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What is Customer Experience (and why is it so important)?

what-is-customer-experience-and-why-is-it-so-important-business-strategist-sarahlouisebidmead-sarah-louise-bidmead

Customer experience is the new marketing.” – Steve Cannon, Mercedes Benz USA President and CEO.

Customer experience is not the ‘next big thing’ it’s THE BIG thing and it’s here to stay so listen up. A recent study suggests that by 2020 Customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. That’s epic!

You might be thinking “what exactly is customer experience and why should I care?”

Well, I’ve heard a few definitions….

In commerce, customer experience (CX) is the product of an interaction between an organization and a customer over the duration of their relationship.”

Forbes says that customer experience is the “cumulative impact of multiple touch points” over the course of a customer’s interaction with an organization.”

“According to Forrester Research (via Fast Company), the six disciplines for great customer experience are strategy, customer understanding, design, measurement, governance and culture.”

Personally, the definition I think sums up customer experience the best is:

The entirety of the interactions a customer has with a company and its products. Understanding the customer experience is an integral part of customer relationship management. The overall experience reflects how the customer feels about the company and its offerings.”

So customer experience is about the feels!

And why is customer experience SO important?

Simply, because customers are the most important element to your business. Without  your customers, there is no business and you should do everything in your power to make their experience with you and your brand nothing short of ah-mazing so they stay happy, loved up and loyal.

When you turn your attention, time and focus to celebrating and creating FOR your customers you will change the trajectory of your business.

what-is-customer-experience-and-why-is-it-so-important-business-strategist-sarahlouisebidmead

How customer experience drives your brand

“The customer experience is the next competitive battleground.” – Jerry Gregoire, Chief Information Officer at Dell.

Your brand is more than just your logo or website. Your brand is the collective opinion of all your past, present and future customers. Think now about a time you’ve had a less than pleasant experience with a brand – not very nice was it? Have you been back? Definitely not. Have you complained about it to your friends and family? Probably. Have you left a scathing review? Maybe.

Now think about a time you’ve been pleasantly surprised and genuinely impressed with a brand – have you raved about it? Have you bought from them/visited them again? Have you spent more money with them? Maybe joined their club/followed them online and left a 5 star review? You sure have.

Why? Because you enjoyed your experience. Something about the process and path you followed with that brand left you feeling happy, safe, appreciated, needed. You may have even felt as if the brand just ‘got you’ and the problem you needed a solution to, no longer exists thanks to them!

You probably have a specific brand in mind…are you loyal to them?

You sure are! It’s why we have ‘my coffee shop’, ‘my gym’, ‘my dry-cleaner’, ‘my florist’ etc. We keep going back, day after day, week after week not for lack of options, but because we enjoy our experience with them.

what-is-customer-experience-and-why-is-it-so-important-business-strategist-sarahlouisebidmead

Amazing Customer Experiences = Loyal Customers

When you take the time to plan your customer’s experiences with you/ your brand (and there is a simple formula  you can follow so don’t worry) your business will be happily rewarded with a community of loved up customers who feel aligned and loyal to you.

We all know that loyal customers are the best! Your business needs loyal customers and loyal customers really want your business to make it super easy for them to continue choosing you.  

Here’s a few ways you can do that:

Show your customers how grateful you are for their business!

When was the last time you thanked your customers for their business?  If you have used this strategy, was it personal or a blanket solution? Your customers are the life force of your business. Without them there is no business. Your customers are helping you create and maintain your livelihood, so please treat them like rockstars and thank them for their business. Attitude of gratitude! 

 

Make their journey with you seamless!

By working to well thought out, customer-centric strategies and journeys you’re making it super easy for your customers to continue choosing you. Remind your customers that you are the clear choice for them and you value them by staying in their ‘world’ in positive ways and showing up exceptionally well at all the “critical moments” along their journey. If you can nail this, you make their life easier and the choice to stay a paying customer super easy!

 

Appreciate your customers by planning clear steps for them.

Try not to over-complicate things. Keep it simple. Keep it smart. Keep it personal. If your strategy revolves around your customer and follows a clear path of what works for them and what makes sense for them and their lives, you are on the right track.

 

Use your customer experience strategy as a clear differentiator in your market (because now we know important that really is!)

Now, because our markets are flooded with new offers, new services, new providers and more competition than ever before, as a business owner you must create amazing customer experiences so your customers see how far in front your competitors you really are. Make them feel appreciated and loved and valued. Show up for them. Be there when they need you. Create systems in the background that support your customers. Think about all the touch points along their journey with you which you must absolutely be present for then add an extra layer of goodness by adding special touch points they’re not expecting. Be exceptional.

 

What happens when you don’t invest time in crafting customer experiences?

By not taking time to plan your customer experience, your customer journey or by establishing strategies to make it super easy for your customers to stick with you and continue to buy with you – you are leaving opportunities (and revenue) on the table for your competitors. 

To put it bluntly, if you don’t love and appreciate your customers, someone else will!

what-is-customer-experience-and-why-is-it-so-important-business-strategist-sarahlouisebidmead

Get started right now!

Creating amazing customer experiences does not have to be costly or overly time-taxing.

It does have to be smart and thoughtful.

Stay tuned in my next article for that simple formula to help you create amazing customer experiences for every single one of your customers! Comment below if you have any customer experience questions! 

 

 

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