By Andrew Bourne
Most businesses have a common goal of expansion. However, in this fiercely competitive business landscape, mere linear growth may no longer suffice. Instead, companies should strive for growth at scale to increase their revenues without a significant influx of additional resources.
One of the most crucial starting points for growth at scale is to focus on customer experience (CX). CX can be defined as the comprehensive range of a customer’s cognitive, emotional, sensory, and behavioural reactions throughout their entire journey with a company, spanning from pre-purchase to post-purchase stages. CX can either be a catalyst for success, or be the downfall of a company.
While it may appear as an exaggerated claim, it carries substantial weight when considering that according to one report, 81% of customers say that a positive customer experience significantly increases their likelihood of making repeat purchases. Equally noteworthy is the fact that 61% of customers would readily switch companies following just one negative experience. These statistics emphasise the critical importance of cultivating and maintaining a superior customer experience.
Understanding the significance of CX is one thing, but delivering exceptional experiences is an entirely different matter. Bearing this in mind, how can organisations guarantee that they consistently deliver the utmost satisfaction to their customers? Although the answer may differ depending on the specific industry, there are several fundamental steps that any organisation can undertake to achieve this goal.
The power of contextual data
One of the most impactful measures to undertake involves dismantling data silos within an organisation. It’s critical to recognize that information fuels every department within an organisation. Ensuring access to contextual data empowers customer-facing teams to have impactful engagement with the customers, thereby improving the experience they can provide.
Furthermore, it enables the delivery of personalised experiences to each customer, further augmenting their perception of the organisation. In this regard, the implementation of a customer experience platform assumes significant importance. Ideally, such a platform should offer seamless and contextual flow of data between different systems, single sign on (SSO), and granular access control. At Zoho, we have dedicated efforts to incorporate these features into our customer experience platform, Zoho CRM Plus, that brings together sales, marketing, support and other customer-facing teams together.
A single view of marketing
The consolidation of customer data is vital for organisations, but it’s equally crucial to have a unified perspective on their marketing endeavours. It’s essential to recognize that the customer experience encompasses all interactions with an organisation, even those occurring before a purchase is made.
It’s also important to remember that marketing doesn’t just entail advertising. It also includes your branding, both online and offline, your social media presence, and your media and stakeholder relations.
So it’s critical to deliver consistent experiences throughout all of your marketing activities. Achieving this goal requires that the whole marketing department has an insight about, and is aligned to, each and every activity being carried out by different teams. This approach not only prevents the duplication of efforts, it also promotes transparency and provides visibility to the managers who can use the insight to assess the impact of various activities.
Get the post-purchase service right
After a customer makes a purchase, it’s essential to follow up with them in a non-intrusive manner to gauge their satisfaction with the product and the service they received. By collecting feedback, businesses can obtain valuable insights that can be used to further improve not just their engagement with a particular customer, but also their offerings. Any company that is listening and acting on customer feedback will sooner or later outperform its competitors.
Feedback on the customer experience serves as the foundation for further enhancing the post-purchase experience by enabling accurate recommendations of other relevant products from the inventory. This iterative process ensures that the customer experience continues to evolve and improve, fostering long-term customer loyalty and driving repeat purchases. Even a simple survey tool can help a company gather valuable insights, which can then be used to improve overall CX efforts.
Building a foundation of excellence
While numerous elements contribute to the creation of an exceptional customer experience, the foundational principles outlined above are undeniably crucial. With these fundamentals firmly in place, businesses can proactively cultivate an environment conducive to fostering long-lasting customer relationships and achieving sustainable growth.
(Andrew Bourne is the Regional Manager, Zoho).