Mastery Customer Experience: Strategy, Metrics, Research
Looking to create a customer experience clients will love and spread the word about to others?
Want your product to deliver value customers won’t imagine replacing with other solutions on the market? Every business owner knows that if you want to continue to grow your company and allow it to prosper, you have to offer an excellent customer experience.
Don't worry, we gonna help you with this.
There are multiple touchpoints and they all affect the overall experience. One problem can sometimes ruin a positive experience and cause a person to choose one of your competitors instead of you or a loyal customer to leave you.
Providing high quality of customer experience is not only a popular trend but also something customers expect from you.
With the growing number of companies offering similar products and services, providing great CX can become your competitive advantage and help you acquire new customers through referrals.
In this article, you will learn:
- What is Customer Experience? (+definitions by real CEOs & CX Leaders)
- 6 Reasons Why Customer Experience Matters
- Basic Rules of Creating a Good Customer Experience
- How to Create Customer Experience Journey Maps
- How To Create a Customer Experience Strategy
- 5 Metrics to Track for Customer Experience
- How to Get the Most of Customer Experience Research
What is Customer Experience?
Customer experience (CX) is a sum of all experiences people have with your company – from seeing your ads, through visiting your website and talking to the support team, to becoming a customer and experiencing all post-purchase services. Now, by all means – that 100 % true.
But, being in the customer experience game ourselves, we’re not entirely satiated. At least not just yet.
We craved for a more personal take on the matter, and so we’ve reached out to CEOs & CX leaders including Hiten Shah (FYI) and Kevin Scheper (Drift), to reveal how they define customer experience.
Each and every answer below will let you in on how you yourself can think of customer experience beyond its formal definition.
Customer Experience Definition – CEOs & CX Leaders Perspective
Customer experience is a combination of copywriting, design, and the actual product
"Customer experience is a combination of copywriting, design, and the actual product you create for your customers. In order to create an amazing customer experience, you need to deeply understand your customer’s most painful problems in addition to their motivations and psychology.
The more you know about your customers, the better the customer experience you can create for them. One that they can’t live without.
There is no other way, you have to be obsessed with your customers with the goal of providing the best possible experience for them. Something they can’t help but tell their friends about."
Customer experience is a two-way street
"Most often, I see 'customer experience' being used to label an effort to design a beautiful and cohesive customer journey or simply to describe a customer support team.
The problem with the former is that it is tempting to boil the ocean and difficult to measure the ROI for any of it. The problem with the latter is that a support transaction represents only one element of a customer's overall interactions with a company.
I prefer to think about customer experience more practically. It's about empathy.
Internally, we talk about teams - sales, success, product, etc. From the customer's perspective, it just you, the company.
Coordinating information, processes, and actions across all these teams so that customers have a cohesive and predictable experience is the bottom line goal with CX design. Obviously, there is a lot that goes into making this work well, but there are plenty of straightforward and non-controversial investments you can make.
Ultimately, it should look like this:
You treat your customers as partners. You take the time to know your customer so that you can anticipate their needs and be helpful when things don't go as planned. You are confident enough to guide your customer to use your product the "right way" and you are humble enough to learn from your customer when they give you feedback about that "right way.""
– Kevin Scheper, VP of Customer Success at Drift
Customer experience means creating super fans through partnerships
"Customer experience is one of the most vital elements to your business success. It affects your brand, your revenue, and your growth rates.
What customer experience means to Bonjoro, is creating super fans. Creating brand advocates.
What customer experience means to our team is building a "human" connection with our audience, trying to go above and beyond, and provide an experience that leaves people wanting to talk to their friends about it.
How do we do that? Personal video emails. Physical cards around the holidays. Congratulating clients on milestones. Coaching and supporting people on strategy, not just product adoption.
Customer experience is about creating a partnership, not just a transaction."
– Casey Hill, Growth Manager at Bonjoro
CX is about encouraging feedback and taking it all in
"I define great customer experience as one that requires encouraging feedback and taking it all in. I like to ask our customers for their feedback and encourage them to leave us reviews on sites like Yelp or our social media accounts.
We listen to everything our customers have to say and work hard to implement any necessary changes to create more and more satisfying customer experiences."
– Deborah Sweeney, CEO at MyCorporation.com
CX is more than just 'what' or 'how' – it's a 'why'.
"The customer experience is more than a what or how, it's a why. Why should your customers go to you for your product? Why not another company? Why are you different? What do they feel when they see your logo, interact with your website, a person, receive the product, etc.?
If you can answer these questions in-depth, you are well on your way to creating a customer experience that is cohesive and portraying what you want."
– Paul Farmer, VP Marketing at Woodtex
CX means: "Give me what, when, and how I want it, and don't tick me off"
Give me what I want
Whether it's the appropriate data fields in 'Sort' and 'Filter' or the best product at the best price, I want to find the product I desire quickly. Give it to me in less than 3 clicks.
When I want it
Not to inject my selfish inner ego, but I will want it when I want it.
I may wake this morning to be on the Keto diet only to be pushed into a decadent donut by 11 AM in order to secure a new client. As a consumer, I don't always know when I want something unless it's a planned purchase.
E-commerce companies in the kid's clothing market, for example, have an easier time marketing to parents. If Mom purchases an organic cotton onesie in size 0-3mos, the logical next trigger email will be for Mom to purchase size 3-6mos.
Other industries such as women's high-fashion footwear may have to prey on the psychodynamics of the unexpected breakup or general 'bad day'.
This is the wildcard, so businesses - be prepared.
Businesses won't understand this until they examine troves of analytics and navigation patterns. Also, they may never know that Sara bought a new pair of Sam Edelman strappy sandals after a bad day at the office.
How I want it
I love a mobile app that gives me notifications only when they are relevant to me.
I love a cute notification from TikTok when my 14-year old niece is doing something weird and I love old school emails from the Pet Adoption 501c3 down the street.
As a consumer and an e-commerce junky, I want businesses to listen to me by tracking my shopping patterns, frequency rates, abandoned carts, device logons and more. That way, you can send me smart emails that tell me exactly when the new Gucci belt is on discount on The RealReal.
Don't tick me off
Is live chat really live chat if you're chatting with a bot?
Let me checkout as a guest. Let me unsubscribe quickly. Let me call and speak to a human.
I'm the first to download the latest 'E-commerce Trends White Paper', but when I sign up to receive such collateral, I am not signing up to receive daily emails or phone calls or text messages.
I don't mind the once-off cold call, but don't take up my precious iMessages with unwanted spam."
– Kathryn Kerrigan, Owner at KS5 Consulting
Customer experience is about enjoyment based on customers' opinions
"Customer experience is no longer about customer satisfaction – that was the low bar that businesses used to strive for when 'over promise and under deliver' was a standard business practice.
A competitive customer experience today is about authenticity, transparency, ease-of-use, saving time, quality of life, and enjoyment based on the customer's opinions, not a company's opinions."
– Tara J. Kinney, CEO at Atomic Revenue
CX has two dimensions – table-stakes & maximizing the "wow" moment
"We think of customer experience across two dimensions.
The first is table-stakes. More specifically, does our product meet the customer's expectations and solve their problem?
The second dimension, in our eyes, is about maximizing the "wow" moments. Essentially, these are the moments in the customer journey where they realize that our product is something special (and become evangelists).
Interestingly, we've found the other opportunity to create "wow" moments is when we mess up. Specifically, we've found that by going above and beyond to correct a problem quickly and be transparent with customers about what happened. We can actually create a level of trust above and beyond what was there prior to the problem.
I certainly wouldn't advocate making mistakes on purpose (ha!), but it happens to all companies. And when it does, there really is truth to the maxim: 'Never let a good crisis go to waste'."
– Aaron Rubens, CEO at Kudoboard
Every touchpoint a user has with your company IS the customer experience
"Customer experience and user touchpoints are one of the primary ways in which a brand can communicate and solidify who they are in the minds of their customers.
The majority of our clients are SaaS and other tech companies, and I always tell them that CX is not JUST your product.
How did they find you? What was that experience like? Were you a breath of fresh air? Were you the answer to their pain points? What was the experience of learning about you like? Was it easy and straightforward? How was their first interaction with you?
Each and every touchpoint a user has with your company IS the customer experience. Every touchpoint tells your brand's story."
– Nathan Hall, CEO at SimpleStory
CX is about everything that led up to the conversion, and the experience afterwards
"Customer experience requires a holistic approach, which is increasingly complex. Luckily, there are new software tools available to help us manage the customer journey because we all know it's not about the destination, but the process.
To that end, customer experience isn't about the transaction or conversion. It's about everything that led up to that moment, the purchase itself, and their experience forever afterward.
If you treat your customers as well or better than when they were prospects, your sales funnel becomes cyclical, churn and CAC decrease, and both team and customer morale shoot upward."
– Reuben Yonatan, Founder & CEO at GetVOIP
Customer experience means focusing on customer pain points
"Customer experience means focusing on customer pain points in order to provide the best experience possible. What problems are customers facing when trying to order? How can you make ordering as streamlined as possible? Those are included in the countless questions I ask when providing the best customer service.I create an empathy map of my customer with how they think and feel, what they hear and say and their pains and gains are. This helps me get inside my customer's shoes and understand them better. I then do a service design blueprint to document my customer's journey through the process of purchasing items in my store.Other methods include using the Lucky Orange heat maps to see where the customer is clicking the most on my store's websites. I learn how I can optimize my store's landing page to appease the customer and provide better conversions."
– Rebecca Beach, eCommerce Owner at MomBeach.com
CX is about having empathy and making sure your customers feel "wowed"
"Being customer-centric is not just trying to help the customer; it's going the extra mile.
Have empathy and passion around ensuring that your customers walk away from their experience with you our someone on your team feeling 'wowed'.
This needs to be the case whether or not their problem was solved. The pursuit of ‘wowing' your customer will always win."
– Jamey Vumback, CEO & Founder at Get The Referral
CX is success beyond all the price wars
"Today’s global marketplace is extremely competitive and full of price wars that have deteriorated profits. Savvy businesses have now turned to customer experience as a way to acquire and retain customers. Especially because there is no room to continue lowering prices.
What is customer experience all about? For me, positive customer experience is when:
- the purchasing process is simple. Ideally easier than what was expected.
- it puts a smile on the customers face. The bigger the better
- it gets customers talking about their experience amongst their network. They become your advocate because they can find no fault in their experience with your company. Shows how rare good service is these days.
The tricky part is delivering great service when internal resources have already been stretched to their limits due to price slashing. If customers want great service, they should understand that it often comes at a cost to the service provider."
– Liz Hughes, Director at Blue Bamboo
Customer experience is what keeps people coming back
"Most companies offer some level of customer service. Few deliver an unmatched customer experience.
Customer service often includes a wait-for-the-customer-to-come-to-you approach—aka the bare minimum required to get by.
Customer experience, on the other hand, is what keeps people coming back.
Customer experience is the entire process a customer goes through when using your product. It starts the moment they type your web address and hit enter, and from there, the process never really ends.
The customer experience includes the product they buy and use every day, the support you provide when something goes wrong, and determines if and when they will do business with you in the future. In sum, customer experience is everything.
When we started EVAN360, we were focused on the experience our customers would have with our platform. The platform itself was secondary.
In fact, the entire reason we created EVAN360 was because of the poor customer experience provided by our competition. We saw how they failed in the area of customer support, so that’s where we zeroed in.
Anyone can create, market, and sell a product. Providing an excellent, customer-centric experience is a whole different ballgame.
No matter how innovative a product, if a company can’t deliver quality support and consider customers first, customers will look to a company that can. Those are the companies that will last."
– Todd Boutte, President of Technology & Operations at EVAN360
Customer experience is about creating a relationship instead of a transaction
"The traditional definition is the sum of all the interactions a customer has with your products and services. But there's so much more to it than that.
Emotions and Perceptions play a significant role in how a customer feels about an organization's products and services(...). It's not about their interaction with a salesperson or customer service agent. It's about the brand promise, packaging, communications, delivery, invoicing, etc.
What distinguishes the great CX companies from all the rest is their ability to anticipate needs and intentionally design experiences based on those needs and expectations.
CX is about not only each step in a customer's journey with your organization. It's also about whether or not you've created a relationship instead of a transaction.
From a company's perspective, it's how CX can provide a balanced scorecard of performance - so, it isn't just an NPS score. It's how all these interactions align with the company's objectives and, yes, profit! There, I said it. That's why businesses exist – to make a profit – and CX must support that objective."
– Bob Azman, Chairman of the Board, CXPA and Founder & CXO, Innovative CX Solutions, LLC.
Customer experience is about listening to customers and suggesting solutions
"Customer experience is how much genuine care the company shows to the consumers, regardless of whether they buy from them or not. It's about listening to the customer needs, then suggesting products or services that will solve their problem, even if those things are sold by competitors.
When a business shares the customer's best interest, not being too concerned over making money, you can bet the brand will be loved by people.
One of the reasons I personally like Best Buy, for instance, is because of the true customer care I feel while inside their shops, including one time when they've actually suggested I purchase from a 3rd party rather than from their store."
– Hassan Alnassir, Founder & Owner at Premium Joy
CX is the way a customer feels when they hear my brand's name
I define the customer experience as the way a customer feels when they hear my [brand's] name. The foundation of this is built with every interaction with my brand, from the way they were treated, all the way down to how my brand smells (literally).
I believe that Starbucks is a perfect example of this. They have created an experience where individuals feel they “need” their product when having a bad day!
Even as a SAAS/e-commerce company you can create this same experience, even having a smell (send direct mail thanking them and scent the package) by being authentic, proactive, supportive, collaborative, understanding, and consistent."
– Dwayne Vera, Founder at Sales Legend Academy
Customer experience is guiding the customer to say "Wow, that was SIMPLE and USEFUL"
I define customer experience as the most efficient and best way of guiding the user, customer, or visitor to say "Wow. That was simple and helpful."
I challenge all teams that I work with to focus on driving and eliciting that response from users, customers, and visitors of your product, service, business, or company.
As busy as everyone's lives are, people are looking for a quick, simple, helpful, and direct way to solve their problem or answer their question or perform their desired task or function.
– Ray McKenzie, Founder & Managing Director at Red Beach Advisors
CX means reducing friction and being empathetic of the customer's situation
CX means different things for different types of customers. In the B2B services world it means reducing friction and being more empathetic of the customer’s situation. This includes things like:
- Knowing when to quickly respond to inquiries.
- Being flexible with your schedule.
- Directly answering questions.
- Making silly logistics as easy as possible (like scheduling and holding telecons).
- Active listening.
- Straightforward buying options.
- Knowing when and how to push back when you disagree with their direction."
– David LaVine, Marketing Consultant & Founder at RocLogic Marketing
Customer experience is all about consistency
"Customer experience to me is all about consistency. For example, when I shop in stores offline, I expect the same experience when I shop online at the same stores, on all channels.
From their website to social media, everything should be matching – from the language used to branding. I find if a brand is consistent, and continuously delivers great service and experiences, I’m more likely to trust them, build a relationship and maybe even become an advocate and recommend them to my friends!
This is also the logic I use within my role as a Marketing Director at citrusHR, to ensure we delight customers at every stage of the customer journey."
– Dan Madden, Marketing Director at citrusH
Customer experience is the usability of your website and the brand impact left on users
"To me, customer experience is defined in two different ways: the usability of your website and the brand impact left on users.
When someone visits my site, I want to make sure it is structured in a way that converts them into a sale as easily possible. With eCommerce websites, ease of use is key to providing the most enjoyable customer experience.
Additionally, I want to make sure my brand has left a defining impact on the user so they feel as if we are something they can relate with rather than just a company. Creating an experience that develops a relationship is the best way to create not only an enjoyable experience but also a lifetime customer.
As you can see, while we can all think of customer experience differently, it all comes down to one thing – keeping your eyes open and listening to customers’ opinions and needs. It's the only way to think of doing business, if you want to remain relevant in the highly demanding online business field."
– Matt McKenna, Owner at DELT
6 Reasons Why Customer Experience Matters
There is an endless list of reasons to convince you why customer experience is so important, but these four represent the primary advantages that will come along with focusing on customer experience at your company.
#1. Negative experiences stay with us longer
Did you notice that people more often talk about negative than positive experiences? It’s actually a scientifically proven fact.
Our brains handle positive and negative information in different hemispheres. This means that we spend more time thinking about negative emotions.
We process negative information in more detail than we process positive information. What does it mean? If you mess up, your customers will talk about it… A LOT! Don’t underestimate the power of word of mouth.
#2. It’s the best brand differentiator
It doesn’t take long for a new product to come out that the public adores.
Take, for instance, the peel-off charcoal masks that had ads going viral across social media for extreme close-ups that showed them cleaning out thousands of pores. The product began selling almost instantaneously and was reviewed by countless beauty gurus.
Of course, it didn’t take long for plenty of competitors to come along and begin selling a similar face mask. In fact, some even did it better, because they went beyond product and they worked on branding – and that’s where the lesson about customer experience comes into play.
There are two main parts of a customer’s experience: the product and the people.
The original peel-off face mask had an appealing product, but there was no branding to it and that made it easy for competitors to move in and do things better.
A product and its features are easy to imitate, at least compared to customer service and branding.
When you create a consistently great customer experience, it becomes part of your branding and marketing strategy, making it a brand differentiator that is extremely hard to imitate. In other words, you should start competing on the basis of service –not just product.
#3. Customers always share great experiences
When customers get what they expect, they tend to stay silent. But, when a company goes above and beyond in delivering a great experience for them, they are quick to become brand advocates and tell everyone about it. Exceeding customers’ expectations means more word of mouth marketing, which is the most effective marketing tactic of them all.
People are quick to take the advice of their friends and loved ones. To put it simply, people trust what they hear from people they know. So much so that it is estimated to drive $6 trillion in consumer spending annually while accounting for 13% of sales.
This only further puts customer experience importance on the pedestal, right?
#4. People always have options
These days, everyone has options–even in very small niches. You have competitors who can someone solve your customer’s pain points, or at least offer a bandaid solution to them. And, while you might believe that you have the best product out there (as you should), customers can choose any company they want–and they’re going to pick the one that offers the best experience.
Customers are always going to shop around and, if they can find a product like yours, why should they pick you over a competitor?
Rather than competing on price or trying to talk up your product’s features, focus on the overall customer experience. Think about it: product quality may be at the center of that experience, but what else can you bring to the table?
#5. It will help you reduce churn
It’s no secret that customer experience impacts churn. So, if your business suffers from a high churn rate (above 7% annually), your client experience is definitely something you should look at.
And you probably know that acquiring a new customer is 5 times more expensive than keeping your existing one.
#6. Good customer experience boosts revenue
There is no doubt that customer experience directly impacts your bottom line. There are three ways that good customer experience helps to improve your revenue:
By helping you get customers: When great customer experience becomes part of your brand, customers are much more likely to choose you over any competitor.
By helping you keep customers: Customers are less likely to switch if you are providing them with an experience that they feel is unmatched. Always strive to offer the best service and you’ll see increased retention along with repeat sales.
By enabling you to charge more: If you are offering a worthwhile customer experience that beats competitors, you might be able to charge more, even if the product itself is comparable. People put a high value on experience. Ask, what’s it worth to your customer?
According to Convince and Convert, “A moderate increase in customer experience generates an average revenue increase of $823 million over three years for a company with $1 billion in annual revenues.”
Basic Rules of Creating a Good Customer Experience
We all want to offer as good customer experience as possible - otherwise, we’re leaking money. But it requires a thoughtful and holistic approach.
First, you should have a list of all touchpoints your customer meets. It usually includes ads, website, your presence on other websites (guest posts, listings on marketplaces, etc.), interactions with a support or sales team, and all post-purchase activities (emails, calls, surveys, etc.).
Its complexity depends on how complex your sales process is - for example, it can also include personal meetings, negotiations, etc.
Second, the basic rule for creating a good CX is to be consistent on all steps. If you want to create an image of a professional company delivering the highest quality of services to corporations, do everything to reinforce this image.
This includes choosing graphics for your ads, website design, etc. Even the language used by the customer service team matters.
Third, you should constantly monitor customer experience on all steps. One-time research is not enough - trends regarding CX change, you can overlook changes that happen on the way (a simple example: new people joining the support team can affect the quality of support), new touchpoints appear. Monitoring the whole process will help you avoid unexpected problems.
How feedback helps improve customer experience
When you know all the steps of a customer journey, it’s time to investigate customer experience on them. Look for the biggest problems first. While it might be difficult to assess the experience of the negotiation process, other steps are easier to research.
Think of your website, support calls, purchase path - you can collect feedback with little effort and see whether they are any problems.
It’s tempting to collect feedback only from customers and ask them about their experience - it’s easy to contact them via phone or send an email survey and you don’t even need any specialistic survey tools to do it on a small scale. But it’s not the most effective way of researching customer experience.
Why? Because if they had some problems with CX, apparently they were not big enough to discourage them from becoming customers so. As a result, their feedback might be not critical enough and won’t show all existing problems.
This is why it’s important to collect feedback also from people who started interacting with your company but didn’t become customers.
Hint: You can use email surveys with marketing automation or customer communication tools you're already using to tie responses to email addresses to responses. For example, Survicate integrates with tools like Intercom, Drip, HubSpot or ActiveCampaign and more, so you can recognize respondents with their email addresses.
It allows you to reach out to customers who reply in a certain way or to segment them for future communication or analytics.
Think about website visitors. Some of them become customers but the vast majority do not. Why is that so? You can only guess until you ask them. Maybe it’s simply not what they were looking for or they don’t have time to complete the purchase?
But maybe no one answers their question on live chat or an inquiry form doesn’t work and they leave frustrated? You can’t afford to make such mistakes - they can ruin customer experience.
This is why collecting feedback on a website is so important - you’ll quickly find problems. Sometimes a quick fix can improve customer experience. The best way to collect feedback on a website is website surveys and live chat (don’t forget to take advantage of built-in chat ratings to see how visitors assess your support).
Free Website Feedback Survey Template
Also, remember about collecting feedback from people who don’t want to contact you and prefer to share their opinions on social media. Listening to them will show you the biggest problems with your customer experience and the biggest positives.
Why? Because not many people write on Twitter or Facebook that their experience was OK or slightly negative. They say that is was either awful or great. Use social listening to collect opinions on social media and jump into conversations.
How to Create Customer Experience Journey Maps
Customer experience journey mapping is a great way to visualize your customer’s experience in detail. It includes every single possible touchpoint from when your customer initially becomes aware of your brand, to their decision-making process, to their purchase. It continues to include repeat purchases and brand advocacy.
Customer journey mapping allows you to put the customer front and center in your business’ thinking. The best part? It can be done by anybody and has benefits for a variety of people within an organization.
For example, a customer experience map will help designers understand where users are coming from and what they are hoping to achieve. It will help copywriters gain clarity about the questions users have and the feelings they experience.
Managers will better understand how customers move through the sales funnel and show how improved customer service can make a difference to the company’s digital experience.
By mapping your customer experience, you’ll gain a greater understanding of who your customer is, what their needs are at each step of your interaction with them, and how your company can improve their experience to ensure it’s always pleasant. This process will also help you identify potential problems before they escalate and turn into big problems.
Another benefit of customer journey mapping is that you’ll be able to better understand the entire process your customer faces. This can help you identify if there are any areas where you can improve efficiencies and if there is room for automating various activities along the customer journey.
Customer journey mapping will expose changes in customer behavior as technology evolves.
This will help make sure your organization isn’t planning or making changes based on out-of-date assumptions about customer behavior.
Tips for approaching customer experience journey mapping
#1. Agree on the goal/purpose
Before diving in, identify with your team why it is that you are doing this. Have you gotten poor customer feedback via social media, feedback surveys, or customer service complaints? Have you noticed points in your customer journey where users inexplicably drop off?
Free Customer Satisfaction Deep Research Survey Template
#2. Figure out who your customer is (ideal buyer persona)
The next step is to develop buyer personas. Keep in mind that creating just one persona won’t cut it. Customer behavior can vary from person to person, and at different buying stages.
It’s worth noting distinctions between customers who have been doing market research for a while and are ready to purchase, versus someone who has only just started to think about solving their need through your product or service.
To make sure your personas are as accurate as possible, dig into your customer data. Be specific with your personas and create customer journey maps for each of them. If you fail to do so, your journey map will likely be too generic and will cause you to miss out on important insights and questions.
Free Buyer Persona Survey Template
#3. Define the behavioral stages
Once you’ve developed your personas, you now need to define your customer’s behavioral stages. These may differ depending on your business; however, your personas should give you a good idea of the process your customers go through from start to finish.Typically, the average customer’s behavioral stages are discovery, research, decision, purchase.
#4. List all your touchpoints
A “touchpoint” is every time a customer engages with your company. This includes before, during, and after they purchase your product, and also includes moments that happen both on and offline, in person, through marketing, and over the phone.
Note each potential touchpoint that can occur between your organization and your customers. Though this may seem daunting at first, make this task a little simpler by putting yourself in your customer’s position and walk through their journey step-by-step.
You can ask yourself questions to get the ball rolling and to ensure you don’t miss anything: "Where do I go when…"
- I have a problem that your product/company offers solutions for?
- I discover the product or service that solves my problem?
- I make my purchase decision?
- I encounter this organization again after the purchasing?
Go through this list again and ask, “how do I get there?” at each stage.
You can also go about this task more directly by asking customers about their experience with your brand in the form of a survey. Common touchpoints might include product description pages, pricing pages, contact forms, etc.
#5. Identify customer pain points
Now it’s time to combine your data and look at the big picture. Note any potential pain points or roadblocks along the customer journey, as well as areas where you’re doing things right.
To do this, ask yourself the following questions:
- Are customers achieving their goals on my website?
- Where are the main areas where customers experience friction and frustration?
- Where are people abandoning purchases (and why)?
Once these pain points and roadblocks are identified, note them on your customer journey map.
#6. Remove any roadblocks
Now that you know what the roadblocks are, how can you address them to improve your customer experience?
Ask yourself what needs to be fixed or built. Is there anything that needs to be completely scrapped and restarted?
It’s important to recognize that at the end of the day, you’re not optimizing your customer journey just for the sake of it. Rather, your goal is to push your customers down the sales funnel and make it easier (and therefore more likely) to convert.
How To Create a Customer Experience Strategy
If you own a brand new business, the concept of creating an effective customer experience strategy can seem daunting. However, by breaking it up into small, manageable steps you can create an organized plan that isn’t so overwhelming.
So where do you start?
You must first figure out who your customers are, so you’ll know how to serve them best. Once you’ve established who exactly your audience base is, you’ll have a better understanding of how to market to them.
A good way to figure out more information about your customer base is to conduct a survey. For example, if your company makes money through online sales, you could include a survey after every purchase. The survey, which should be kept very brief, could ask basic questions such as what age bracket the customer is in, where they’re located in the world, and how they found out about your company.
Free Post-Purchase Survey Template
This will also be your chance to ask them how satisfied they were with your purchase, helping you to determine which areas you’re doing well in and what needs to be improved.
By doing this, you’ll have some basic information regarding your customer base and will know how to market to them more effectively. If you want to offer your customers an incentive to complete the survey, offer them a discount to be used towards their next purchase!
You’ll also want to take the time to determine who exactly your competitors are and learn from them.
Free Brand Awareness Survey Template
What seems to be working well for them? How have they managed to gain success thus far?
You’re not finding out this information to copy them, but to learn how to be better than they are. You want to set your brand apart and be able to convince potential customers that they should choose you rather than other options out there.
Create a customer experience vision
Now that you know a little bit more about who you’re marketing towards, you can create a more accurate customer experience strategy for your customers. Picture what a perfect customer experience should like for your clients. Ideally, they would be able to find exactly the product they are looking for, any of their questions about the product would be answered quickly, and the interaction concludes with them being satisfied with their purchase.
Customer interaction: the early stage
If you’re a new startup company, chances are your website is not yet the best it can be. Because this is likely where your customer’s experience will begin, you want to make sure they are not spending hours searching for the product they’re looking for.
If this is the case, they’ll likely give up and leave without making a purchase. Layout your website in such a way that your customer only has to make a few clicks to find exactly what they’re looking for.
Utilize search filters so that your customer can narrow down products to find what they’re looking for faster.
Customer interaction: the middle stage
It is within this middle stage of a customer interaction that you’ll want to be available to answer any questions they might have about your products.
Be sure to answer any inquiries as fast as possible, as this will show that you not only care about your customer’s experience but are passionate about your brand. Of course, realistically, you’ll not be able to answer every single inquiry in real-time, especially as your business begins to grow.
This is where a ‘Help’ page on your website will come in handy. This page could include a list of frequently asked questions about your products or a drop-down menu that offers them step-by-step assistance, guiding them through the process of making a purchase.
Customer interaction: the final stage
If you’ve followed the earlier steps, your client should be enjoying a positive customer experience thus far and will hopefully decide to make a purchase. Many business owners may make the mistake of thinking that this is when the work is finally done.
After all, they’ve successfully met their goal of achieving a purchase. However, this is actually the most pivotal stage of your customer’s interaction.
If your customer made a purchase online, they’re now likely waiting for it to be delivered. Be sure to give them accurate information regarding when they can expect their purchase to arrive.
After the timeframe of delivery has passed, be sure to send them a follow-up email thanking them for their purchase and checking in to make sure they’re satisfied. This shows that you aren’t just focused on making money, but genuinely care about your customers.
This will ultimately help ensure that they’ll return for a second purchase later on and maybe even leave you a positive review.
5 Metrics to Track for Customer Experience
The customer experience metrics below should give you an overview of how your company’s efforts in improving CX are doing:
Net Promoter Score (NPS)
The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a metric used to gauge general consumer opinion on your brand. All you must do is conduct a very brief NPS survey, which asks simple questions to be answered on a 0-10 scale.
Free NPS Survey Template
There are three types of respondents:
- Promoters, who answer from 9-10
- Passives, who answer from 7-8
- Detractors, who answer from 0-6
Once the data is collected, you can use the below formula to find your NPS:
NPS = % Promoters – % Detractors
The next step comes in interpreting the results. The base goal is to be above 0 (net positive: more promotion than detraction) but each organization will have its own benchmark. Read our in-depth NPS guide for more details.
And make sure to check out the NPS benchmark report to see how your score stacks up against industry averages. Does your customer loyalty give you a competitive edge, or does your competition leave you in the dust?
Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)
The Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) is derived from the common customer satisfaction surveys. It asks users to rate their experience from 1 (least satisfied) to 5 (most satisfied).
Free CSAT Survey Template
A CSAT can show you how satisfied customers are with a specific process or piece of the overall customer experience. It differs from NPS, which gauges overall brand satisfaction and loyalty.
Using these two metrics together can provide a more complete picture of your customers’ opinions.
Customer Effort Score (CES)
The third survey is the Customer Effort Score (CES) survey. This metric measures how easy or difficult a certain process is for customers. Data collection often takes the form of an to agree/disagree question regarding the statement “it was easy for me to handle my issue.”
Free CES Survey Template
Agree and Strongly Agree answers would be given a high numeric value, while Disagree and Strongly Disagree would be given a low (or zero) value. Using this system, a low CES implies that customers find it difficult to complete the process in question. This means there is room to improve.
Make sure to include the CES in your CX analysis. It has become very popular for a reason: the Harvard Business Review found that the CES had the most predictive power in terms of increased spending and repurchasing!
Upsell & Cross-Sell Rate
Upselling and cross-selling are effective techniques to increase the average order size of your e-commerce business. This sub-field of customer experience analytics revolves around customer behavior, while the previous one was about user opinions.
There is a common misbelief that these terms are interchangeable. To recall: Upselling in e-commerce occurs when a similar but more expensive product is recommended, on the basis that it will provide the customer with better value. Cross-selling involves recommending smaller purchases that complement the main purchase, for example, recommending accessories for a new camera.
Tracking conversion rates for these strategies can be complex and ambiguous. In fact, 50% of businesses don’t know the conversion rate of their cross-selling and upselling efforts.
It can take up a lot of dedicated resources to track this metric in detail (conversion by page, conversion by product recommended, etc.) and you may not even have a large enough sample size to compile meaningful information.
However, your company should at least track the overall conversion rate of all cross-selling and upselling efforts. Tracking and improving this conversion rate can help your company get ahead of the curve.
The final metric to track is the churn rate. The broad definition of churn rate is this: the percentage of customers who stop using your product or service in a given time period. Say your company has 100,000 subscribers and loses 5,000 in a month; the monthly churn rate would be 5%.
Churn rate should be monitored over time and minimized in the following way:
- Stop selling to the wrong customers – create your buyer persona.
- Find out what the churn reason is.
- Try to spot any red flags.
- Offer great customer support!
- Create an exceptional customer onboarding process.
- Ask for feedback regularly and react to it.
How to Get the Most of Customer Experience Research
We’re going to talk you through the process of customer experience research. We’ve chatted with Kate Jordan, our Product Marketing Specialist who spent the past 6 months doing customer research all to ensure we create an experience that our customers will never forget!
What is customer experience research?
I bet that most of you will think NPS. However, the net promoter score is just a drop in the ocean – it’s the least you can do to check whether your customers are satisfied with the service you provide. It’s easy to do which makes it a good starting point.
While the majority of people know how to measure NPS, they don’t know what to do with the results. And checking your NPS just for the sake of it, just because everyone else does it is a waste of time.
Customer experience research goes way beyond NPS. It’s an ongoing process, not a one-off project.
It can be divided into two major areas: customer satisfaction and customer engagement.
Customer experience research best practices
Start collecting qualitative data by interviewing your customers
Try to focus on the experiences of specific users. You can segment them into two groups:
New customers - to discover how they found you, what made them choose you over the competition, what problems they want to tackle with your product, or what job they believe they can get done with it and what their first impression is.
Long term customers - to learn what the main product value is, what could be improved, what’s done well. They are an amazing source of knowledge because they know the product well, and they clearly like it since they haven’t churned.
Go through the conversations your customer-facing teams had with your customers. The information you find there might be very different from what you’ll learn in the interviews or they can support the conclusions from your 1:1 interviews.
Reading customer conversations in Intercom, for example, will let you in on some first-hand product insights. Customers will report any problems or issues they have with the product at the point of experiencing them. This will provide you with very honest information.
You can find out what their obstacles are, what lowers the quality of CX, to identify all areas which require improvement.
Start collecting quantitative data with CX surveys
Running a CX survey is a great way to identify any CX gaps you might have. This is something different from the golden trio – CSAT, NPS, and CES. Where can you run such surveys?
On your website to ask your prospects what stopped them from signing up for the product. It’s one of the most important questions you can ask your visitors, much more valuable than an NPS. Getting insights from “what stopped you from signing up” survey will help you optimize your website for better conversions.
After sign up, ask your customers what their goal for using the product is. If X% mentions a reason you’ve never heard of, it might be worth sharing this feedback with your product team. This could help with future product roadmap development.
In your knowledge base, to check if your content is helpful. Target your survey at the readers, asking if the article they read was useful. If the user doesn’t get anything out of it, it might lead to frustration. In the fast-paced business world, customers choose self-service over (sometimes) time-consuming contact with a support/sales team.
After your customer churns. Not knowing why your customers leave you is a real problem and a massive growth inhibitor. As soon as your customer churns send them a survey to ask why. Identifying the factors that stop your users from using the product will help you improve customer experience and reduce churn – if you use the findings that are. Be aware of how many customers you lose due to unfulfilled expectations (e.g., poor customer service) vs the reasons you have no influence on.
Measure at least one of the CX metrics regularly
You should measure at least one of your CX metrics continuously to check if it’s going up, down or if it’s static. For example, NPS might come in handy after getting feedback from the surveys mentioned above and incorporating it. You’ll be able to verify if the improvements had a positive impact on the customer/user experience.
Track product behavioral data
Customer experience research also includes tracking data inside your product to check how it’s used and how it performs. This means that you not only research how customers think you treat them but also how they actually engage with your service.
It’s worth establishing milestones, which will make judging success easier. For example, at Survicate one of the milestones is getting a specific number of survey answers.
We monitor what actions an average user needs to take to reach this goal and how long it takes. We then try to figure out how to optimize the process to make it easier for our customers to collect the answers.
There are a lot of tools like Mixpanel, Pendo, Amplitude which provide invaluable product insights. For example, how your customers use certain features. Are there any features that no one uses and you can dispose of to enhance product usability?
Use web tracking apps for session recordings and heatmaps
Your website is part of the customer experience. It’s the first impression your customers and prospects get – and we all know that first impressions count. You can use web tracking tools such as Hotjar to monitor what your visitors do on your website. Do your CTA’s get enough clicks? Is there any section that can be moved for better visibility? You can find it all out by using web-tracking tools.
As you can see, while we can all think of customer experience differently, it all comes down to one thing – keeping your eyes open and listening to customers’ opinions and needs. It's the only way to think of doing business, if you want to remain relevant in the highly demanding online business field.
Positive customer experience is crucial to ensure that your company grows and prospers for years to come. By having a greater understanding of who your customer base is, you’ll be better able to serve them. Finally, remember that your work isn’t done after making a purchase, but extends into the post-purchase stage when you’ll ensure your customer is satisfied with the product and their decision to work with you.