Did you know—finding new customers can cost you up to seven times what you’d spend to keep an existing one? That’s why customer retention is so vital to running a successful, cost-effective business.
But how do you convert a new customer into a loyal one?
The most obvious answer—provide great products or services at a price point consumers find attractive. Added to which, you should offer outstanding customer service. But one prominent school of thought is to go beyond these things and aim to delight your customers. With that in mind, let’s talk about the “customer experience.”
Customer experience is vital for every business
Customer experience (CX) can be defined as “the sum of all interactions a customer has with a company.” It’s what they encounter and how they feel during their customer journey. Ideally, your customers should have a delightful experience that excites them throughout every touchpoint with your business—and leaves them eager to come back for more.
Sound like a lot of work? It can be. But remember, it costs less to keep customers than to find new ones. So, take the customer experience concept seriously because, in today’s competitive marketplaces, consumers are bombarded with choices. Unless they absolutely love your product/service, they’re apt to jump ship any second. Your CX must establish a connection, build on that relationship, and inspire brand loyalty.
Yes, that’s hard to do these days because, on top of choices, customers can either shop in-person or online with a tap of their finger. In such an environment, companies have to go above and beyond to attract and engage consumers and convert them into repeat customers.
Customer experience vs. customer service
The rules of customer service (CS) are fairly objective, whereas the customer experience is more subjective. That’s why we call CX an art!
Outstanding CS is a valuable, yet small part of the overall CX. Indeed, depending on the business you’re in, customer service may matter little in the grand scheme of things. Think about what type of CS your customers need. If you run a restaurant, for instance, your CS is mainly wrapped into the role of customer-facing wait staff. Thus, your CS could boil down to a single person taking a food order and delivering the meal with a courteous smile.
However, the customer experience extends to everything from your branding to the tidiness of your parking lot, your building interior and exterior, tables, chairs, lighting, music, menu selections, wait staff attire, and so on. CX relies on the creative and professional input of more than just one person. In fact, larger brands have entire teams devoted to it!
The benefits of exceptional experiences
CX involves your brand expressing itself, injecting its unique personality, and relating its values. This should inspire (and delight!) consumers and forge a path for genuine brand attachment.
Brand attachment = brand loyalty. And as we already touched on, brand loyalty means repeat business, which will be your bread and butter.
Are there any other benefits of providing exceptional CX? You bet! Consider word of mouth. The biggest brands in the world all started small. They grew because they first became popular among a particular group of consumers. Those consumers, in turn, told others, and word spread organically. And guess what? Companies still grow that way today!
In fact, because of the ubiquitous use of online customer reviews, anyone on Earth can share their opinion about a product, service, or CX with millions of other shoppers instantly. That said, keep in mind that dissatisfied customers are more likely to leave reviews than merely satisfied ones. Alas, that’s one of the biggest consequences of a poor CX.
But online reviews are also one of the biggest potential benefits—because if your CX delights customers, they’ll turn into volunteer brand ambassadors. They’ll sing your praises from the rooftops and passionately spread the word of your awesomeness to friends, family, and strangers alike.
How to improve your CX today
Long-term, you’ll want to develop a comprehensive CX strategy. But for now, you can start improving your CX through a few simple steps. Let’s start with branding and marketing.
Know your brand.
If you don’t know what your company stands for and cares about, how can you convince others to care about it? And if you don’t know where your company is going, how can it possibly get there?
We suggest giving your current mission and vision statement a thoughtful review. Make updates or improvements if needed. If you need help or don’t have these statements yet, consult a freelance marketing guru. Your brand’s mission and vision should inform the rest of your CX strategy.
Know your customer avatar.
Have you ever sat down and mapped out who your ideal customer is? If not, grab something to write with and jot down the core attributes that you imagine your customer avatar possesses. Think about the problems (i.e., pain points) they have, which your business is trying to solve for them.
The better you understand who you’re marketing to, the more effective your ad campaigns will be. By the same token, if your branding doesn’t speak to your potential customers, consider doing a brand makeover! Branding and marketing are major elements of a successful CX game plan.
Get help from the pros!
Nothing is more wasteful than trying to reinvent the wheel. If your business needs to bring on extra help to jump-start your CX, consider outsourcing the work to a team of experienced professionals—like Ruby!
We serve small businesses in virtually every industry, delivering exceptional customer experiences via:
Our virtual teams are trained and ready to provide your business with expert support 24/7, 365 days a year. And instead of hiring a full-time worker, with Ruby, you only pay for what you need!
Bottom line: We’re not ones to overstate things…but when it comes to your business surviving, getting CX right can make or break you. If you don’t do it, your competition will. They’ll thrive while you run the risk of joining the ranks of the 65% of businesses that fail.
So put Ruby to work! We’re at your disposal, ready to deliver one-of-a-kind customer experiences that turn first impressions into lasting loyalty!