For Retailers

How To Create A Customer Experience Strategy (Tips and Best Practices)

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Customer experience is an essential part of eCommerce business success.

You need a customer experience strategy that will increase your revenue, grow your company, and develop loyal customers. By tapping into the data that your business has access to and integrating customer experience throughout your business plan, you can significantly boost customer experience.

Is an Excellent Customer Experience Design Worth the Investment?

Customer experience is too often an undervalued investment. It is much easier to predict and see the return on other sorts of investments. However, the value of customer experience cannot be overlooked. 

Without a focus on and investment in customers, companies will die. There are a vast number of companies competing for your customers. This is especially true for an online store that may have customers all over the world.

A great customer experience is one essential way to help your business stand out from the crowd, develop loyal customers, and turn online visits into revenue.

Contrary to the assumptions of too many CEOs, the return on investment into customer satisfaction can be measured. Furthermore, it is significant:

Higher income.

  • Revenue is 4.8% higher for companies that focus on the customer experience.
  • Of companies that work on improving their customer experience, 84% see an increase in revenues.
  • Companies that focus on customer experience are 60% more profitable than those that don’t.
  • Americans will pay as much as 17% more to buy from a company who they believe has excellent customer service.
  • If your company is currently earning $1 billion a year, you could see a gain of $700 million in just three years of investment in the customer journey.

Customer experience is a sign of success.

  • Companies leading in customer experience outperform those who flounder by as much as 80%.
  • Above-average customer experiences give companies an edge of 73% over their competition.

Earn customer loyalty.

Nearly all (96%) of customers say good service is important in their loyalty to a brand.

73% of customers say a good experience is a crucial influence in their brand loyalty. 32% said they’d stop doing business with a brand after a bad experience.

Engaged employees.

Companies with a great customer experience strategy have employees that are 1.5 times more engaged.

Employee engagement was increased by 20% in companies who actively work to improve customer experience.

Millennials have high expectations in customer experience.

Perhaps because of the instant results offered by mobile technology, millennials have less patience for slow service or a mediocre experience. Millennials make up a considerable portion of the market. Also, they tend to be loyal customers once they’re happy with a brand. 

Millennials may also be more willing to engage with artificial intelligence. When interacting with a brand, as many as half of consumers under 35 would rather work with a computer than a human. Failing to use artificial intelligence to amp up your customer experience strategy is a wasted opportunity. You’re wasting money on human representatives while failing to appeal to millennials.

What is a Customer Experience Strategy?

Customer experience (CX) strategy is constantly evolving to meet the needs of new consumers and adjust to a changing business environment. In the past, much of the customer experience revolved around in-store occurrences, coupons, and discounts. All of those things still matter, but CX strategy is changing.

86% of leaders in customer experience strategy believe that in five years AI will be essential. They believe that their company will utilize artificial intelligence and machine learning to customize not only offers, but services and products.

Changing tendencies in CX may be even more essential online. 84% of customer experience professionals think that virtual experiences will be more important than physical ones in five years.

You don’t want to be left behind. 82% of firms worry that they’ll lose market share to competitors who use voice interaction capabilities for their products. 

Their fears are well-founded. 66% of companies are using at least one emerging technology to provide better customer experience. 64% are using or preparing to use intelligent voice assistance and chat boxes.

Examples of Brands Doing CX Right

If you want to improve your customer experience management, it’s a good idea to look at what other successful companies are doing. Increasingly, emerging technologies are leading the way in improving customer engagement and experience.

Companies like Amazon, Google parent Alphabet Inc., and Walmart all spent between $12 and $13.6 billion on technology, including technology to enhance the customer experience.

90% of CEOs believe that their customers most greatly impact their business. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that many of the most successful brands are investing into their customer experience (CX). Great CX strategies drive revenue, increase employee morale, and earn customer loyalty. Here are some examples of brands who offer an excellent customer experience.

Kenneth Cole

Kenneth Cole Customer Experience Strategy

Kenneth Cole3 has always been known for superb fashion, but they are also leading the way in customer experience. They connect with their customers by advocating for public health and civil liberties. Volunteering is encouraged throughout their company and with its customers.

Furthermore, Keneth Cole makes online shopping exceptionally easy and fun for their customers. Innovative software lets shoppers buy and give products that are perfect for the recipient. 

The recipient is notified of the gift by various touch points (email, text, or social media). The recipient can then customize the gift by size, color, or style or even exchange it. 

White + Warren

White + Warren

White + Warren makes some of the most beautiful and authentic cashmere sweaters that you can find. Their cashmere is sourced from herders in Mongolia and shaped by skilled fashion designers into truly luxurious (and incredibly soft) cashmere clothing. 

White + Warren connects with their customers by offering responsibly sourced luxury cashmere. Still, they go even further in their pursuit of environmentally thoughtful decisions. Their Reclaimed Campaigns turn unworn and recycled cashmere into beautiful, cozy pieces. An Italian artisan makes sure that these reclaimed pieces are as fashionable as they are environmentally friendly. 

Natori

Natori

Natori creates style that makes a statement. They also make waves in their customer service campaign. They expanded their direct-to-consumer business to serve their customers in new and innovative ways. Instead of relying on wholesalers to market their products, Natori has begun relying on their own site and channels to communicate their brand story. 

Selling online is another important aspect of their ambitious campaign to connect with their customers more deeply. Their online presence isn’t just an eCommerce platform. It is a luxury destination for their customers. 

Chick-fil-A

Chick-Fil-A

This beloved fast-food chain is well-known for its great customer service. They received an excellent score of 9.11 for customer service on a Newsweek survey.

This creative company makes use of technology and flexibility. They have a well-designed app for mobile orders. When the drive-through is busiest, in-person management keeps customers from feeling overlooked. 

Chick-fil-A invests in customer experience by training its employees extensively in customer relations.

Workday

Workday

This software company is a great place to work and offers an excellent customer experience as well. 

A bragworthy score of 98% for customer satisfaction is largely won through not only listening to customer feedback but going further by adjusting products to meet the needs of the customer.

Apple

Apple has super loyal customers.

Apple has always placed a high value on the customer journey. Their products and services are streamlined to offer the best possible experience for each customer. 

Apple produces products that meet customer needs by listening to what customers want and adjusting their designs accordingly. They have a culture that places people over products. They create passionate employees who are eager to engage with customers.

Natura

Natura

This Brazilian cosmetics company is an excellent example of utilizing cause marketing to provide a great customer experience. Natura is dedicated to sustainability. They were named the 15th most sustainable company in the world. 

Furthermore, Natura provides jobs to locals in the Amazon and are proponents of fair trade. All of these initiatives make customers feel great about this company. 

Natura uses streamlined mobile communication to let customers use the site from anywhere. Customer data is used to personalize the experience. Customer satisfaction is high at Natura, and the business is thriving. 

Customer Experience Journey

Every customer goes through a journey when they interact with your company. At every step, they make decisions about whether they want to be more involved in your brand or not. Many factors go into the decision to keep engaging in the shopping process. 

Customer Journey

A customer journey map can help you to visualize, understand, and perfect the path that your customers take. When data is carefully collected and money and time invested into the customer experience, you can do a lot to change a customer’s journey through your company. You’ll also make it more likely that they’ll complete a purchase and come back.

Types of customer journey maps

A customer journey map can vary in the number and specificity of data points that are taken into account, as well as the length of time that they cover:

  • Start to finish. These maps track the customer experience as customers use your website, enter your store, or visit your social media for the first time. They follow the customer all the way until when they decide to stop using your products or services (hopefully never).
  • Specific. These maps look at particular interactions between customers and the company. They map how the interaction went in order to learn how it might be improved.

Essential data to gather

However broad or specific you want your map to be, crafting a good customer experience design relies on finding and utilizing data. Some of this information can be gathered through website analytics. Other times, the best way to collect data may be to interview customers. Whatever tactics you use, keep the following data points in mind.

  • Customer behavior. What actions is the customer taking at each stage? How do they decide to move forward? Track the way that a customer moves through your site. Talk to customers about what they’re doing.
  • Goals. What motivates the customer to continue moving forward? Are they looking for a specific feature in a product? Are they considering all of the services that you offer in search of something in particular? Ask customers what they hope for from your site. 
  • Barriers. What might prevent customers from going through with a purchase or contacting you about a service? Was the cart abandoned at checkout? Did a customer leave the site after an insubstantial service page? This is one of the most essential aspects of your research. Knowing what went wrong is the best way to improve. 
  • Success. When a customer does move forward with purchasing, and especially if they share with their friends and purchase again, you want to know why. What worked? Why are they excited that they bought from your business?

Focus on behavior before, during, and after a purchase

It’s essential to pay attention to customer behavior both before they make a purchase and after. It can be tempting to focus only on the decision making up to the point of sale. However, how customers act afterward is vital as well. 

Are your customers thrilled with the product? Do they want to share it with all of their friends? Or are they considering a different brand for the next time that they want to buy? Knowing the difference can help you to create lifelong customers instead of losing customers for reasons that could be fixed.

Understanding the customer experience that exists at your company lets you begin building a better experience design. This will help you to make the most out of every interaction that customers have with your company.

What is a customer experience program?

Integrating a great customer experience strategy throughout your business requires a comprehensive plan. 

Get on board.

Your strategy is unlikely to be successful if everyone in your business isn’t on board. Customer experience should be central to your core values. It should be emphasized with employees at every level of your business, not just with employees who have direct interactions with customers.

Gather the right data.

Data is essential to customer experience management. Operational data, like website analytics and shopper behavior, are necessary for understanding how customers have been behaving. However, to understand why a customer has been acting, you need customer feedback.

Using operational data and customer feedback together is the best foundation for your customer experience strategy. Together, these two forms of data can tell you what customers did and why they did them. This lets you make the connections that will enable you to build a better customer experience.

The more customer feedback you have, the more connections you’ll be able to make. It is also ideal if the data comes from diverse sources. Collect surveys on customer experience on social media and through website and email interactions.

Utilize analytical tools to compare and combine data and take time to comb through it in order to arrive at creative solutions and incentives. Keep your strategy flexible. Data will keep changing, and so should your plan.

How Do You Develop a Customer Experience Strategy?

There are many components to a successful customer experience strategy. Some of them are just good standard customer service. These techniques have been utilized by retail brands, eCommerce business, and pretty much all other customer-driven companies for many years. Others are more unique to our changing digital age.

To determine what strategy will work for your business, get ideas throughout your business.

Marketing

The marketing department has essential information about what consumers expect from your brand and why customers are attracted to particular products. Furthermore, they can tell you how people are finding your company. This information can help you to attract more customers and get them through the door once they are aware of your business.

Sales.

Your sales team may understand precisely what customers want from your products. They may also know what concerns customers have. This information can help you to ease those anxieties for customers before they need to ask the sales team, perhaps by integrating a bot.

Customer service.

It should come as no surprise that the customer service department has valuable information for you regarding your customer experience strategy. This department can tell you what customers don’t like about your products and brand. This may be more significant in many cases than knowing what does work. 

The honest feedback that they get from customers can be used to shape an experience that will address potential complaints before they even have them.

Innovative ways to add to your CX strategy

  • Be creative. The best way to appeal to customers and offer them a great experience may be very different for different companies. If you want to succeed, find the tactics that work for your company.
  • Challenge your company. It can be tempting to stick with techniques that you’ve used before to improve consumer satisfaction, but this is a mistake. When you want to shape a strong customer experience, be open to new ideas. It is often challenging to incorporate new ideas, but the payoff is likely to be worth it.
  • Follow through in research. You may initiate research into customer satisfaction, but then find it difficult to question consumers about their experience consistently. Research that is spotty or inconsistent is unlikely to inform a great plan. Stick with your research plan and devote the resources needed.
  • Try things when marketing. You may not always know if a new technique will work. However, these ideas are geared towards making customers happier and have relatively low risk. It’s worth trying a few ideas to see what will work best for the needs of your company and customers.
  • Put yourself in the consumer’s shoes. Whatever you do to build a strong client experience, you’ll find it useful to regularly try out your process as if you were a consumer to get a feel for it.

Chatbots.

Artificial intelligence can do a lot to enhance your customer service. Furthermore, you don’t have to employ a vast army of customer service representatives to help you. Employees may become frustrated and demoralized by often answering repetitive questions. A chatbot remains responsive and polite at all hours. 

Bots shield your employees from the exhaustion of answering basic customer inquiries while providing prompt service for customer questions. If customers have more advanced questions, bots can filter them through to human service representatives faster.

H&M, Aerie, and Rue21 utilize eCommerce website bots to make customized product suggestions to customers.

Tommy Hilfiger, Burberry, and many other retailers use chatbots in Facebook messenger. Facebook messenger is a great way to utilize chatbots. It takes very little effort and engages with customers on the social media platforms where they already are.

Personalized Discounts.

Everyone likes a discount, but discounts on products that we have no desire to buy aren’t helpful. Furthermore, they are disappointing, unlikely to motivate a sale, and may tend to reduce trust with customers.

On the other hand, personalized discounts are a great way to provide a great customer experience at the same time as you drive a sale. If a customer has previously viewed a product but didn’t make a purchase, personalized discounts on those products can prompt a future purchase.

Use a cause-related marketing campaign.

Pairing with a worthy charitable cause is a creative and effective way to give your customers a great experience. Customers who care about a movement that you stand for may place more value on a product. Service companies also stand to value from cause marketing, since it may make customers more trusting of your service.

You can utilize a donation app, match donations to improve morale, and integrate cause-related language throughout your customer service language.

Free giveaways.

Using a free giveaway makes your customers feel valued and rewards them just for being your customers. It can also be an affordable way to advertise new products or push products that aren’t selling as well. 

Make sure that you use language that emphasizes your customer’s value to you. Such language can build loyalty in your customers, along with giving them a great experience.

Changing products or services.

One of the best ways to provide an excellent client experience is to listen to what your customers want. Solving problems that customers bring up about your products doesn’t just satisfy their dilemma. It encourages them to believe that you are listening and care about them. 

Focus on the most frequent complaints that your sales and customer service teams are confronted with. Pick out those that would be easiest to address with product changes. You want changes that can create a big impact on customers at minimal cost.

Upsell.

Suggesting related products or an updated product doesn’t just make it more likely that a customer will spend more or buy again. It also shows that you are paying attention to customer needs and offering them relevant advertising. Millennials may be especially likely to respond to this kind of targeted marketing.

Create an emotional connection.

An emotional connection may not be as easy to integrate a strategy as some other customer experience examples, but it’s powerful. When customers feel a personal connection with your company, they’ll be more likely to be loyal. They may also be less likely to abandon your company because of increased costs or mishaps. 

Emotional connections can be forged through cause marketing and strong values, but it also is developed in creative ways. Send a small gift or card on a customer’s birthday or other holidays. Give flowers for a loss. Do whatever feels right to show that you care. These are all fantastic ways to forge emotional connections with your customers. 

Building an emotional connection is an integral part of the customer experience. Integrating an emotional reaction into user experience can help to build loyalty and accelerate growth in your customers, as it has for other companies:

  • When a credit card designed to inspire emotional connections was released and targeted at millennials, that age group increased their use by 70%, producing 40% more accounts. 
  • A household cleaner grew after launching an emotional marketing campaign. 
  • A nationwide apparel retailer tailored products and experience to emotionally connected customers and accelerated growth threefold (HBR 2015)

It may be a little more challenging to integrate these opportunities into your culture. Be sure to remind employees often to look for chances to build emotional connections and reward instances when they do so well.

As an ecommerce brand, you’ll need to embrace a holistic customer experience strategy to maximize customer lifetime value.