The customer may not always be right, but they should always be central to your business operation at every level. When it comes to CX, it’s always vital to make sure it’s always good for them.
There’s a lot of shorthand that goes on in business – endless acronyms, mnemonics and buzzwords that often provoke more of an eye-roll or a sigh than inspiration and action. However, when it comes to CX, it really is something you need to be thinking about.
What is CX?
CX is short for customer experience, and is all about how your customers feel when interacting with your business.
It’s important to realise that CX is about the whole customer experience – we’re not just talking about great service at the trade counter, or shiny new website. It’s everything. From parking to marketing, website stability to spam email, it’s all about how it was for them.
Is CX the same as UX?
No, though there are some similarities and they are related. UX is user experience and relates more to how a customer interacts with or uses a particular product. It’s usually referred to in the context of digital usage – for example, our CX is about how customers interact with us as a business, whereas our UX is about how our customers find using our software; UX is part of CX in our case. Both are important of course, and both put the customer at the centre of business or product design and strategy, but they are different things.
So how can we offer great CX?
Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and think about what “good” means to them.
Usually it’s about convenience, simplicity and effectiveness – getting what they want, when and where they want it, at the right price, without any hassle. It’s about pre-empting and removing obstacles, reducing friction, and adding those little added value extras that really leave people feeling positive about the whole interaction.
How they hear about you in the first place – recommendation, word of mouth, Google search, advertising, signage, articles in the press etc. How someone first hears about you starts to form impressions before they’ve even visited.
How easy is it to find you? Whether it’s online or in person, you need to make it easy to be found. Well signed locations, easy parking, straightforward web address, good SEO – being easy to find makes a great impression.
Have you got what they want? Use your analytics, customer research and observations to evaluate what products your customers want, and try to keep it in stock! Sounds simple, but availability is a huge driver in customer satisfaction. Too many out of stock situations can make for a really negative experience and customers are fickle and usually quite happy to look elsewhere, so it really pays to know what your customers want, month to month, season to season.
How easy is it to find that they want? Stock layout, recommendations, special offers, related products, suitable alternatives to out of stock items, readily available information and so on all play a part in ensuring a great customer experience.
Service. Possibly the most obvious area of CX, and yes, it’s important. Make sure your staff all understand the importance of great service and really think about what it involves – from comprehensive information and a helpful attitude to considerate delivery drivers and a quick phone answering service with no prolonged hold music, service is a huge catch-all area when it come to the customer experience. For more about what makes good customer service, see this blog
A little "je ne sais quoi". They say that little things mean a lot, and when it comes to CX, that's often true. It could be offering tea and coffee, arranging for a great breakfast van to be outside the branch on a Friday morning, or sending an unexpected discount or voucher just to say thanks. It could be a delivery driver going the extra mile to help unload, or the friendly chat at the checkout. But we all know that some experiences just feel better than others - and we remember that feeling next time we're choosing where to spend our money.
Keeping in touch. Sometimes customers need a prompt to come back, but how much communication is too much? Your emails, direct mail, catalogues or calls should always be relevant and should add value. Don’t bombard people, and don’t overload them with irrelevant or pushy communications. Think about how many communications you relegate to the recycling bin, both physical and digital, and apply that thinking to your own messaging
Reward and loyalty. Competition is tough, so how do you ensure ongoing loyalty from your customers? Great service and experience is often enough reason, but also think about rewards, incentives and special offers to keep people coming back for more. When customers feel they’re getting not just great value but also great appreciation and recognition, it’s going to make it a more positive experience.
Association and values. Increasingly, customers care about the values and responsibility of the businesses they frequent. Whether that’s environmental focus, giving back to a local community, active diversity and inclusivity programmes or investing in education or career opportunities, think about how can help people feel ethically good about doing business with you.
Why is good CX so important?
Customers who have a positive experience of your business are far more likely to return in the future, spread the word, leave good reviews and make recommendations.
It really is that simple, and that vital. And remember – customers who have a bad experience are often far more vocal than those who don’t, and can do damage to your reputation.
How else can you ensure your customers have a great experience? We’d love to know your tips!