Customer experience management is a crucial growth strategy for companies across many industries. Providing great customer service leads to increased loyalty, referrals, positive word-of-mouth, and valuable customers.

  • Positive reviews have also been proven to boost sales by 12.5%. The better your customer satisfaction, the more material your marketers will have to advertise your brand.

Introduction to Customer Experience Management

In today’s competitive business world, managing customer experience (CEM) is important for business success and sustainability. Customer experience is more than just selling a product or service. Customer experience includes all interactions with a brand, from first discovery to post-purchase support. Understanding the fundamentals of CEM is essential for businesses looking to thrive in the digital age.

Customer Experience Definition

Customer experience is how a customer sees a brand based on all interactions during their journey. It encompasses every aspect of the customer’s experience, including interactions with products, services, employees, and marketing efforts.

Improve customer experience through interactions with products, services, employees, and marketing efforts.

Customer experience is like the whole story of how customers feel about a business. It’s a big topic that can be confusing because people see it in different ways.

Some think of it as the conversations between a business and its customers over time. Others think of it as how well a company’s website or app works for customers. And there are those who see it as how quickly and well a business answers questions or helps with problems.

Customer experience is all about how every time a customer interacts with a business, whether it’s buying something, asking a question, or getting help, it shapes how they feel about the business. It’s like seeing everything from the customer’s eyes.

Customer Experience vs. Customer Service

While customer service focuses on addressing specific inquiries or issues raised by customers, customer experience is more holistic. It involves shaping the entire customer journey to deliver positive, memorable experiences at every stage.

Customer Experience Isn’t a Department

Customer experience is everyone’s job. It should be part of the company culture and show in all areas of the business. Customer service, on the other hand, is usually only in one department.

Customer Experience Isn’t Reactive

Rather than simply reacting to customer inquiries or complaints, effective CEM involves proactively identifying pain points and addressing them before they become significant issues. It requires a forward-thinking approach to anticipate and meet customer needs.

Customer Experience Isn’t Determined by a Single Point of Contact

Every interaction with customers, whether online or offline, shapes the overall customer experience. Individual interactions are also important. From social media interactions to in-store experiences, every interaction contributes to the customer’s perception of the brand.

Customer Experience Management Definition

Improving customer experience can be done through customer experience management, also known as CEM or CXM. It’s important to show the customer journey. Training and motivating employees is crucial. Sharing customer feedback with the team is necessary. Studying customer loss is essential. Considering customer experience in design is key.
Train employees, gather feedback, and study customer loss for success.

Why is Customer Experience Management Important?

In today’s hyper-connected world, customers have more choices than ever before. Businesses need to stand out by offering great products/services and a memorable experience. Customer experience management has various effects that can be observed in different ways.

  • Increased Customer Loyalty: By delivering exceptional experiences, businesses can foster loyalty and turn customers into brand advocates.
  • Higher Customer Lifetime Value: Satisfied customers are more likely to make repeat purchases and recommend the brand to others. 
  • This increases their value over time: Happy customers are important for the long-term success of a brand. They contribute to its growth by spreading positive word-of-mouth.
  • Competitive Advantage: In competitive markets, customer experience can set businesses apart when products and services are similar.
  • Improved Business Performance: Companies that prioritize customer experience often see improvements in key metrics such as revenue, profitability, and market share.

How to Create a Great Customer Experience Management Strategy

Creating an effective CEM strategy requires a comprehensive understanding of your target audience and their preferences. Here are some steps to help you begin:

Know Your Customers

The first step in creating a successful CEM strategy is to understand your customers’ needs, preferences, and pain points. You can do this by doing market research, surveys, and asking customers for feedback.

Knowing your customers is the key to a great customer experience. Start by gathering basic information like age, gender, and income. This helps you group your customers and create profiles that represent them. Understand the challenges they face and track how happy they are with your services to get useful insights and predict their future behavior.

Image illustrating steps for your business, including customer profiling and improving customer experience.

Identify all the points where customers interact with your brand, from the first time they hear about you to their research, decision to buy, and after they receive your product or service. This helps you find areas to improve their experience.

A great quote says, “Until you understand your customers, deeply and genuinely, you cannot truly serve them.” Truly knowing your customers lets your company make them happy and loyal. This deep understanding is crucial for making changes that matter to them and lead to your success.

Ensure Brand Consistency

Brand Consistency is key to delivering a seamless customer experience across all touchpoints. Ensure that your brand messaging, tone, and visuals are consistent across your website, social media, and other channels.

A travel agent holding a globe, representing the importance of brand consistency in choosing the right agent for a seamless customer experience.

Think about these frustrating situations:

A traveler uses car navigation to find a downtown hotel based on its location on Google Maps, only to find that the location information is wrong or hasn’t been updated for years.

A homeowner checks HomeAdvisor reviews to find a local plumber, but when she tries to call one of the top-rated plumbers, the listed phone number doesn’t work.

A diner decides to order delivery from a restaurant based on delicious photos of kumara fries on its website, only to find that the restaurant has changed its menu and no longer offers those sides.

Missing, incorrect, outdated, or inconsistent information is a major turnoff for today’s smart, resourceful, and research-focused consumers. This can negatively impact customer experience, even before they consider making a purchase.

Capture and Analyze Customer Feedback

Regularly solicit feedback from your customers through surveys, reviews, and social media channels. Analyze this feedback to identify areas for improvement and make data-driven decisions.

Common sources of customer feedback include:

  • Customer feedback surveys
  • Comment cards
  • Emails and phone calls
  • Online reviews and ratings
  • Social media comments
  • Focus group discussions
  • Individual customer interviews and roundtables
  • Usability tests

Attend to Customer Needs and Solve Their Problems

Great customer service is a major component of great CX

Be proactive in addressing customer inquiries and resolving issues in a timely manner. Empower your frontline employees to make decisions and take actions that prioritize customer satisfaction.

  • Studies show that 78% of customers prefer brands that provide personalized experiences tailored to their needs and preferences. This leads to higher levels of loyalty among customers.
  • A study showed that 87% of customers want businesses to fix their problems within 24 hours. This shows how important quick and good customer service is for keeping customers and building brand loyalty.

Customer Experience Example: Veronica Beard

Veronica Beard is a top luxury store known for its excellent customer service. A mix of cool, classic & chic, Veronica Beard features the latest styles & trends in women’s designer clothing.

Veronica Beard luxury store opens in Houston with cool, classic & chic women’s designer clothing, known for excellent customer service.

Veronica Beard’s employees organized a talk at our headquarters to celebrate Black History Month. The talk focused on the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in fashion. They partnered with RAISE fashion, a group that supports BIPOC talent and brands through mentorship and assistance.

Veronica Beard’s customer service team is quick to respond to inquiries and aims to help customers right away. They offer support around the clock through various channels such as live chat, email, phone, and social media platforms.

“Rachel Goldflam, senior VP of customer experience at Veronica Beard, says the most important thing is making customers happy. She and her sister-in-law founded Veronica Beard out of their shared love for fashion and friendship. Their aim is to create a collection that boosts women’s confidence. They are also mothers, business owners, sisters, friends, and customers of their own brand.

Activate Brand Promoters and Advocates

Find happy customers review who love your brand and ask them to tell others about their positive experiences. Offer incentives such as discounts or exclusive offers to reward their loyalty.

Happy customers sharing positive experiences about travel insurance, while enjoying discounts and exclusive offers.

How exactly do you reach out to these promoters and brand advocates? Here are some ideas:

  • Reward Loyalty: Implement a tiered loyalty program that rewards customers for their continued support. Offering exclusive perks, discounts, and early access to new products or services can incentivize customers to remain loyal and engaged with your brand.
  • Celebrate Success Stories: Showcase customer success stories and testimonials on your website and social media channels. By highlighting the positive experiences of satisfied customers, you can inspire trust and confidence in potential buyers and encourage brand advocacy.
  • Provide Exclusive Benefits: Offer special privileges and exclusive benefits to your most dedicated advocates, such as VIP events, personalized gifts, or insider access to behind-the-scenes content. These gestures can make customers feel valued and appreciated, strengthening their connection to your brand.
  • Facilitate Referrals: Make it easy for satisfied customers to refer their friends and family to your business by providing referral cards, shareable links, or incentives for successful referrals. Encourage advocates to spread the word about your brand by offering rewards or recognition for their efforts.

 

By actively engaging with brand promoters and advocates, you can cultivate a loyal community of customers who are passionate about your brand. This not only drives word-of-mouth referrals and positive reviews but also fosters a sense of belonging and loyalty among your customer base.

For additional strategies and insights on building customer loyalty, be sure to check out our blog post for how to build customer loyalty.

Create an Emotional Connection with Customers

Emotions play a significant role in shaping customer perceptions and loyalty. Focus on creating memorable experiences that evoke positive emotions and foster a deeper connection with your brand.

Customer Experience Example: Mizzen and Main

Mizzen and Main is renowned for its commitment to exemplary customer experiences, blending performance fabrics with modern silhouettes to offer comfortable clothing imbued with confidence. The company stands out for its dedication to service excellence and moments of delight with customers.

Mizzen + Main, a stylish men's clothing store in downtown Seattle, offers comfortable and confident attire, combining performance fabrics with modern designs.

A customer purchases a shirt from Mizzen and Main and notices a small defect upon arrival. Expecting a tedious process of returns and exchanges, the customer contacts Mizzen and Main’s customer service.

To their surprise, Mizzen and Main swiftly offer a solution. With no hassle or delay, the customer is provided with the option to either receive a replacement shirt immediately or have the defect repaired at no additional cost.

This exceptional service leaves a lasting impression on the customer, transforming what could have been a moment of frustration into a memorable experience of satisfaction and confidence in the brand.

Mizzen and Main dedication to customer-centricity is evident not only in their high-quality products but also in their seamless handling of customer concerns. By prioritizing the customer’s needs and delivering swift resolutions, Mizzen and Main solidifies its reputation as a brand that goes above and beyond to ensure customer satisfaction

Build a People-First Culture

Empower your employees to prioritize customer satisfaction and provide them with the training and resources they need to deliver exceptional service. A happy and engaged workforce is more likely to create positive experiences for customers.

Customer Experience Example: Premium Goods

Premium Goods, a shoe store nestled in Houston, Texas, distinguishes itself with a commitment to exceptional customer experiences. The store prides itself on being more than just a shoe retailer, embodying the ethos of a service-oriented company dedicated to delivering unparalleled satisfaction to its patrons.

A shoe store in Houston, Texas, showcasing a wide variety of shoes. Premium Goods offers exceptional customer experiences and satisfaction.

Take the story of a customer attending a wedding who found himself without proper shoes. In a stroke of luck, “premium accessories came to the rescue, ensuring the best man didn’t have to walk down the aisle barefoot.” Delivering “WOW” through service is the act of going above and beyond to meet a customer’s immediate need, exemplifying dedication to premium goods.

Another remarkable anecdote involves a traveler who, upon realizing she left her favorite pair of shoes purchased from Premium Goods behind, contacted the store’s help-desk concierge service for assistance. Despite the unavailability of the specific shoes in their inventory, the team didn’t hesitate to find a solution. They went the extra mile by locating and purchasing the shoes from a rival store at a nearby mall and hand-delivering the new pair to the customer, free of charge.

Rosemary Garcia | Said “”Today I stopped in and was greeted by a nice young man named Danny who was super patient with me even when I was indecisive. I really appreciate great customer service and Danny gave just that 🙂””

Respond to Online Reviews and Customer Feedback

Monitor online reviews and social media mentions of your brand and respond promptly to both positive and negative feedback. This demonstrates that you value customer input and are committed to addressing their concerns.

Stay on top of online feedback, respond to positive and negative comments to show you care about customer input.

Online reviews play a crucial role in shaping consumers’ perceptions and decisions. Consider the following statistics:

  • 94% of consumers admit that a negative review has dissuaded them from engaging with a business.
  • While 53% of customers anticipate a response from businesses to negative reviews within 7 days, a staggering 63% report never receiving any acknowledgment.
  • Surprisingly, 45% of consumers are more inclined to patronize businesses that demonstrate adeptness in addressing negative feedback.

Responding to reviews, whether positive or negative, is paramount. If a customer leaves a glowing 5-star review or sends a complimentary email, taking the time to express gratitude is essential. Conversely, when faced with negative feedback or a low rating, acknowledging the customer’s concerns and actively working towards resolving any issues is vital.

Increase Personalization

There exists a plethora of personalization strategies, both online and offline, that businesses can employ to enhance customer experiences. These range from tailoring content specific to individual customers and customizing packaging to designing responsive websites and gaining insights into customers’ past purchases.

The crucial aspect to remember is that customers crave recognition as individuals, not just faceless numbers or transaction entries. By ramping up personalization across interactions, touchpoints, and engagements, businesses can foster a sense of identity among customers and effectively capture their attention.

Furthermore, personalization serves as a token of appreciation for customers’ loyalty and patronage. It communicates that a business values the relationship by offering personalized recommendations, improved service, and well-informed assistance.