No customer experience happens on its own. Be it a glowing Facebook review, verbal recommendation, or complaint on Twitter, companies’ reputations can become defined by customer feedback. Today, technology has all but guaranteed that customer experience – whether satisfactory or not – is shared in very public arenas. In fact, this phenomena has had such a huge effect on business priorities that it is estimated that in 2020, customer experience will be the most important differentiator between brands, even beyond price and product.
Further, digital customer experience – as all-encompassing as it is – definably is the most important part of a company’s marketing strategy. In order to separate themselves from competitors, organizations have turned to a number of possible solutions: improved business process, product innovation, and multi-channel advertising. Yet, we return to customer experience as the main differentiator in both attracting new customers while retaining existing ones. Brick-and-mortar sales environments have been expanded into the digital world through personalized mobile computing and ecommerce options. As a result, customer experience is just as relevant – if not more – than ever before.
According to Salesforce, customer experience covers every interaction across multiple touchpoints that a prospective or existing client may have with a business. This include where the interaction takes place, the cost (as well as any discounts or promotions), the service or item being purchased, any additional purchases, and the customer-facing representatives who facilitate the purchase. In today’s digital world, leads typically connect with businesses over digital channels like desktop computing, mobile smart devices, and social media. Businesses then are tasked with optimizing these interactions to gain a huge advantage over those that do not.
After all, it is but a minimum requirement these days to create a satisfactory digital customer experience. While 58 percent of consumers agree that technology has dramatically changed their expectations of interactions with companies, newer generations like millennials are three times more likely than baby boomers to agree that they “run their life from their mobile devices.”
There are a number of obstacles that businesses face when trying to provide a satisfactory customer experience. Today – especially amid COVID-19 – digital consumers expect near-instant gratification. If customers suspect there will be delays in delivery, they may choose another business to satisfy their needs. Salesforce reports that approximately 5% of organizations have had users leave their website after as little as a one-second delay. The longer the delays, the higher percentage of clients who begin to look elsewhere.
Further, businesses have to compete with the fact that online customers can choose from a much wider pool of sellers, often navigating multiple sites simultaneously. Research suggest that 70 percent of customers agree that technology easily lets them take their business elsewhere, which makes them tolerate inconvenient or unmet expectations less.
Digital customers also take advantage of a variety of communication channels to fulfill their needs, including email, texting, live-chat options, and overwhelmingly, social media feeds. This behavior results in customers who expect representatives to be completely up-to-date on details like purchase history, personal preferences, and concerns so that customers don’t need to re-explain the situation at each touchpoint. Salesforce found that 68 percent of consumers report that they find it important for customer service agents to be familiar with their service industry. In addition to this statistic, 73 percent say they are likely to switch brands is a company cannot provide consistent levels of service across channels. And even when customers do business online, they still expect a personalized, one-on-one customer journey that is typically associated with in-store purchasing. 66 percent of consumers say they are likely to switch brands if they are treated like a number rather than an individual.
In order to provide a consistently satisfying digital customer experience, companies need to start looking into customer relationship management (CRM) platforms, among other tips and tools.
Here are five steps from Salesforce that allow you to improve the often-difficult-to-measure metric of customer experience:
Do you know who exactly your target audience is? Are you aware of what they need and what you can provide for them specifically? When it comes to customer experience management, these are all important questions to ask and answer. After all, you can’t give your customers what they want if you don’t know what that is. Every customer representative in your organization, from marketing to customer service to sales, should know what your customer base looks like and what their wants and needs are. With that in mind, it’s also crucial to consistently re-evaluate your customer, looking into how their needs change and develop over time. By helping your customers feel uniquely understood, you will set yourself apart from your competitors. Get to know your customers by providing efficient solutions for their specific concerns. Further, treat them like individuals rather than numbers. What’s one of the best ways to know what clients want? Ask them through polls and study their habits by scanning reviews and social channels. Look into what works, what doesn’t and what customers want more of.
Once you know who your customers are, you need to comprehend how they act. A huge part of understanding your customers is also understanding how to reach them – on what platforms they are most likely to be responsive to special offers and other forms of communication. Is your demographic more likely to be found on Twitter or Facebook? Do they like to be helped over social channels or live chat, over the phone, or would they rather find their own solutions through FAQ pages and customer portals? According to Salesforce, 63 percent of adults use mobile devices at least several times per month to seek customer support, which makes a mobile support option an essential offering for customer experience management. With tools like CRM platforms and predictive analytics, you can discover exactly where and when to reach specific demographics.
The retail landscape is now spread across brick-and-mortar stores, the internet, email, apps, and social media. Though customers may only interact with one or two of these channels, they are more likely to base their whole opinion of your brand on how satisfactory these limited interactions were. To make sure your customer enjoys the same experience each time, establish a unified brand persona across every channel. This approach will create an experience you can be proud of. A good way to make sure everyone in the company is both familiar with the company voice but also fully comfortable being an everyday spokesperson for the brand (in person and on company platforms) is through training and regular coaching for customer service, marketing, and sales reps. When using a comprehensive CRM, it should provide effective support options and built-in training programs to help you achieve your objectives.
Customer experience management is increasingly becoming about creating a complete, unified customer journey. Since there are so many ways a customer can interact with a company, when they move between channels, they expect a seamless experience along their journey. Your job is to ensure that there is cohesiveness and communication across channels and departments so you don’t lose any customer at any stage in the marketing funnel. Here, you can use technology to make sure that these personalized journeys are occurring. CRM platforms let you view past interactions and service or purchase history, keep communication consistent, send out targeted ads and offers, and provide cross-channel services like click-and-collect.
One of the most important tips we can offer is to utilize the newest technology to manage customer experience. There are many CRM platforms to choose from and the fact of the matter is, full customer experience management is now nearly impossible without one. Yet, merely using some form of technology isn’t going to be enough. According to a Salesforce blog, 90% of customers have had poor experiences seeking customer support on mobile. Clearly, companies have a lot of work to do in order to improve their customer experience across every platform rather than stopping at the traditional ones. To find the best CRM tool, proper research is crucial. Ensure you find a cloud-based platform that provides apps for customer service management, sales, and marketing. Look for features or add-ons like application development, predictive analytics, and case management. That’s not all to research though – make sure the platform is easily scalable, cost-effective, fully integrated, easy-to-use and learn, and has an intuitive user interface for first-timers.
Feeling overwhelmed by all of the options available to you to enhance your customer experience? Salesforce has you covered in the following nine ways:
Give your agents productivity tools like ready-to-use templates, macros, and keyboard shortcuts, along with a 360-degree view of every customer.
Combine streamlined process to resolve cases. Salesforce provides a complete customer service solution with easy access to the full details, context, and history of every case and customer interaction.
Using recommended articles and optimized article search, drive quick case resolution and maximize agent productivity.
With drag-and-drop simplicity through Lightning Flow, customize and automate any service or approval process.
Automatically match cases to the agent with the best skill set to solve them, delivering smarter service in the process.
Use prebuilt dashboards and apps, as well as AI-powered insights and predictions, to make your team and business smarter.
Log notes instantly when customers call and integrate with the most popular CTI systems. You can also manage calls from within the console without picking up the phone.
Automate common, repetitive, multistep tasks and resolve customer issues more effectively, freeing up support agents in the process.
Track customers’ support history, assets, orders, and more, in one place for a complete overview of their activity.
Salesforce is the world's leading CRM platform, helping businesses of all sizes drive revenue growth by connecting to their customers across all lines of business including marketing, sales, and service.
With our knowledge and expertise of Salesforce’s extensive ecosystem of partners, applications, and solutions, Stefanini is here to help you leverage its capabilities. Our TotalCare for Salesforce service fills a gap by providing the expertise to fully leverage Salesforce across marketing, sales, service, and custom apps. It enables companies to truly deliver a connected customer experience.
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