Customer Experience Strategy Best Practices

User Experience
Customer Experience Strategy

You may have a marketing strategy. You probably have a sales strategy. But do you have a customer experience strategy? While every company has a handful (or truckload full) of strategies they use to bring in customers, there is one overarching theme that should guide every endeavor within a company:

What kind of experience do you want your customers to have?

This is not a question to brush off with a flip response, like “A good one!” Because the answer to this question will become the compass for the rest of your business.

What is a customer experience strategy?

Your customer experience strategy is your game plan for crafting specific, targeted, and positive customer experiences in every interaction. It should be closely connected with your branding and marketing, intrinsically linked to customer success and customer service, and embedded in any plans for growth.

Not sure where to start, or want to check to make sure you’ve covered every angle of customer experience? Then check out our list of best practices for strategically building and growing your business with customer experience in mind.

Customer experience strategy best practices

  • Consider customer experience as an extension of your brand values.

You know your brand is more than a logo – it’s your expression of what you value as a company. Naturally, you value your customers, but do your customer interactions reflect your brand? Customer experience strategy begins with explicitly stating your values and weaving them into each contact made with prospects and customers, including ads, social media, content, emails, outreach calls and even pop-up ads (should you choose to employ them).

Customer experience strategy example:

Apple is perhaps the best example of brand values inhabiting every part of the business, including each consumer touch point. The Apple brand is about innovation and simplifying life through people-driven product design. Apple computers, tablets, and smartphones are designed for ease of use; and rather than having customer service provided by a faceless person three continents away – Apple customers can find their answers at the “Genius Bar.” All of this contributes to a unique, thoroughly brand-value-consistent, customer experience that turns consumers into die-hard fans.

  • Design your customer experience strategy around your customers.

Customer experience should reflect your values, but be designed with your target buyer personas in mind. If you haven’t already, you’ll need to define who your buyer personas are, what they do, what they value, and what they’re hoping to get from your product or service. Take the time to fully develop your buyer personas, one for each type of client you’d like to attract. Each profile should include basic demographic information (gender, age, income level, job title, geographic location) as well as less tangible insights into belief systems, purchasing behaviors, responsibilities, and most importantly, pain points. Once you know what your customers value, you can construct each experience to deliver it.

Customer experience strategy example:

One company that has done a great job of defining its buyer personas and using them as the foundation for customer experience is TinyLetter, a free newsletter service. Their buyer persona is clearly stated on their site: “TinyLetter is for people who don’t need all the business features that come along with MailChimp. Simplicity is at the heart of everything we do at TinyLetter.” Their customers are small business owners, journalists, editors, freelancers, non-profits – in other words, creative types seeking intimate and immediate communication with their fans and followers. TinyLetter’s social media interactions and supporting content are as unpretentious as their customers, and every piece of text from their homepage to their latest Tweet is consistently simple and genuine.

  • More important than happiness: Customer success.

It’s a common misconception that successful businesses make their customers happy. Here’s what successful businesses really do: They make their customers successful. Each customer has his or her own definition of success, which can easily be learned through the sales process. Then the customer success team can come in and stay on top of specific success markers for each client, ensuring that they’re getting what they hoped for out of the product or service. Customer success initiatives can also be found in content marketing strategies that give clients genuinely helpful, actionable information to help them do their jobs better, easier and faster. The result? Successful customers who are delighted by your company and can’t wait to talk about it to everyone they know.

Customer experience strategy example:

Cubeyou, a marketing research tool that uses social data to provide real-time customer profiling, is a relatively young company, but you wouldn’t know it by how much high-quality content they publish. They offer free downloadable eBooks and guides to help marketers learn how to build better buyer personas, pitch prospects more effectively and even build content strategies designed to increase conversions. You might think “yeah, everyone’s doing that,” but Cubeyou’s “No Fluff” policy means that each resource is 100% actionable, useful content designed to help customers be successful with – or without – their product.

  • Set measurable customer experience goals.

No strategy is complete without a method by which to measure how well it works. While there are many ways to measure the success of your customer experience strategy, your Net Promoter Score (a measure of customer happiness) will give you a strong start in understanding how your customers feel about your company. To find your Net Promotor Score, all you have to do is implement a single-question survey: “How likely are you to recommend this product for a friend or colleague?” If your customers have recently celebrated reaching a success goal, your NPS score should be a 9 or 10.

Customer experience strategy example:

For each new account, Hubspot clients get their very own contact within the company whose job it is to ensure that they understand how to use the platform and get the most out of it. It’s not an inexpensive service, but by having their customers set measurable goals, and then helping them to achieve those goals, most Hubspot users feel it’s worth every penny.

  • Create a culture around your customers

Every CEO dreams of customers embracing his or her company as an integral part of their lives, creating a culture around the products they love. You see this with Apple fans (or fanatics); you see it with Hubspot clients, and you see it with just about everything Disney has ever touched. But to create a culture out there, you must first create a customer-centric culture within the company itself. And saying, “the customer is always right” won’t even scratch the surface. A customer-centric company culture begins at the C-level, with management devoted to helping customers succeed (not just increasing profits). As CEOs and managers, you have to prove your commitment to making people your priority by setting policies that show employees that they are valued – only then will they be able to deliver top-notch customer service. When your employees don’t feel like cogs in a machine, they won’t treat customers that way either.

Customer experience strategy example:

When was the last time you had a bad customer service experience at Starbucks? The answer is, quite possibly, never. Starbucks is known for its friendly baristas as much as it’s known for its Pumpkin Spice Latte, and the coffee giant is also one of the top-rated companies in the world for how well it treats its employees.

 

Nichole

Nichole

Chief Strategy Officer at @Inturact. Moderator at @ProductHunt &@GrowthHackers. Co-Founder at@GetTheCraft & @SaaSCommunity. Previously: Growth at @InboundOrg.
Nichole
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