Creating brand value in modern times requires three crucial steps:
- Track the customer’s journey, both online and offline, from beginning to end.
- Identify all the crucial customer touchpoints.
- Do everything within your power to make each touchpoint a positive customer experience.
Hard as it may be to accept, a single lousy touchpoint experience can kill the sale, even if all the touchpoints in front and behind it are great. Omnichannel enterprises, depending on back and forth internet contact, muddy the waters even more.
Companies that engage customers’ needs at every pivotal juncture are more likely to enjoy a competitive advantage and compelling brand value. When your customer feedback is collectively positive, you are way ahead of the pack, but CX is a team effort that requires ongoing commitment. Website specialists and online marketers frequently lose sight of the bigger picture, getting sidetracked by their specialties.
That’s all common sense, you say?
You’d think so, but reliable research shows that there’s a huge perception gap around the CX conversation. Eighty percent of companies surveyed believe they are delivering superior customer experience, whereas not even nine percent of their customers agree. Is this imbalance a real problem? You bet it is. Research by Bain & Company confirms that 81% of companies surveyed acknowledge that CX differentiation is the deciding factor when it comes to gaining market share.
Businesses fighting tooth-and-nail for customer loyalty understand CX and its impact on ROI. The takeaway is that marketers and web specialists must recognize working together online and offline paves a flawless road to the best possible customer experience.
The specific challenges for marketing and online professionals
Competent pros routinely define their market demographics right out of the gate. After that, it’s all about the customer experience – the strategies and tactics that make a single brand stand out from the herd.
Before going any further, let’s clear up a recurring misconception: User experience (UX) – mainly when your website is in the crosshairs – is not CX. It’s undoubtedly part of CX, as is customer service and product UX, but none of the three equate to CX. Just because you’ve made navigating the site easy and smooth, that doesn’t mean your job is done – not by a long shot.
To be competitive, strive to sell to customers the way they want to buy. Going back to the original CX pillars, you need to clear obstructions from the road forward and differentiate the customer journey by being innovative. If there are other team members in the mix focusing on other touchpoints, it’s still your business. CX unifies the effort of the entire team online and offline, thus guaranteeing your website input pays dividends and isn’t open to disruption.
Here’s a checklist based on a cohesive team approach:
- Create the right message for every possible customer situation. Speak in the customers’ preferred voice (e.g., conversational or formal) and at their readership level (i.e., knowledgeable, expert, elementary).
- Build a theme that aligns with your desired brand image.
- Introduce new elements that make your customers sit up and notice.
- Don’t settle for less than a perfect website UX. For example, if you offer a chat or “call now” option, train customer service agents to provide value-added information every time.
- Payment options must be 100% secure. It’s a huge trust-indicator – nobody wants to enter credit card details on a site that seems buggy or insecure.
- Remember that visitors move in and out of your site, advancing to the cash register or getting stuck. You should anticipate these touchpoints and those offline. After-sales service is a vital website aspect often overlooked.
- Get intimately involved in customer journey mapping. This process and relevant tools provide a closer look into the emotions and thinking of your prospects at interim decision points.
- Faster sales with fewer returns result from placing action buttons at touchpoints where the prospect is more ready to buy.
Simplify a complicated CX process
There are still businesses that are old school and succeed without a web presence – but they’re diminishing rapidly. Smartphones with worldwide mobile connectivity have spearheaded a shift in customer preferences, where trust in branded products and services online is now a fact of life. Many combine store shopping with site offers, and there are huge enterprises that provide online experience only. Squeezed somewhere in between are B2B industries, that selectively use web facilities to make buying decisions.
Ask yourself the following critical questions across the online and offline space:
- Do our prospects and customers feel comfortable with the brand?
- Are we differentiating the customer journey in a meaningful way?
- Does our content express our brand values, mission, and vision?
- Have we cleared the obstacles in the way of the buyer’s decision-making and buying process?
Your appreciation of the CX process will have a profound effect. Trust it no matter where it takes you. Don’t let any touchpoint escape your attention. Know that the CX chain which assists the inquiring prospect to emerge as a committed customer is only as strong as its weakest link.