Commentary

How To Optimize Your Brand's Customer Experience

Customer experience, or CX, can make or break a relationship with existing and potential customers. Requesting performance feedback from your customers on a transactional basis (after they make a purchase, have a service experience, engage with a customer support line, etc.) is critical to identify gaps between expectation and experience in the moment.

Gaps should be addressed directly with your customers using a closed loop process in which your customer support team proactively identifies negative experiences and reaches out directly to dissatisfied customers. Closing the loop shows your customers that you listened, care, and want to improve.

Transactional feedback must also be complemented with an overall relationship assessment. Depending on the product or service offering your brand provides, customers may interact with your brand as frequently as daily or as infrequently as once or twice a year or less.

The greater the frequency of connection, the better the chance that a poor experience can be forgiven, and the associated negative emotions it conjured can be overwritten by a subsequent positive experience. For those brands that have less frequent interaction with their customers, a poor experience can be the catalyst for your customer’s departure to a competitive brand at their next purchase.

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To minimize customer attrition, brands should proactively assess their overall relationship strength among current customers. Stagger assessments throughout the year if not collected continually. This cadence eliminates potential environmental factors that could mislead corrective action planning efforts.

And to develop a more comprehensive view, it helps to ask lapsed customers if the brand is living up to its promise and expectations, and even survey customers of competitors.

Understanding customer attrition, competitive pull and what attracts potential customers to your brand versus a competitor's will help to sharpen your organization’s focus and positively impact business outcomes. Specifically, knowing how customers perceive and experience each touchpoint along their path to purchase as well as their full post-purchase journey will help your organization maximize retention, cultivate strong relationships, acquire new customers and possibly convince lapsed customers to return.

Competitive intelligence-gathering must go beyond traditional investigation of product features and price points. Organizations that appreciate CX as a differentiator in highly competitive and commoditized landscapes will be best prepared to capture and maintain share.

Reaching out to obtain comparative performance on key drivers and brand reputation allows your organization to answer three key questions:
    -- How does our CX compare to top competitors'?
    -- What are our unique strengths and areas of CX differentiation?
    -- Which aspects of CX are at or below parity with our top competitors?

Knowing the answer to each question provides greater clarity and direction for where to invest resources to achieve the greatest improvements in CX and market position.

When you address shortcomings head-on to effect improvement in CX and overall perception, make sure this fact is shared with your existing and potential customers.

2 comments about "How To Optimize Your Brand's Customer Experience".
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  1. Jonathan May from HorseTV Global, November 19, 2020 at 3:06 p.m.

    Here's what takes the "luster" off a brand for me.  When I'm a customer or interested in being a customer, how my inquiries are treated tells me a LOT about a brand.  When you get shunted into an automated voice response system that doesn't understand simple answers in English and refers you to their website, with no hope of talking to a warm, live human being, that tells me a lot.  When your call is answered by someone in the Philippines who doesn't speak English as a first language, and when you ask for a Supervisor who does speak English, all you get is another "Supervisor" who is native to Malaysia- THAT's tells me a lot.  It's more important to save a dime and you don't care how you do it, than to give the customer or potential customer a decent, pleasant experience.  Are you listening DirecTV, Verizon, SiriusXM Radio, Avis/Budget, Synchrony Bank, GoDaddy?  And shame on GoDaddy, they "market" the fact that their support is USA based, but call on Domain Names or other categories, and you'll be in the Philippines in a heartbeat.  When brands invest in foreign countries to save a dime, and not in the USA or the "customer experience" that honestly tells me all I need to know about how they perceive the value of their customer base, or potential customers.  Actually, I am totally surprised when I get a representative who speaks English as a first language.  It's gotten THAT bad.  Most "brands" these days are stained with this issue.

  2. Nicole Garberg from ENGINE Insights replied, November 20, 2020 at 1:15 p.m.

    Jonathan, I agree that the customer service or support a brand provides leaves an overall impression on customers. The struggle we see brands encounter most often is finding an acceptable balance between providing the right information in a way that serves their customers and fits within organizational budgets. As we continue to see a shift in consumer desire toward self-serve or automated customer service, it is important for organizations to realize that not everyone wants to interact with a chat bot, IVR system or search a website for the brand’s FAQ page. Having a live representative available to answer queries is not always the easiest financial solution but does express a level of customer value that differentiates those brands that are willing and able to provide this level of support. At ENGINE, we help organizations identify pain-points, like those you raise, to improve customer and potential customer experience as well as perceived brand reputation and value. Identifying customer pain-points is always the critical first step on the path to a solution that benefits the customer and the brand.

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