Engaged Employees

Is Customer Experience The Ultimate Marketing Tool?

Contributed article by Frank Hamilton

Advertising surrounds us everywhere. Companies have to try hard to stand out from the crowd and prove that their product or service is trustworthy to customers. Improving marketing customer experience is one of the top opportunities to turn customers into brand ambassadors, win more clients, raise brand awareness and get a competitive edge. But is customer experience the ultimate marketing tool in 2022? Let’s find it out.

What Is Customer Experience?

To put it simply, customer experience in marketing is a general term that covers all the impressions the customers have when interacting with a brand. In response to digital marketing development, customer experience has become one of the strongest digital trends of recent years.

This marketing tool creates the conditions for interacting with customers to meet or exceed their expectations. Customers go through many points of interaction with a company. And it is very important that at each of these points your customer is satisfied.

Modern marketing is customer-centric so the customers are the only ones to decide what kind of products to buy, and what level of service to choose.  In a couple of clicks, customers can view product features, reviews, and ratings, and decide “To buy or not to buy?” They can quickly change brands without compromising themselves if a competitor offers a better product, or service or anticipates their desires.

In such an abundance of choice, when the customer experience is far from being enjoyable, 32% of modern users are willing to give up on their favorite brand. At the same time, one unsatisfied customer will tell about their negative experience to 16  friends and damage the company’s reputation with the word of mouth.

Why Is Customer Experience So Important?

Let’s be honest with each other – there is no perfect marketing tool that will fit every company and every brand. But improving customer experience day after day is a must-follow strategy for every company. Firstly, a positive customer experience is a confirmation that your core business processes are set up right. After all, if at any point of interaction your customer isn’t happy, you need to make adjustments to your team or your marketing strategy. What’s more, the customer experience is directly dependent on employees being competent, responsible, and proactive.

Here are a few more reasons why companies should care even more about a successful modern customer experience:

 1. Increase the Check

Modern customers will never be satisfied with little. Today, they want the most from brands and companies at every stage of interaction. Studies show that 86% of customers are willing to pay more for good service. This means that companies with a customer-centric marketing strategy will be able to earn even more and grow their company faster.

 2. Win More Customers

Customers want a personalized approach that will cater to personal wishes and requests. Targeted advertising, smart content marketing and blogging increase customer trust and loyalty, allowing you to stand out from other similar brands. And as a result, grow the number of leads and customers. Surveys show that 80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase if a company offers a personalized approach.

 3. Stand Out From the Competition

Customers today have a wide range of services and products to choose from, so companies should try hard to stand out. A positive customer experience is one effective way to stand out from the competition, and most importantly, to build loyalty and retain customers for a long time.

 4. Lower the Cost per Lead

Word of mouth is free advertising for your company. And it’s worth noting that it’s very effective. According to studies, more than 92% of consumers use reviews to make a purchase decision. Therefore, every satisfied customer can become an ambassador for your brand in the future and help you attract new leads with the power of social proof. Here is how you won’t have to spend any extra money to acquire new customers.

 5. Create a Recognizable Brand

Loyal customers help take a brand to the next level. After all, globally popular brands have become popular because of the consistent digital consumer experience they delivered for years. One of the ways to create a recognizable brand is to tell your potential customers about it as much as possible through highly qualified content since to date, content importance for blog is growing. This is the tool to build loyalty and improve your SEO performance at once.

How To Improve Customer Experience? 

Customer experience is one of the most important marketing tools that determine how successful your company or brand will be. So here are some important tips that can help you stand out with the best customer experience.  

  • Develop an omnichannel strategy to enhance the customer experience. Always be accessible to your customers. For example, if the customer feels more comfortable contacting you through social media, you should be ready to support them via social channels. If the user likes to find information on their own, run a meaningful blog. If the customer wants to contact you after business hours, it would be nice to offer them a chatbot. It will stay in touch with your customers 24 hours a day, which will allow for a better customer experience. Look here for more insights into omnichannel customer experience and the benefits it drives.
  • Train your employees. At certain stages of interacting with the brand, your customers will work with your employees. Be sure that they correctly communicate the company’s values and culture, and have perfect knowledge of the product and the algorithm for dealing with various atypical situations. Regular training sessions can help your sales, customer support, and marketing teams provide impeccable assistance.
  • Provide feedback on time. Listen to and read feedback from your customers. Use this information wisely to improve your service and product. Once you have worked out the weaknesses, try to keep your customers informed about the work done, the troubleshooting, or the improvement of the service.
  • Optimize the customer journey. Identify all stages of the customer’s interaction with your company. Think about how you can make customers’ experience of choosing, buying, using, and committing to your brand stronger and more positive. Use analytics and Big Data to keep up to date with your customers’ preferences and desires.
  • Collect feedback and ratings. Monitor the feedback and ratings you get from customers. If some of these are negative, respond immediately and try to rectify the situation by offering an alternative, a discount, or a personal offer. This will help to retain the customer and save your reputation. Encourage satisfied customers to leave positive feedback as well.
  • Implement loyalty programs. The main aim of a loyalty program is to build long-term relationships. Only sincere attention and a personalized approach will persuade customers to stay with you for the long term. A good loyalty program helps increase lifetime customer value (LTV), the loyalty index (NPS), and grow brand advocates, who are particularly useful in attracting new leads at no extra cost. 

Conclusion

Customer experience is the ultimate marketing tool. If consumers like you, they will happily spend money on your product and recommend it to others. In a world where competition between brands is huge, the one who manages to make more people fall in love with you wins.

Meeting the New Challenges of Employee Training, Coaching and Engagement

Since the contact center agent is the face and voice that often defines a company in the eyes of existing and potential customers, workforce recruiting must focus on identifying vital traits, skills, and abilities in individuals. But even when those who meet the highest qualifications are put in place, they must be trained, continuously coached, and kept actively engaged to be successful.

Companies which can recruit and retain qualified and motivated front-line personnel are positioned to operate more efficiently while building customer loyalty. According to a McKinsey report, “Failure to keep talented employees can have significant repercussions… attrition can erode customer satisfaction while increasing operating costs. Each new agent hire is estimated to cost the contact center $10,000 to $20,000 in training, direct recruiting costs, and lost productivity during ramp up.”

Taking every step to keep top performers onboard is now more critical than ever. Although many consumers have become comfortable with online self-service tools, once they decide to call into the contact center the issues are almost always more complicated to resolve. Since people are already frustrated at being unable to find answers on other channels, they are on edge from the moment when an agent picks up the call.

This dilemma has only grown more acute during a crisis in which many customers are already panicked. According to a recent blog on CrmXchange by Uniphore, 60% of consumers said they were given different or conflicting information on current conditions from the news, leaving more questions than answers. Adding more fuel to the fire is that customers are often faced with longer wait times as companies adapt to a new wave of work-at-home agents. Nearly 40% who were put on hold with a company after calling about crisis-related issues stated that they were annoyed or frustrated.

Further McKinsey research suggests a need for companies to take a proactive stance when interacting with their contact-center employees by focusing on engagement and finding ways to increase their comfort and happiness wherever they are working. They found a startling difference in outcomes. Engaged and satisfied call-center employees are:

  • 8.5x more likely to stay than leave within a year
  • 4x more likely to stay than dissatisfied colleagues
  • 16x more likely to refer friends to their company
  • 3.3x more likely to feel extremely empowered to resolve customer issues

So how does a company ensure that these valuable assets are happier and more productive? Actions in three areas can have a major impact– targeted coaching, employment of updated training techniques and applying proven strategies to enhance employee engagement —and they are available for all contact centers to take.

A focused educational alternative now makes it possible for a business’s entire workforce planning team to benefit from the latest innovative thinking without ever having to take so much as a step away from their home offices.

CrmXchange is presenting a premier online virtual conference: Techniques for Training, Coaching and Employee Engagement, to be held from June 15-19. The event is being produced in conjunction with the Quality Assurance and Training Connection, (QATC), a membership association created specifically for quality assurance and training professionals in the contact center environment.

The web conference is structured to benefit contact center leaders at all levels – supervisors, managers, directors, and VPS. The fully interactive event enables attendees to meet with industry experts and colleagues who will answer questions in real time while providing updated strategies and techniques. The schedule is designed to provide direction to meet the changing needs of businesses transitioning to a greater percentage of work-at-home agents but will also provide guidance for companies still maintaining on-premise employees.

Among the topics to be covered in-depth are:

  • Learning how to work in a remote world
  • Best methods for coaching and training remote and on-premise agents
  • How to optimize agent performance in the new reality
  • Developing an effective instructor competency program

The event will kick off on Monday, June 15 with a focused keynote address entitled “Do Better Work – Finding Clarity and Camaraderie in a Remote World.” It will be presented by Max Yoder, CEO and Co-Founder, Lessonly who will offer stories of the best ways for businesses to navigate the path to working from home, providing specific examples of how to foster understanding, accountability, and progress from disparate teams.

Other areas to be explored in this targeted, complimentary virtual conference include:

  • How to Foster Agent Engagement and Human Connection Through Coaching Your Remote Contact Center Team in a Post-Pandemic World
  • Nurturing Employees to Become Ambassadors and High Performers
  • Agent Coaching and Engagement for Remote Service Excellence
  • Creating a Solid Gamification Strategy to Engage Employees Near and Far

In addition to the educational sessions, attendees can visit the booths of leading suppliers in the online exhibit hall. They can then download white papers, videos, product data sheets and other vital content from leading solution providers and organizations such as CallMiner, NICE inContact, Calabrio, NICE, Lessonly, C3 Software and Sharpen.

Register now at no cost for the complete four-day event: there is no limit on how many people a company can sign up. For those who cannot attend the live presentations or have the time to visit the exhibits during the event, links to all sessions and the exhibit hall will remain open for one full week after the event is completed.

The Key Ingredients to Increase Brand Loyalty

By John Thompson, Head of Business Development, Americas, Sitel Group

What does it take to keep customers loyal to a brand? A loaded question with a variety of correct responses. Today, we are going to be focusing on the four key ingredients that directly impact the customer experience as it relates to brand loyalty: transparency, employees, change and corporate social responsibility. Let’s dive into the recipe.

Providing Transparency

Earlier this year, Burger King released the infamous moldy burger campaign to promote the fast food chain’s efforts to eliminate artificial preservatives and other additives from its menu. Did the rotting burger look appetizing? No. Did it catch people’s attention? Yes.

The eye-catching image set Burger King apart from the dozens of fast food commercials consumers are inundated with each day. The vision itself of a moldy burger wasn’t mouthwatering, but it told the consumer much more about the values of the brand. The fast food chain was breaking the mold (pun intended) and changing things up for the betterment of the consumer. Not only was the advertisement catching the average viewer’s attention, it was being honest with customers in a bold way.

While unconventional, this marketing tactic focuses on appealing to customers by offering complete and utter transparency. No, the burger did not look appetizing, but it told a bigger story of how the brand was committed to showing the efforts it was taking to deliver fresh and real food, by being real with the viewers.

Engaging Employees

Happy and loyal employees equal happy and loyal customers. A large portion in the recipe for the success of delivering a standout experience to consumers is by making sure that your employees are engaged. This starts with training from the get go. In fact, more than one in three (37%) U.S. employees would leave their job if they weren’t offered training to help them. So, what does good employee training look like?

It begins with teaching employees how to properly communicate with customers. While this may sound like a given, more than half (51%) of employers don’t offer soft skills training like how to speak to a customer or client effectively. Whether it be stepping up in line to order a tasty burger or dialing the support number on the back of a product, the way employees interact with customers in these mundane moments can leave an everlasting impression of the brand. In order to establish customer loyalty, it is pivotal to train employees in the art of communication.

Adapting to Change and Demonstrating Corporate Social Responsibility

Fresh ingredients mattered to Burger King’s customers, so it got rid of preservatives to appeal to the desires of a largely health-focused audience. The brand demonstrated how to adapt to your markets to keep customers loyal. Especially in these uncertain times, adapting to the wants and needs of your market matter more than ever.

The landscape for how brands market to customers is changing each and every day because of COVID-19. One brand that is getting it right in the CSR (corporate social responsibility) messaging category is Coca-Cola. The beverage giant recently launched an ad in Times Square that communicated the importance of social distancing with the message, “Staying apart is the best way to stay connected.” Rather than shying away from addressing the current health crisis, Coca-Cola faced it head on and used its platform to communicate an important message to its customers.

Adapting to change and conveying messages that align with the current concerns of your market matter enormously when it comes to establishing brand loyalty. Customers like to engage with brands that are making a difference. In fact, 70% of customers want brands to be positive contributors to society.

In order to keep business thriving in crowded marketplaces, brands must find ways to keep customers loyal. The practices above are necessary to implement. Brands that focus on building customer relationships and delivering an unparalleled CX will have the loyalty of their biggest assets – their customers.

John Thompson

As Sitel Group’s Head of Business Development, Americas, John Thompson has a passion for customer engagement and how the adaptation of virtualization and digitization complement traditional global contact center strategies. This passion stems from Thompson’s 15 years’ experience in the customer experience (CX) industry. Throughout his career, he has held a variety of leadership positions and has co-founded two start-up companies. Thompson holds an MBA from Creighton University and a bachelor’s degree from Colorado State University. He resides in Omaha, Nebraska.