Understanding customer experience is of vital importance to businesses who want to attract and retain more customers, drive value and build competitive advantage. Customer experience encompasses the sum of all interactions the customer has with your brand. This could include seeing your ad on TV, browsing your store or seeking advice from your staff.
Every place a customer comes into contact with your brand is a customer touchpoint. A poor experience at any customer touchpoint may mean they go elsewhere. Research shows 87% of all consumers will never go back to an organisation after a negative experience (Right Now Technologies and Harris Interactive 2008). Being able to understand, measure and act on this insight to improve the experience of your customers is extremely valuable.
When customers interact with your business, they have a lasting experience which effects their perception of your brand. Think about when you are a loyal customer, the chances are it’s not just because of their products or services; it’s about how they make you feel about the experiences you have with them. Good experiences increase customer loyalty by allowing customers to achieve their goals in an easy and enjoyable manner. Research shows acquiring a new customer can cost up to five times more than retaining a current customer (Satmetrix, Bain & Co) and a 2% increase in customer retention can have the same effect on profits as cutting costs by 10%! (Satmetrix, Bain & Co)
Understanding customer experience gives strategic direction to key decision-makers in the business, which can be used to:-
- attract more customers
- set the best price for your products
- increase how much your customers spend
- increase how often your customers spend
- increase your sales
- decrease your costs
- refine your approach to customer service
The key to successful customer experience management is to turn today’s potential customer into tomorrow’s loyal, repeat customer who is an advocate of your brand.
Measuring customer experience
In order to make changes and improvements across your business it is essential to develop a robust strategy to measure customer experience at each of your touchpoints. Customer experience scores can be benchmarked and tracked over time to find out the impact of any changes made to your business.
The most common and effective way to measure customer experience is through professionally designed surveys distributed to a representative sample of your customer base. There are a variety of ways to distribute a survey including online, over the phone, mobile, through POS technology or face to face as the customer exits your store. The majority of surveys ask customers to rate their experience on a range on different touchpoints, which may include the service they received on the day, the quality and availability of products and hygiene factors like opening times and store location.
It is also worth including number of KPI questions to find out the customer’s overall satisfaction, likelihood to reuse and likelihood to recommend your brand.
It is best to engage a specialist market research agency or consultant to assist with designing your customer experience research and good contractors will be able to use advanced statistical techniques to draw insight and recommendations from the survey data.
Improving your customer experience
One of the most important and overlooked areas when trying to improve customer experience is engagement and involvement of all team members. Prior to designing your customer experience research it is worth setting up a number of discussion meetings with staff to allow them to input into the research and understand the strategic vision and impact on their lives. It is essential staff are made aware of customer experience scores and many organisations now incentivise their staff on customer satisfaction and advocacy levels, rather than sales targets. A direct result of this is they are more willing to go the extra mile on a daily basis to help deliver an excellent experience.
As mentioned before, a good market research consultant will be able to make sense of the data and deliver actionable, commercial recommendations. They will be able to analyse differences between sub-groups and identify key drivers of satisfaction across the touchpoints. This will help management focus on the most important areas, and not spend time and money trying to improve less important factors in the customer experience. Open text comments from customers detailing why they were satisfied or dissatisfied can also help add depth to the data and formulate strategy for the future.
A well-managed programme of customer experience research will provide invaluable strategic direction for business leaders. It will help them make well-informed, confident business decisions which will in turn create a customer centric business model set up to deliver future growth.
Scott Owens CMRS Dip (MRS) BA (Hons)
Robust Insight Limited
Regent's Court, Princess Street, Hull, HU2 8BA
Tel: 01469 640558
Mob: 07825 269235
Skype ID: scott1895