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Customer Experience: What It Is, Why It Matters, and How You Can Make It Work for You

You'll never forget that time you had internet problems and called customer service, only to be put on hold for 30 minutes. The representative didn't know how to solve the problem, transferred you to another department, and then you were put on hold again.

You'll also never forget the first time you entered your local coffee shop. The owner went out of their way to make you feel welcome, the service was fast, and your order was done to perfection. You became a regular, they now know you by name and your order preferences by heart.

The difference between those two interactions? Customer experience.

What is customer experience?

Customer experience (CX) is all about perception. It's the impression customers have of your business and it's shaped by all the interactions they have with your company. This includes:

  • Seeing your ads

  • Browsing through your website

  • How long it takes for you to reply

  • The way you talk on the phone

  • Your business documents

  • How easy it is to make a payment

And that's just to name a few. While customer service implies direct interaction with your customers, it's not the only thing that impacts customer experience. The truth is, all customer-facing aspects of your business have the potential of making or breaking your reputation.

Why customer experience matters

Customer experience matters because any interaction you have with a customer impacts how they feel about your business. And how customers feel about your brand has a direct impact on brand loyalty, customer lifetime value, and retention. Ultimately, a positive customer experience keeps your business going, while the opposite, well, doesn't.

Creating great experiences all along the customer journey is no longer optional. Customer expectations are high, and they're only getting higher. More than half of your customers will switch to a competitor after only one bad experience, and 72% expect immediate service.

Today's customers have access to more options than ever. With social media and online reviews, they also have a platform to share their experiences with the world. Simply selling a product or service is no longer enough. To stay competitive, you need to provide great customer experiences.

What customers have to say about customer experience

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will switch to a competitor after one negative impression

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will choose one brand over another based on the service they expect to receive

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expect to resolve issues with the first customer service rep they speak to

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will switch to a competitor after multiple bad experiences

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expect immediate customer service

What's your customer experience like now?

Improving your customer experience starts with assessing where you're at right now. Bad news is, there isn't one simple metric that can tell you that.

Since every single interaction impacts customer experience, measuring it requires a bit more work than putting numbers into a tool. Here's what you can do to see the current state of your customer experience.

1. Send customer satisfaction surveys

There's no better way to find out what customers are experiencing than asking them. Customer satisfactions surveys allow you to measure your net promoter score (NPS), which tells you how likely the customers are to recommend you to other people.

Since your overall customer experience depends on different touch points, you'll get the most accurate data by measuring NPS across different customer interactions first. These could be:

  • Rating the customer service team, to measure satisfaction with the support provided and identify areas for improvement

  • Post-purchase surveys, to get feedback on the purchasing experience, product quality, and delivery process

  • After a customer has completed the onboarding process, to measure its effectiveness and simplicity

  • After subscription or contract renewal, to assess satisfaction with the renewal process and ongoing service and help identify any potential issues before they lead to churn

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  • After attending an event (webinar, workshop, etc.), to analyze its value, organization, and content

  • Following feature releases or updates, to measure reactions to change and see whether the new features meet customer needs

  • At the end of a free trial, to get feedback on the trial experience and identify barriers to conversion from trial to paid customer

  • Check-ins with regular customers at regular intervals, to gather ongoing feedback and track changes in customer sentiment over time

  • After complaint resolution, to measure the customer’s satisfaction with the resolution process and ensure that issues are being addressed effectively

By strategically placing NPS surveys at various touch points, you can gather feedback throughout the entire customer journey. As a result, you can identify less-than-perfect customer experiences and work on improving customer loyalty.

2. Analyze measurable data

Looking at the data you already have helps you identify both good and bad patterns that affect your whole customer experience strategy. Your customer lifetime value (CLV) helps you understand the total revenue coming in from a single customer. Increasing it means more profitability, and you can do it through personalized marketing, loyalty programs, and great customer service.

Another thing to look out for are your support ticket reopen rates. High reopen rates tell you that there are ongoing, unresolved customer issues. This might mean that your customer support team needs more training, that your resolution process is inefficient, or that your product documentation could use more work.

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Speaking of customer issues, time-to-resolution is also an important factor. The less time it takes to resolve customer issues, the higher the customer satisfaction. By monitoring time-to-resolution, you can identify snags in your support process and improve it to handle issues more efficiently.

3. Learn from churn

Customer churn is a part of business. And while you can't expect to keep it at zero, you also don't want to lose more customers than you have coming in.

Analyze your churn rate regularly to see why your customers are leaving and whether there are seasonal changes. That way, you can start figuring out what to do to prevent your churn rate from going up in the future.

4. Talk to your staff

Your customer-facing staff interacts with customers on a daily basis, so it's only logical to use their knowledge to your advantage. They can offer insights into customer behavior, pain points, and preferences that might not be obvious from the data alone.

For example, your customer support team could notice growing requests for a product feature, which can then inform future product development. If there are multiple customers reporting the same bug in your software, the development team can be reached quickly for a fix. If customers often reach out to support about your billing process, you can get to work to simplify it immediately.

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Your employees are an invaluable resource in giving context to customer data, painting a complete picture of the customer journey and experience. Based on their feedback, you can create actionable plans and prioritize issues that have a significant impact on CX.

5. Take a look at your support tickets

Besides reopen rates and time-to-resolution, your support tickets also tell you which issues come up the most. If the same questions pop up time and again, it's time to find out why.

Understanding the root cause of recurring issues can lead to significant improvements in customer experience and operational efficiency. Start by categorizing support tickets to identify the most frequent issues. For example, if a lot of customers have account setup issues, your onboarding process might be too complex.

Similarly, frequent complaints about load times indicate it's time for a technical audit. And if customers are often confused by specific features, your customer-facing documentation needs some work. Create FAQs, knowledge bases, and tutorials and make sure they're easy to find and understand.

6. Give customers more power

59% of customers believe the data you have on them should be used to personalize their experience. And what better way of personalizing is there than letting your customers have a direct impact on your products or services?

At the end of the day, your business is here to solve your customers' problems. To do that more effectively, create a space where your customers can request products, services, or features that would make a difference in their day-to-day lives. Sure, you won't implement all the suggestions you get, but if something keeps popping up again and again, it's worth at least thinking about.

What goes into a superior customer experience

Creating a great customer experience goes beyond customer satisfaction with your products or services. Your customers also need to feel valued and understood. To make that happen, start by mapping out your customer journey and implementing CX improvements across the board.

1. Personalize, personalize, personalize

"Dear valued customer" does little to make you actually feel valued. If anything, it makes a customer feel like they're nothing more than a number to you. It also shows you don't feel at least using your customer's name is worth the hassle.

The fastest way to make a customer run into the hands of a competitor is to show them you don't really care about them. Seeing that 60% of people say they'll become repeat buyers after a personalized purchasing experience, not personalizing is basically shooting yourself in the foot.

Customers expect tailored interactions, so use the data you have to personalize communications and recommendations. If you're running an eCommerce site, send offers based on previous purchases or browsing history. If you're sending them a business proposal, include relatable testimonials or a case study based on their industry.

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2. Be consistent across all channels

Whether your customers interact with your brand online, in a store, through an app, or anywhere else, keeping it all consistent is the key to success. Brand recognition is part of customer experience, so make sure your fonts, colors, and design align in all your materials.

Otherwise, you risk looking sloppy to customers, which has long-term consequences on customer relationships and your brand image. Inconsistent branding can confuse customers and erode trust, making it harder for them to connect with and remember your brand.

3. Be user-friendly

Easy navigation and intuitive design minimize frustration, leading to a better customer experience. A user-friendly interface leaves a lasting positive impression and intuitive navigation makes it easier to complete transactions.

When customers can easily find what they're looking for, they're more likely to spend more time exploring. This increase in interaction leads to more potential conversions. In other words, the easier it is to buy from you, the higher your chances to make a sale.

Make sure your website is optimized for various screen sizes so all your customers have the same experience no matter the device they're using. When it comes to registration and checkout forms, remove all unnecessary fields and provide autofill options. Help users understand where they are and what comes next by indicating the steps involved in the process.

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4. Provide great customer service

Customer service is a huge part of forming your customer's experience with your brand. 72% of customers expect immediate service, meaning you should aim for speed and efficiency.

Besides helping you give customers this instant support, implementing live chat on your website and inside your documents solves another problem. Since live chat software usually lets you see previous conversations with the same customer, you eliminate the need for them to repeat themselves. According to customers, this is a crucial bonus, since 70% expect to resolve their issue with the first support rep they speak to.

5. Be reliable and provide value

Delivering consistent quality in your products or services builds trust with customers, making them more likely to return. Customers that consistently receive value are bound to share this positive customer experience with others, boosting your brand reputation.

To reassure new customers of your company' commitment to quality, consider offering a guarantee. For example, if you're offering web design services, you can guarantee extra services if the customer isn't happy with the end result.

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6. Be transparent

In business, change is inevitable. You might need to adjust your pricing, review your policies, or make other changes that affect the end customer. The trick to doing it without negatively affecting the overall customer experience?

Being honest and transparent. Otherwise, customers may feel tricked, deceived, or lied to. Any changes to service terms or pricing should be communicated clearly and openly.

Unintentionally creating a bad customer experience?

PDF and Word docs are a far cry from excellent customer experience. We live in a digital world, so it's time to switch to modern, online documents that let you shape your customer's journey.

With traditional docs, you lose all control after you've hit send on an email. With Better Proposals, you get notified on every action your client takes. What's more, you can see exactly which part they're stuck on and jump in to help via live chat as they're reading.

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Besides giving you a competitive advantage with documents that look and feel as great as a website, Better Proposals also gets you closer to the perfect customer experience. Our interactive pricing tables let you put clients in control. You can onboard customers and get feedback through forms built into your documents, integrate payments, collect signatures, and much more.

But don't take our word for it. Sign up to get your 14 days free and start exceeding your customers' expectations.

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Patricija Šobak's profile image
Patricija Šobak puts her talent in spotting questionable grammar and shady syntax to good use by writing about various business-related topics. Besides advocating the use of the Oxford comma, she also likes coffee, dogs, and video games. People find her ability to name classic rock songs only from the intro both shocking and impressive.