Back when there was no Internet things were simpler.

The only way you could buy something was to walk into a bricks and mortar shop and actually have a conversation with a human being. Okay there was mail order too, but you get the picture.

A conversation with a sales person. Remember that? If you were lucky and you weren't 'just looking', buying from a proper shop was a pleasant experience with a lot of niceties and questions about what you're looking for - all culminating with you walking out with a bag stuffed with your purchases.

'That was a good customer service', you'd say. The sales person was friendly, knowledgeable and upsold you something you didn't really need. Nevertheless, you were happy. You enjoyed a great customer experience!

Simple...

How things have changed. Granted, you can still walk into a shop but that's becoming a novelty. Online - that's where it's at.

Customer service has evolved into customer experience and online it’s much more than just the purchase.

Let's start with the modern definition of Customer Experience (CX). Wiki defines it as:

"Customer experience (CX) is a totality of cognitive, affective, sensory, and behavioural consumer responses during all stages of the consumption process including pre-purchase, consumption, and post-purchase stages."

You can read the full definition here.

So a lot going on then. A lot more than just what you experience when you enter a shop. CX is now a process, also pre-sale, to the point where delivering a positive one has become such a valuable tool that businesses try to use CX as a key differentiator.

As customers we want to be ‘surprised and delighted’. From the moment we carry out an online search, then visit a website, and through every stage of the buying process and beyond. That's just the way it is, and companies have to respect the fact that customers are an extremely demanding bunch.

Are needs being fulfilled all through the journey regardless of what device they're using?

Is personalised or even hyper-personalised messaging being used to influence the buying decision? In short, is every base being covered when trying to create a connection?

That's the challenge all businesses are facing.

That's why so much emphasis is put on providing a positive experience and meeting customer expectations. Because if anything goes south (and it will) there are a multitude of ways customers can let the world know how badly their experience went. And nobody wants that!

Education cuts both ways in the world of customer experience. Customers educate themselves on the things they want and expect pampering as they pick up knowledge. Businesses need to be educated about their customers' needs to deliver what they want - and quickly.

Now we’ve established what customer experience is, can it be measured?

Yes it can. In four ways:

  1. Customer satisfaction surveys 
  2. Customer churn rates
  3. Ask customers directly for their views
  4. Analyse customer complaints
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1. Customer satisfaction surveys

Surveys are a tough one. Most surveys are tailored to guide customers in the direction the business wants to go. They're not a ‘warts and all’ exercise, but they should be.

Here’s a scenario: As a customer I've just received an email with a survey. It's in a multiple choice format with a sliding scale of scoring my experience 1= unsatisfied 5= satisfied.

Although I want to scream from the rooftops that my experience was rubbish I don't get asked what I actually think of the service I received. Instead I grade all the questions with a measly score of 1 - without any context. Unfortunately, this is the way surveys are conducted by most, but wouldn't it be great if they gave customers a chance to air their true grievances?

2. Customer churn

The simple fact is, if customers aren't happy they won't be coming back. Churn rate is a good indicator of customer loyalty - or lack of.

You need to identify those lost customers, segment them and get them back on board by reaching out and giving them a stratospheric customer experience through an awesome retention strategy. Ideally before they leave with anti-churn processes.

3. Ask customers for their views

This is linked to surveys. Don't be shy, because your customers won't be. Ask them their views. This helps identify gaps in CX that you could look at improving.

From a bad website experience to receiving too many unnecessary emails, knowing what irks your customers can be turned into a positive thing.

4. Analyse customer complaints

Don't ignore customer grievances. Deal with them straight away. Nowadays, many customers vent their frustrations through social media channels for all to see. Not jumping on issues immediately can significantly impact your brand's integrity, and you'll lose potential and existing customers.

Analysing customer complaints is an opportunity for you to identify whatever is needed for your business to improve the overall customer experience and keep your shoppers happy.

Delivering a remarkable CX strategy is the bedrock to success. You need a website that sings. Content that resonates and is on trend. Quality products and services. Top notch after-sales. 

All-in-all, it's a friendly digital smile that'll bring those customers back.

We've got a team of experts ready to talk to you about CX, so whenever you’re ready, get in touch.