Meaningful customer experiences are more important than ever. With fewer interactions happening in person, businesses need to work even harder to keep their customers at the heart of their business. Being laser-focused on customer centricity will help your business to stand out from, or beat, the competition while building a loyal and engaged customer base.
Don’t lose the human factor in your business. Just because fewer customer interactions are happening in person due to the digital transformation of day-to-day business operations or the global pandemic, it doesn’t mean that impactful customer experiences are out of reach.
Great customer experience requires a personal and emotional connection with your company. Don’t let technology and automation stand in the way of personalized interaction and experience. Be aware of the over-rotation toward automation. In doing so, it may remove the human element of customer experience, which might further distance customers from your business. Automation is critically important, but it should not replace human engagement. It should be used to get the right feedback to the correct human endpoint, who can then deliver a personalized and positive customer experience.
CX Strategies That Maintain the Human Connection
In 2021, businesses will need to shift their customer experience strategy and maintain the human, personal connection. We predict that these strategies will be key to success in customer experience.
Customer-facing employees will be empowered to make a difference and impact CX
Executives need to empower the people who interact with customers on a daily basis to make a difference—your customer-facing employees. These personalized experiences make all the difference. Can you think of a time when you spoke with a customer service representative on the phone and they surprised and delighted you? They probably listened to your concerns, made you feel heard, and took action. Those representatives were empowered to do what it took to turn around the customer’s experience, and they represent your company and brand promise. In fact, HubSpot found that 83% of companies that believe it’s important to make customers happy also experience growing revenue.
Voice of the Customer programs will be brought down to the center level
Your customer’s experience begins as soon as they pick up the phone to contact you. From that initial moment when your customer speaks with a representative, their experience should be immediately personal, empathetic and easy. And when that customer hangs up the phone, they should come away having felt heard and valued, and with a positive connection to your company.
Adapt your voice of the customer (VoC) strategy so that it merges with your contact center strategy. Start by bringing in VoC owners into regular training, and then build it into existing continuous improvement programs so it’s truly part of the day-to-day framework and process. Consider merging incentivized performances with customer experience. After empowering your frontline employees, reward those that truly make a positive impact on customer experience.
Employee experience will become as critical as CX
Employee experience influences the service and attention they provide to customers. Without offices to work in, it will be easy for employees to feel disconnected from their own company and teams. When they’re disconnected, it may be hard for them to keep the commitment level required to provide the personal touch customers expect and require. Keeping connected to employees, and keeping them connected to the business, will be key to successful customer experience programs and to building business success. According to Gallup, companies with engaged employees outperform the competition by 147%.
Building customer loyalty will become a target outcome of CX programs
Many businesses have a customer experience goal of increasing retention and decreasing churn. Retention is an important financial metric. However, retention doesn’t include the personal, human connection between customers and a company. Loyalty goes beyond spending money, it’s emotional and personal.
While not the same, loyalty and retention are closely connected. Loyalty is what drives repeat purchases, and what motivates a customer to stay with your company rather than switching to a competitor.
If you focus on loyalty with customers, growth and retention will follow. A Deloitte report shared that customers who enjoy positive experiences are likely to remain customers five years longer than customers who had negative experiences.
Personalized Experiences Drives Customer Loyalty
With customers expecting interactions to be more personalized, businesses should shift their customer experience strategy to focus on these key strategies for success.
Stay connected to your employees, and keep your employees connected to your business. Happy and engaged employees are more motivated to support customers. Empower customer-facing employees to impact customer experience, so it’s not siloed at just the executive or department levels. It’s those positive and personal customer experiences between customers and customer-facing employees that will keep customers returning and turning into loyal, longer-term customers.