Creating a Customer Experience Strategy for Long-Term Loyalty

Gladly Team

Read Time

5 minute read

At Gladly Connect Live 2023, Mara Castro, Executive Vice President of Customer Experience at the vacation rental service, Evolve, spoke about the impact a good customer experience strategy has on creating long-term loyalty in a fiercely competitive digital marketplace.

Read on to discover Castro’s valuable insights on how you can create a successful CX strategy, or watch the full on-demand session to hear straight from the expert herself (below).

What Is a Customer Experience Strategy?

A customer experience strategy is a detailed plan for providing consistent, effective service to each and every shopper.

Your customer experience strategy is essential to the way your shoppers perceive your brand, interact with your team, and form their buying habits. A poorly designed strategy (or lack of one) can lead to frustrations among customers and customer service agents alike. Alternatively, a well-structured customer experience strategy builds loyal customers and creates cohesiveness across your organization.

How Do You Create a Good Customer Experience Strategy?

Castro highlighted the importance of customer feedback as it relates to creating a customer experience strategy, and understanding how your customers interact with your brand. Look for feedback through quantitative sources, like customer satisfaction surveys, and qualitative sources, like individual interactions. This customer-centric approach can then help you identify key pain points in the customer experience journey where your agents may be best suited to help.

Castro explained that this information can then become the basis for not only your customer experience strategy but your service strategy as well. Once your team is aligned, you can then implement some of these key tactics within your customer experience strategy.

Create Positive, Interconnected “Phygital” Experiences

According to Castro, certain aspects of customer experiences that shoppers don’t like can be found in both physical and digital environments — like having to repeat themselves, issues at the purchase point, or not understanding product information.

During her time with the eyewear company Warby Parker, Castro was tasked with translating the in-store eyewear experience into a digital one. In doing so, she set out to eliminate prevalent issues for customers who interacted with the brand both in-person and online.

She discovered that brands could adapt to fit customers’ needs by providing them with easy experiences that connect across all “phygital” spaces. This enables smooth interactions across different channels while maintaining personalization, regardless of where customers shop.

Providing these positive experiences is also how you can build on what Castro refers to as “earned growth.” Castro emphasizes the fact that loyalty is built by providing great experiences, which then transforms your customers into brand advocates.

These brand advocates can become your greatest assets for acquiring, maintaining, and capitalizing on loyal customers in the future. By properly leveraging these brand advocates, your company can grow organically over time by retaining customers and revenue.

Creating Advocates Through Exceptional Experiences. Faced with a crowded market, Chubbies was able to turn their customer service interactions into a community of fiercely loyal customers that have become their #1 asset in expanding their brand. Discover how they did it and the power of building community on our podcast.

Creating Advocates Through Exceptional Experiences

Faced with a crowded market, Chubbies was able to turn their customer service interactions into a community of fiercely loyal customers that have become their #1 asset in expanding their brand. Discover how they did it and the power of building community on our podcast.

Use Technology to Help Your Business Scale

Brands that can scale their CX and support centers in tandem with the size of their business itself have a much easier time creating strong, long-lasting customer relationships. Tech is the enabler of rapid scaling, Castro noted, and is an inspiring forecaster for brands that want to embrace these tools in a way that’s actually designed to build brand affinity.

The rise of automation and AI in customer service is helping agents provide comprehensive service in larger quantities without a drop in quality. It not only reduces the burden on individual agents but also allows customers to have more options for their chosen experience.

Castro also highlighted the importance of understanding that your brand may not be able to do it all as you scale. Brands can be so focused on trying to be the best at everything that they lose their differentiation in the process. Using high-quality technology to support your business operations lets your team create a uniquely valuable customer experience without sacrificing what makes your business special.

Scale Efficiency Alongside CX

As you grow, the technology you use can transform your customer experience if used properly. Discover how to improve efficiency and CX processes using automation and AI in our webinar with the chief technology officer of BARK.

Meet Expectations Amid Shifting Customer Standards

Customer expectations are increasing rapidly, especially as shoppers become more accepting — and even demanding — of fast-paced tech in CX. Castro provided a roadmap for meeting modern expectations in a way that isn’t detrimental to agents’ experiences. When faced with shifting customer expectations, your team should consider taking the following steps:

  • Analyze and understand incoming customer feedback
  • Separate trends from outlier data points
  • Identify the differences between your current operation and customer expectations
  • Adjust how you set expectations — under promise, over deliver
  • Establish a proactive service recovery strategy to communicate with customers when errors occur

This roadmap can help your team adjust your existing customer experience strategy to create a more streamlined interaction process. Remaining communicative with your customers ensures they understand your expectations, just as you have learned theirs.

Happy Agents, Happy Customers

If your agents feel undervalued, those emotions may be passed on during their interactions with your customers. To better understand and fulfill their needs, draw insights from our Hero Experience Report. By addressing employees' fundamental needs, you can create a better experience for agents and customers alike.

Gladly Prioritizes Customer-Centric Experiences

As Castro said, “No system is perfect.” But the tools for creating a close-to-perfect CX are there for brands that take the time to research and invest in them. Tools like Gladly offer your team the resources they need to scale, adjust, and improve their customer experience strategy to fit shoppers’ ever-changing needs.

Want to learn more about creating a successful customer experience strategy? Check out the rest of our sessions from Gladly Connect Live 2023 to expand your CX knowledge.


Check out the on-demand sessions from Gladly Connect Live

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