The digital market has always been a crowded place, and when businesses had to move online to survive, the competition is more cutthroat than ever before.
Have you ever wondered what sets a business apart from its competitors? The truth is, it’s not the products you offer or the level of service you deliver—not even your pricing, no matter how competitive they may be. It’s the overall customer experience you deliver.
In this Guide:
- What is Customer Experience?
- User Experience vs. Customer Service vs. Customer Experience
- The Benefits of a Good Local Customer Experience
- How to Improve Customer Experience
- 7 Actionable Steps to Improve CX in Every Stage of A Buyer’s Journey
What is Customer Experience?
Customers engage with your business at many stages of their buying journey. It starts from awareness when they first hear about your brand (whether through SEO marketing or through social media), to research, making a purchase, and when they contact support. Overall, these interactions shape their perception of your brand and make up their customer experience.
User Experience vs. Customer Service vs. Customer Experience
Now, customer experience is often confused with terms like user experience and customer service, but they are all different functions of digital marketing.
User Experience refers to the experience users get from engaging with a business, particularly from interacting with its website, products, or services. It can be measured by a variety of metrics like conversion rate, retention rate, and overall satisfaction.
Customer Service, on the other hand, is the support you provide your customers throughout their buying journey, both before and after a sale. Good customer service builds trust and loyalty. It creates an enjoyable experience, which can result in repeat business and referrals.
Customer Experience is, in a way, more comprehensive than the two. It accounts for every interaction customers have had with your business, influencing their impression of your brand and how they talk about you within their network.
The Benefits of a Good Local Customer Experience
Today’s digital marketers are increasingly realizing the power of customer experience. A 2019 study found that 86% of the respondents are either engaged in or expect to compete based on CX. By 2023, 25% of businesses are assumed to integrate customer-oriented functions such as marketing, sales, and CX to better nurture customers throughout their journey.
• A great customer experience creates lasting impressions that lead to more repeat business, word-of-mouth marketing, and higher revenue. Hence, 76% of company executives are prioritizing improving CX.
• A customer is 5x more likely to recommend a business and more likely to purchase again in the future after a good customer experience.
Overall, providing a consistently great customer experience can lead to revenue growth, an increase in customer loyalty, lower operational costs, and long-term growth. It converts customers into brand advocates, thus widening your reach through word of mouth. Take a look at these statistics:
But, whereas a positive customer experience leads to improved customer retention, a bad review can be as equally powerful in convincing consumers to avoid a business completely.
• Consumers consider good CX as a top priority when making a purchase. In a survey, 74% of the respondents are more likely to buy based on experiences alone.
• 86% of consumers say they would take their business elsewhere after as few as two bad experiences with a brand.
How to Improve Customer Experience
In a world of endless consumer options, how well you deliver and personalize customer experiences will determine your success in 2022. The good news? Building a positive CX starts close to home. It begins when a user conducts a search for your products/services and becomes aware of your business. It then continues through the rest of the phases of a customer journey. To help you break through in CX, we have highlighted the key stages to prioritize in the customer lifecycle.
7 Actionable Steps to Improve CX in Every Stage of A Buyer’s Journey
The buyer journey starts when a potential consumer becomes aware of a problem and finds a solution. Often, that means conducting a Google search to discover products/services. When they do, you would want the user to find you and make it easy for them to do so. Optimizing your web pages for SEO will help you achieve this by pushing them up the search results. A business listing can also make it easy for users to discover your local business and find more information such as business hours, address, and contact number.
How to Improve CX in Awareness Stage
Step 1: Optimize for local search. Because a user journey often begins with a search, you would want your business to appear where they are searching. To start, make sure to claim your Google My Business Page to increase your visibility across Google services.
Step 2: Update your business information. A user who is unfamiliar with your brand has better chances of stumbling upon it through your business listing. As such, make sure that it contains correct and up-to-date information such as business hours, address, contact number, and website.
In this stage, your potential customer will likely weigh their options by reviewing products and services from other brands. They may also read online reviews to help them arrive at a decision. During this stage, you should be looking at how you can convince them that your products/services are the most viable solution to their problem. You should provide guiding information—whether that be product reviews from previous customers, blogs, or social media content—that will eventually lead them to you as they navigate an endless stream of options.
How to Improve CX in Consideration Stage
Step 3: Get reviews. With more than 90% of consumers reading product reviews before a purchase, displaying reviews on your site can strengthen your credibility. It can help you gain consumer trust which ultimately leads to conversion.
Step 4. Respond to reviews. More than the number of stars and reviews, customers may also look at whether or not you respond to them. By doing so, not only you can show that you value customer feedback but also improve customer retention rates by fostering loyalty and keeping communication channels open.
Step 5. Build content. Providing a user with as much information as possible during the consideration stage can help them progress further into their buyer’s journey. For this reason, you should create content that will position your products/services as a viable solution. This can be in the form of blogs, videos, or other content types.
Related Reading: Why Blog? The Role of Blogging in Content Marketing
This is the stage where conversion happens, at which a potential customer makes a decision based on their research. Of course, your goal is to help them arrive at a positive decision and finally convert them into a paying client.
Ease of purchase is the minimum requirement in the decision phase. This entails secure payment options, seamless site navigation, fast delivery times, and accessible customer support.
Step 6. Provide accessible customer support. The ways customers prefer to reach out to you can significantly vary. And as a business, your goal is to respond to them at any time and on their preferred channels. Tools like chatbots, live chat, social media, and contact forms are some of the ways to keep an open communication line. Some customers would also appreciate a self-help center where they can resolve their issues themselves.
Step 7: Create a seamless purchase experience. Whether you want a potential customer to book an appointment, request a quote, make a reservation, purchase on your website, or drive to your physical location, you want their journey to be as seamless as possible.
Keeping your checkout process short and simple, and reducing the steps to make a purchase are some of the ways to reduce friction and deliver a seamless conversion experience.
These are the key stages of a buyer’s journey. But, remember, the best CX does not stop at the decision phase. Customers expect after-sales service to resolve any issues that may arise. Providing this capability will ensure that you continue delivering experiences that will foster loyalty, drive satisfaction, and guarantee long-term growth.