Experience. It’s one of the most important things in life. The truth is that when it comes to spending money, experience defines just about everything. Planning a holiday, investing in a retirement plan, or simply going for a bite to eat at a local restaurant – customer experience (CX) is what defines our impression of the business, and most importantly, our satisfaction, loyalty, and referrals.
CX is the holistic view the customer has of the business and is made up of many parts: a friendly face, a clean and comfortable commercial space, efficient technology, and the list goes on. Today, however, with the Covid-19 pandemic still disrupting every sphere of society, CX is informed by a whole new set of criteria, which could mean a make or break in business.
CX is made up of a series of factors that speak to a company’s product offerings and services, as well as its overall strategic objectives. This includes every aspect in the customer’s journey to spending money, and importantly, it’s what the customer can come to expect and rely on. CX, however, shouldn’t be confused with customer service. Customer service is only one part of the customer’s overall experience with a company. Some important factors, among others, that contribute to CX are:
- Branding, as well as appealing and reliable website and social media platforms.
- Different channels through which to communicate, including live-chats and telephone.
- Clean, presentable facilities in the case of brick-and-mortar establishments.
- Any additional services, deals, or reward programmes, as well as return policies or guarantees.
Why is CX important for business?
As we’ve mentioned before, a favourable CX inspires a set of positive emotions and feelings in a customer. In a world where businesses are cancelled in a matter of days on social media, satisfaction, loyalty and referrals are the most important assets to have. This means approaching CX with a plan of action, and doing so with consistency
What does CX look like today?
Since the pandemic started, customers haven’t experienced businesses in the way they used to. For one, foot traffic in brick-and-mortar establishments decreased significantly (causing some industries to come close to the brink of complete collapse). With more consumers migrating online than ever before, there are a few important things to remember about the customer in a post-Covid-19 world:
- Omnipresent channels are growing:This means that customers should not only be able to access several channels of communication but should also be able to use smart technology on the platforms to book appointments, ask important questions, and more.
- Every device must be catered for:Whether the customer has an Apple or Android, computer or tablet, they need to be able to access the business or a representative. This means packaging content and all functionality to suit every device. It’s also important to remain mindful of data costs, and how this could affect the customer’s attitude towards the business.
- CX helps reduce customer anxiety: Times are uncertain, and money is tight for everything. So when a customer knows they are able to rely on a business to deliver quality services with support at every stage, it can help keep anxiety at bay.
- Digital platforms are everything:Investing in a reliable website with functional tools is of paramount importance. Some statistics show that more than half of consumers won’t spend money with a business if they struggle to use the website.
- There are no more divisions:More and more customers view the business as a whole, not as pieces or departments. Thus, having a bad experience with one service, person or department destroys the entire CX.
- Everyone and everything is a competitor:With the rise of social media and subsequently, the ability to trade and sell on these platforms, has resulted in customers comparing all their digital purchasing experiences with one another. Thus, today financial services providers are now being compared with Amazon, Superbalist, and Instagram stores.
- Honesty is the best policy:And transparency. And responsibility for that matter! Consumers are more informed than ever before, and with many different options available to them with just a quick Google search, it’s important to be upfront, honest and transparent in your offerings. In fact, this is now considered by many experts as essential for doing business in the modern era, to help build trust and banish suspicion and anxiety in the customer.