Image: coolio-claire A recent study By Econsultancy shows that more than 80 percent of retailers plan to increase their customer experience management budget in 2015. Clearly, brands are rushing to create solid customer experience strategies, but are they providing what customers actually want? From first contact and customer onboarding to long-term retention, there are plenty of potential failpoints to a good customer experience strategy. Making sure obstacles aren’t the downfall of a good overall game plan takes good preparation and planning, along with a touch of clairvoyance and a little bit of good luck. Once you’ve created the perfect customer service strategy for your brand, don’t forget the critical last step: make sure customers really like it. It’s easy to get bogged down in execution and miss the forest for the trees, so tune in to whether your CX strategy is enticing customers and not turning them away. Here are five things your customers won’t tell you about your customer experience strategy:
1. We like proactive content
We’re more than happy to read blog posts from your CEO or marketing department, but articles about customer wins or the latest conference you attended don’t help us learn how to use your product or service in new or inventive ways. Make sure to include a balance of both. Blog content should also be relevant to your company or industry. If you’re a bank, don’t write a post about the rules of football just because the Super Bowl is coming up.
2. We like to connect with other customers
It’s great when we can reach out to tech support or the sales department on Twitter or Facebook, but give us a way to engage with your other customers, too. Sometimes it’s easier, quicker, or less intimidating to ask our peers for help troubleshooting an issue. Other times we want to talk about how we use your product or glean ideas from users in the trenches with us. Occasionally user forums spring up organically, like the TiVo community that boasts over 278,000 members and more than 7 million posts. If you want to take the lead on building a branded community, consider creating your own with a web content management system like Evoq or Zimbra’s Social Start Kit. “Branded communities provide a forum through which you can learn more about what your customers (or prospective customers) want, what they don’t want and how they want it. If you can effectively understand your community’s expectations, you can work to deliver a product or service that meets their needs,” writes social business strategist and marketing consultant, Marisa Peacock. “Conversely,” Peacock notes, “branded communities offer companies an opportunity to experiment and test new features and services. Each improvement a company makes has the potential to unlock new layers of demand, which can create more incentives for customers.”
3. We want to engage with you on our device of choice
Omni-channel marketing is a near-mandatory part of any customer experience strategy these days. The proliferation of smartphones and tablets means your customers are just as likely to access your content on while riding the train home from work as they are from a desktop computer in their living room. While some marketers argue in favor of mobile-first marketing, the most important thing is to make sure your content in general is optimized for mobile. That means making sure all content and promotional links open and work well on mobile devices as well as the desktop. Few things irritate customers more than clicking on a link while on a smartphone and being served a messy page with tiny font that requires a 21-inch monitor to view.
4. It’s okay to promote yourself but don’t forget to engage with us, too
As strong social media presence is de rigueur for today’s successful brands. Customers love to follow their favorite stores and services to stay current on news, sales, and promotions, but we want to feel we’re more than the sum of our wallets. Make sure to blend promotional posts and status updates with entertaining, engaging, and truly social content, too. Give us a peek behind the scenes at the main office, share a snippet from a blog post from a thought leader in your industry, or ask users to participate in a fun poll. Here’s a bonus secret. We love it when brands respond specifically to what we say on social media. Thank us for being a customer, give us a virtual high-five if we share a selfie of us with your product, or just simply say hi.
5. Our attention span is shorter than you think
Many of us expect an answer to our questions we ask on Twitter in about an hour, so be sure your customer experience strategy has methods in place to capture messages to your brand. We understand not every customer service issue can be handled in 140 characters but it’s important to let users know you’ve heard them and are willing to help. If your mission is exceptional omni-channel customer service, make sure you deliver. Lisa Hoover McGreevy is a seasoned professional writer specializing in corporate messaging, a data journalist on the Visually Marketplace and regular contributor to the Visually blog.