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Why Brands Need a Modern Customer Experience Strategy in 2023
A modern customer experience strategy, also known as CX strategy, is the foundation of any business. The quality of the CX that brands provide can either delight or burden your customers, resulting in ongoing cycles of brand switching — or surprise and delight.
How your company treats customers directly influences their behavior, and providing a frictionless customer experience not only leads to satisfied repeat customers but also creates customer advocates. In the era of social media, stories of brands going above and beyond in customer service gain media attention, customers’ trust, and ultimately, their wallets.
In the modern customer experience space, doing things differently takes strategy — and adopting a strategic approach is essential. Warren Buffett’s words underscore the importance of building a reputation over time and protecting it: “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”
Create a Modern Customer Experience Strategy in 5 Steps
Brands that excel in customer experience don’t do so by chance. They know how to create a customer experience strategy, and they execute it down to the letter.
A customer experience strategy involves defining, planning, and documenting a company-wide approach to deliver a frictionless customer experience. This requires understanding customer behavior, exceeding their expectations, and addressing friction points throughout their journey.
Customer experience friction points can be anything from ‘speed bumps,’ like long customer service waiting times, to ‘roadblocks,’ such as escalated customer service enquiries that take days to resolve.
Further, according to Gladly’s 2022 Customer Expectations Report, 42% said they would stop buying from a brand altogether after just two bad service experiences. So, perhaps now more than ever, it’s essential for your company to remove friction from customer interactions.
Here are five modern customer experience strategy best practices to cultivate a shopper-centric customer experience.
Treat Customers Like People (Not Numbers)
Growth is good but, when your customer service team goes from managing a handful of customers a week to 100 customers a day, it becomes difficult to keep track of service inquiries.
With an exponential growth in customers, customer service agents have been taught to focus on getting through as many customers or support tickets as quickly as possible. Instead, they should be given tools that enable them to focus on the quality of the service they’re providing and customer satisfaction.
In fact, according to Gladly’s 2023 Hero Experience Report, an average of 47% of all customer service agents polled ranked engaging and conversing with customers as a top motivator in their careers — yet they’re being forced to work in systems that treat customers as cases to resolve, rather than people to help and build connections with.
The best (and unfortunately most overlooked) way of putting your customers at the heart of every interaction is by changing how you view your agents.
Customer service agents were once only seen as a cost of doing business. Now, the evidence is clear: customer service teams can be a major revenue driver for brands. They are in direct contact with the customer and can, therefore, make the most impact.
The Trap of Ticket-Based Systems
When agents can only see case numbers and tickets, it is more difficult to deliver personal customer service. Often, agents’ performance is judged on the volume of tickets handled — not the quality of service they provide. When agents, however, see customer names and their preferences, this sets up the interaction to be immediately personal and solution-driven. This customer-centric strategy also means that the agent has more autonomy to help the customer, instead of having to transfer them or put them on hold.
Behind-the-scenes tools like peer-to-peer task collaboration enable agents to access information quickly. This is crucial to building relationships since agents can assist without having to switch communication channels or transfer customers to another agent.
Reduce Customer Service Waiting Times
Time is one of the most common points of friction for modern customers. Most customers are pressed for time. When they call to speak to an agent, the longer they’re left on hold during their journey, the greater the likelihood of them seeing red.
Having a customer-centric culture means your customers aren’t put on hold while agents liaise with specialists. Having a way to intelligently route customers to agents who are best-suited to solve their issue from the get-go reduce wait times and friction.
In addition, offering your customers an omnichannel experience means they can reach out to your company using the channel most convenient for them – from modern forms of contact, including:
- Social media, including Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp
- On-site chat
- In-app chat
- Voice and IVR
- Self-service, including FAQs
In a recent retail study, PwC found that the number of companies investing in an omnichannel experience increased from 20% to more than 80%. This is supported by a Forrester study entitled, ‘The Total Economic Impact of Adobe Experience Cloud,’ which found that the sharp rise in omnichannel providers is not without good reason. According to Forrester, the omnichannel experience resulted in:
- A 25% increase in web and mobile conversion rates;
- A 10% uplift in average order values; and
- 10% year-over-year (YOY) growth in loyalty program membership.
Increase Personalization (Wherever Possible) in Your Customer Experience Strategy
Loyal customers are valuable customers.
According to the Brand Keys Global Research Group, research shows that when someone is loyal, they are dramatically a better customer: they’re 6 times more likely to buy again, 6 times more likely to buy a new offering, 6 times more likely to recommend and advocate your brand, and 6 times more likely to resist competitor offers.
One way of repaying loyal customers for their allegiance and support is to personalize their experience. How? It’s simple: remember who they are.
The Gateway to Personalization: Access to Customer Data
Making customers feel known means agents seeing customer profiles and past communications on all channels – all on one screen. With this information, agents can assure your customers that they know who they are, what they like and what their history is (no repeat and recap necessary). It also enables agents to help your customers quickly and efficiently – in some cases, by recommending a product that they know your customer will fall head over heels in love with.
It’s this kind of white glove customer service that positively impacts customer engagement, which Gallup defines as, “an emotional and rational attachment to a product or business.” Gallup’s research reveals that “customers who are fully engaged represent a 23% premium in terms of share of wallet, profitability, revenue and relationship growth over the average customer.”
Eradicate Data Silos for a Frictionless Customer Experience
In a company, silos are seldom good. They almost always result in a lack of openness, transparency, efficiency and trust. A data silo is raw information that can be accessed by one department, but is isolated from the rest of the company. It’s another issue that often causes friction.
Let’s say Adam is experiencing a recurring problem with one of your company’s e-commerce retail products. He calls the customer service help desk twice only to be given a solution that doesn’t work. Then Adam’s wife, Eve, calls the help desk on his behalf and expects them to fix the problem once and for all. But if the original help desk agent didn’t make a company-wide record of Adam and Eve’s prior interactions, other agents won’t know that they experienced this problem before. Consequently, the help desk will probably relay the same (failed) troubleshooting steps – frustrating the living daylights out of Adam and Eve who will feel that your company is incapable of fulfilling their needs.
This example highlights two big problems. First, the help desk representative cannot see the history of poor Adam having called more than once. Second, the customer support team cannot see that Eve is in the same household as Adam. By simply having all of Adam and Eve’s calls in one, streamlined place, any agent could have easily been able to see their history of calling in, acknowledged their frustration and been able to provide a solution.
Having a fully-connected customer relationship management tool gives agents complete historical customer information at their fingertips, which improves the customer experience since all agents will be well aware if your customers have previously reached out to your company (and they can act accordingly). Having information in one place means agents can become service heroes and customers will never have to repeat themselves over and over. It’s a win-win for everyone.
Provide Proactive Customer Service
Prevention is better than cure.
Sometimes, it’s possible to stop friction before it even starts. One way your company can do this is by creating a knowledge base to alert customers to potential obstacles up ahead.
The most proactive solution is having a self-service chat widget that helps your customers troubleshoot common problems on their own instead of connecting with agents. As customers are increasingly willing to find answers themselves, self-service is fast becoming the ‘new normal.’ Does your customer service platform support customer self-service? Gladly’s does!
See how Gladly's Self Service feature can empower your customers
Gladly is a customer service platform for digitally-focused B2C companies who want to maximize the lifetime value of their customers. Unlike the legacy approach to customer service software, which is designed around a ticket or case to enable workflows, Gladly enables radically personal customer service centered around people to sustain customer loyalty and drive more revenue.
The world’s most innovative consumer companies like Godiva, JOANN, and TUMI use Gladly to create lasting customer relationships, not one-off experiences.