Today, the importance of delivering high-quality experiences to customers as they encounter and interact with a brand cannot be understated. In fact, a whopping 85% of marketers who participated in a recent Ascend2 survey said that delivering an exceptional customer experience is an extremely important part of their strategy.
Businesses of all sizes and industries have learned that improving customer experience can improve growth, loyalty, and efficiency. But with customer expectations on the rise, the threshold of success has become increasingly difficult to meet and exceed. Only about one-quarter (27%) of marketers would describe their strategy to improve the customer experience as very successful, or best-in-class compared to their competitors.
So what contributes to an exceptional customer experience today and what is getting in the way of successfully improving the customer experience? Below we will dissect some recent data from our Building Better Customer Experiences research to give you three essential elements to build better experiences for their customers.
Essential Element #1: Service with a Smile
The customer experience is created through every touchpoint across all channels and should be associated with far more than just customer service, but ensuring that customer issues are resolved effectively and efficiently is the most essential element to delivering exceptional experiences according to 57% of marketers surveyed.
Customer preferences on methods of contacting a business vary greatly depending on many factors such as whether or not they are contacting on behalf of another business (B2B vs B2C), the specific issue they are attempting to resolve, and even by generation. Businesses can prepare for this by providing multiple channels for communication, customer self-service options, and predictive customer service capabilities.
Businesses could also benefit greatly from focusing on enabling the employees who provide these experiences. Ensuring proper training and coaching for service agents on technology and workflows, as well as improving employee access to product and service knowledge are reportedly the most important ways to empower employees to provide exceptional experiences according to 45% and 41% of marketers surveyed, respectively.
Essential Element #2: Keep it Real(Time)
Real-time engagement is essentially being where your customer needs you, whenever they need you, in a relevant way. This can mean a wide range of automated and live interactions and feedback mechanisms across all channels.
Connecting with customers in real-time can improve trust and loyalty with your brand, building retention and directly impacting your bottom line.
Whether you engage customers via chatbots, in-app or on-site guidance, social media responses, or videos, it is the strategy and data behind these interactions that create exceptional experiences. This is why creating and prioritizing a strategy is reportedly a top priority for 43% of marketers as they work to improve the customer experience. It also ranks at the top of the list of greatest challenges to a successful customer experience, but creating and optimizing a strategy to use data, create personalized and real-time interactions, and build successful customer experiences is critical.
And speaking of personalization…
Essential Element #3: Get Personal
Offering personalized experiences is a critical element to successful CX according to 40% of marketers surveyed. Delivering tailored messaging and interactions across channels requires accurate and relevant data, and that data needs to be contributed to and accessed by various adjacent teams throughout your organization (e.g., marketing, sales, customer service, operations, etc).
Interestingly, less than half (41%) of those surveyed report an extensive ability to use and share data and information across teams at their organization.
When a full view of customer and prospect data isn’t accessible across teams, organizations will have a difficult time catering to the specific needs and preferences of individual customers. Personalization should be based on a full and accurate picture of the customer, rather than a fragmented look at one element of the customer’s journey with your brand.
What does this all mean?
The importance of delivering an exceptional customer experience is undeniable, and regardless of target audience, it is important for businesses to acknowledge that CX is built across multiple channels and encompasses a wide range of tactics and strategies.
To learn more about building better customer experiences, download the 14-page Ascend2 research study.