So, you’ve been hearing all this buzz about Customer Experience Strategy and decide your company can’t afford to keep away any longer?
Keep visiting your competitor’s website and are greeted by one of these?
Although installing a chatbot onto your site is not enough to ensure a better customer experience for your visitors, if you do want to improve their CX, you’re definitely on the right track!
If you thought starting a few social media channels for your company would be enough to elevate you on the Customer Experience ladder, boy were you wrong!
You are right about one thing (if you were thinking that), if you’re going to have a presence online, you better put your visitors first!
Creating a great experience for your customers can’t be achieved by following a few best practices or rules of thumb.
It requires a complete reorientation of your company’s philosophy on how it interacts with its customers.
Luckily for you, we’ve condensed this process into 5 (but not easy) steps that will ensure that you offer a better CX. Take my word for it!
1. Clearly Identify Customer Demographics (and their preferences)
Every marketing program in the world will tell you that this is the first step to creating any marketing or business related campaign.
It is certainly a given, and a step that most marketers (including myself) strictly believe in.
In the most basic of definitions, in order to properly identify who your customer base is composed of, you can look at two things: demographics and psychographics.
Demographics refer to mostly physical attributes of your customers (or a subset of your customers, depending on the product you’re testing) like:-
- Gender (if that’s relevant to your strategy)
- Household/Personal income
- Geographic distribution
- Education and even ethnicity.
Psychographics are more inherent qualities that can not be seen and are (usually) harder to identify as they involve advanced methods of testing and research, but the benefits of doing this research are manifold in the outcome of your campaign.
Classic examples of psychographics include:-
- Brand affiliations
- Political orientations
- Opinions on current affairs etc.
Here’s a full list of demographics from Inc.com.
Another effective way to study your customers is to create a “User Persona” based on a sample of your customers.
This is basically a template describing all the demographics and psychographics of your average customer.
It will look something like this:-
Design platform Xtensio has a great free template to create user personas.
2. Put Yourself in Your Customers’ Shoes (or before their screens)
The second step in the CX Strategy process is to test your products from the perspective of the end user.
There is no single way to do this. Depending on the type of product you offer, you may have to come up with innovative ways to test your product/campaign.
The key here is to observe first hand every aspect of your end-user’s experience with the product and gather as much data as you can (meaning that you should be user testing with more than one potential customer, as many as possible in fact!)
I use the term “end-user” here instead of customer because there are a lot of interesting scenarios from the digital/technology space where this step is executed.
Web developers and marketers interested in seeing how website visitors interact with a newly launched functionality can make use of tools like HotJar to view heat maps and visitor recordings :-
If you have the time and resources, there is of course no better way to conduct research than by putting together several sets of focus groups and looking at the aggregated data they generate.
Tech platforms like Google and Facebook offer fascinating case studies on this approach as they have literally billions of users whose behaviour they can study and tailor services around.
This unhindered access to data combined with sophisticated AI allows platforms like these to take CX to the next level.
3. Create a Prototype Product/Campaign
Consider creating a “beta” or test version of your product/campaign.
This could mean creating a version that retains all the core functionalities minus the frills, or test the final product as it is but limit access to a few select people.
Creating a prototype or “beta” of your final product or campaign can help you observe the usability and performance of your final product, important information that will go into creating a better experience for your customers.
You will see by now that most of these steps involve conducting some form of research, but when it comes to Customer Experience, you can’t take any chances!
Data is everything!
Amazon’s cashierless retail outlet “GO” reportedly spent ONE YEAR in beta, testing out all the features that went into creating the innovative store.
4. Test, Rinse, Repeat
I guess you knew this step was coming. Unavoidable!
If you’re going to be spending a ton of money on creating a prototype you better have a predetermined framework (Gantt charts folks!) of how you’re going to be testing and recording data along the way.
The key here is to efficiently record all possible data points associated with your product’s testing.
Taking the example of a new functionality on your website, have plans in place to record (and make changes to):-
1. How did different segments of your visitors respond to the new function?
2. How fast were they able to learn the new tool?
3. Will any more training be required?
The cake goes to whoever pays attention to the most minute of details.
Offering great customer support for your testers along the way will be another great way to make sure this phase goes smoothly.
Going back to point #2, put yourself in your customers’ shoes!
5. Test Some More and Hit Go!
So you’ve spent weeks and months in testing and think you’re finally ready to hit the road?
Are there any last minute changes you need to make? A final A/B test perhaps?
As I’ve mentioned several times above (and probably will continue to do so in future blogs), research is key.
It is really up to the resources your company is willing to invest in testing and consequently the CX it offers that will make or break your product in the age where customer is King!