees
  • Waiting for long periods of time
  • Leaving with unresolved questions or issues
  • Being treated like another customer and not a unique person
  • Shifting blame instead of promoting solutions

For other ideas, try to think about when was the last time you were frustrated as a customer. Most likely, it was one or more of the above causing that frustration.

However, what ends in a bad customer experience for your business will likely be unique, and the best way to learn about it is by opening the door for your customers to leave feedback and working to minimize the factors that cause them to have a poor experience.

Key Elements of a Successful Customer Experience Strategy

Next, let’s talk about how you can create a strategy to give your customers a better experience. Follow these four crucial steps:

1. Map the Customer Journey

Customer journey mapping is required to understand the experiences your customers go through. This process helps you understand what experiences your customers have at different touchpoints. Businesses often perform exceptionally well on some components of the journey, but without a full view, they might fail at some distinct points. Viewing the entire journey and not just some of the touchpoints help frame a better customer experience.

2. Collaborate the Right Way

Having a consistent delivery across the customer journey can be challenging, and it’s often increased by your siloed operations. Until your entire business understands the impact on customer experience, your progress will be limited. For example, having a difficult billing experience can override a customer’s otherwise positive interactions with a business. However, your team that handles the billing might not see themselves as part of the frontline delivery.

Creating a cross-functional experience can help you improve your customer journey and experience in meaningful ways. By committing to a customer-centric view, you can realign existing processes to allow your business to deliver a better overall experience.

3. Listen, Listen, Listen

If you want to design a customer experience strategy that is 100% customer-centric, you need to understand where you currently stand on delivering on your customer journey. Implementing a customer experience program can help you deliver real-time insights into how your customers feel about their interactions with your brand and how they impact their overall engagement with your business.

Soliciting and reporting customer feedback in real-time across every touchpoint and experience can help you identify and prioritize what you need to improve. Customers tell their stories, positive or negative, whether you’re listening to them or not.

4. Communicate More Clearly

Communicating the way you are improving the customer experience is crucial. Your customers want to know that you are acting on their feedback and not just listening to it. Direct problem resolution and customer engagement contribute significantly to how past, current, and potential customers see your business.

You can earn customer loyalty by consistently delivering on your business values and doing well with your customers, which is the key to customer experience success.

Customer Experience Statistics to Understand

Bigger than factors like satisfaction or loyalty, the customer experience is a broader way to define how a customer encounters your brand. It’s everything from the convenience with which they can make a return or the offers they receive that seem custom-made for them.

Here are seven statistics you need to know about the customer experience:

The Phone Is Still Number One. More than half of all consumers across every age group reach for the phone first, holding it at number one for communication channels, according to Zendesk.

Related: How Inbound Call Centers Can Help Small Businesses

Hold Is Your Enemy: Your “please hold” is not part of a great customer experience. HubSpot Research reports that 33% of customers are most frustrated by being placed on hold. A bad call routing solution is also causing aggravation, with 33% of consumers saying that having to repeat their question or concern over and over again is the most frustrating part of their experience.

Service Is Supreme: When a customer’s complaint is rooted in service, your company should take note. Customers with a service-related complaint are four times more likely to switch to one of your competitors, according to Bain and Company.

They’re Talking About It: CFI Group reports that whether your service is bad or good, there’s a 36% chance your customers are talking about it. And one-third of them are posting about it on Facebook.

But Talk Can Be Good: Qualtrics XM Institute research found that 94% of American consumers will talk about a company whose service they deemed “very good.”

Perception Is Reality: McKinsey reports that 70% of the customer journey is rooted in how the customer feels they are being treated.

You Better Be Quick: Research from HubSpot says that customers see an immediate response from your company as being important or very important when they have a service request.

What Customer Experience Means for Your Growth

Customer experience is the critical factor in securing loyalty and fostering growth because it’s not just about what happens at the final purchase. Instead, it’s about every touchpoint between a brand and a customer, from initial online searches for the product to informative content and product comparisons.

Customer experience is all-encompassing, and there are some key reasons you should be perfecting yours:

The Stakes Keep Creeping Up: Consumers are increasingly willing to divulge their information to brands, but they expect access to those details to provide them with an immersive, personalized experience. And they know that if you aren’t delivering what they expect, another brand will. According to a PWC report, 80% of customers identified knowledgeable support, speed, and convenience as their most critical expectations for brands. Notably missing from that list: price.

It Sets Your Brand Apart: Customers want to do business with brands that allow them to interact when they want and how they want. That means they want an omnichannel experience, with the freedom to text, chat, email or call, according to their whims. A company that not only offers the product or service the consumer wants but allows them to tailor their experience is one offering a distinctive customer experience.

It Delivers Results: Investing in customer experience has to deliver better sales, or it’s not worth it. But research from the Temkin Group says that 73% of companies boasting an above-average customer experience outperform their competition. And companies focused on the customer produce revenue that’s 5.7 times that of their competitors.

Looking at eCommerce marketing reports

Benefits of Telemarketing for e-Commerce Customer Experience 

You’ve carefully thought through every step of your e-commerce customer experience, from clear product descriptions to an intuitive site that helps transition your visitors from mild interest all the way to satisfied and loyal customers.

But even when everything is set up for e-commerce to be an entirely self-serve experience, customers still need assistance at times. And when they do, they want to talk to a live agent. The convenience of a seamless online purchase is only enhanced when customers find that an agent is ready to assist them when they run into a challenge.

Your e-commerce site may be designed to work entirely without an in-house contact center, or you may have a small staff ready to answer questions that can quickly become overwhelmed in a rush of phone calls. This is where an inbound contact center service can be a valuable addition to your in-house staff.

There are a number of instances where inbound contact center services are helpful to an e-commerce company:

Helping You Navigate a Promotion or Seasonal Surge: When it’s a busy time, you don’t want to hire someone just for a couple of weeks or for just a couple of hours a day. What you need is something that’s customizable while easy to scale up and down. With inbound contact center services, you pay for exactly the amount of support you need, and when the rush is over, you aren’t stuck with the expense of an unnecessary employee.

A Consistent Experience: You need representatives that consistently tell your brand story, using language that highlights your values and what makes your brand different. An inbound contact center offers customized scripts and training that ensures our agents are seamlessly representing your brand, maybe with even better accuracy than your in-house agents.

Multichannel Support: You want to offer your customers the flexibility to contact you in any way that is convenient for them, but your staff simply doesn’t have the capacity to monitor an array of communications formats. An inbound contact center service offers a way to communicate with customers via email, phone, text, and chat so that your customers’ needs are met in the way they prefer.

Why You Need to Outsource the Customer Experience

Implementing an organization-wide focus on the customer experience is a daunting task, but one way that many companies implement customer-focused practices is by utilizing outsourced contact center services.

Agents trained to be knowledgeable in your industry, offering a consistent and high-quality customer experience, can help your company stay the course in areas like brand messaging. You can also ensure that you spend more time on individual customer interactions so that no call is ever sent to voicemail or missed altogether.

When you outsource to a contact center services provider, they act as an extension of your company, using the same language and messages that make your brand unique. It helps you create that consistently exceptional customer experience for every customer. Your in-house agents are freed up to handle more complex issues, while your outsourced contact center manages the more routine calls.

When you outsource your inbound contact center services, you take the pressure off your in-house agents and improve the customer experience. Here are the benefits you can expect:

Improved Metrics: Across the board, from first-call resolution to overall customer satisfaction, you’ll see better scores from your customers. With custom call guides and fast, thorough interactions with customers, an inbound contact center allows you to handle every issue and resolve it quickly.

Relieve Your In-House Agents: By taking mundane calls, like order-taking, invoice questions, and delivery status updates from your in-house agents, you free them up to address more in-depth issues. This step leads to better job satisfaction among your staff because their jobs become less routine and more engaging.

Get Through a Crunch: Maybe your customer service lines typically hum along at a steady clip, but you’re only overwhelmed when your big promotion runs every spring. Or maybe you need a little extra support during the holidays or when your catalog is distributed each year. Outsourcing to an inbound contact center helps you maintain the level of service your customers are accustomed to and support your brand’s excellent customer experiences.

Access Quality Talent: One of the key challenges for any company is finding the right level of talent to entrust with customer experiences. You want high-quality, trained agents to handle every interaction, and outsourcing can help. Inbound contact center services providers specialize in recruiting talent that is ideally matched to create superior customer experiences.

Cost Savings: Depending on where you are located, talent may be more expensive than it is where you have the opportunity to outsource. Not only do you save on the hourly rate, but you also avoid costs related to onboarding, training, and benefits when you outsource, freeing up your budget to invest in core areas of your business.

Related: How B2B Telemarketing Helps You Connect With Your Customers

The Value of Outsourcing the Customer Experience

There are several key benefits that your company will experience:

  1. Your customers are never placed on hold, so you never miss the opportunity to meet their needs.
  2. With a multichannel service provider, your customers can contact you in the format they prefer — chat, email, text, and voice calls.
  3. It’s completely scalable and flexible to your needs, whether it’s a holiday surge or you’re running a promotion, or you simply need coverage during certain hours.
  4. It’s a human-to-human conversation, adding relationship-building opportunities, along with offering key customer service functions:
    • Appointment scheduling
    • Order taking
    • Upselling and cross-selling
    • Invoice and bill payment assistance

Don’t lose customers to a better experience; with outsourced inbound contact center services, you’ll ensure that yours is the one to be imitated. Contact us at Blue Valley Marketing to learn more.

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