Providing an immersive and engaging customer experience (CX) has become a central requirement in today’s business ecosystem. Companies that fail to hold a customer’s attention are likely to struggle in developing a strong foundation of loyal customers. Due to the unique nature of each business, marketing leaders and executive management must develop CX management strategies based on industry best practices and customer expectations.
Since customer experience often overlaps with service, support, and care activities, it is important to take a holistic approach and look at the big picture. Starting with the customer journey, companies can assess customer touchpoints and develop a strong customer experience management framework.
Below, we’ve gathered 50 expert tips to help you build a lasting commitment to customer experience within your organization. The tips are organized by topic and cover diverse subjects including technology, metrics, employee engagement, and feedback.
Developing a Customer Experience Management Strategy
- Perform a needs assessment and segmentation.
“The starting point is to understand what customer needs are, what drives them, what challenges them, and what they need from suppliers’ products and services. Coupled with this is the segmentation of customers into groupings which enable us to see and serve the customer more specifically.” – Carol-Ann Morgan, A Guide to Customer Experience Management: How To Deliver On Customer Expectations, B2B International; Twitter: @B2B_Insight
- Use customer feedback as part of your CX strategy.
“You’re probably already collecting customer feedback without realizing it: when a customer sends an email, calls customer support, or leaves a review, that’s feedback. The problem is, if that feedback is not measured and analyzed, you’re missing out on the opportunity to use it to improve customer experience and leverage its growth potential.” – Understanding customer experience, Hotjar; Twitter: @hotjar
- Map all touchpoints in the customer journey.
“Once the buyer persona is identified, it is crucial to define customer experience strategy mapping all the relevant touch points throughout the customer journey to better plan and organize how a brand will interact with the customers at each touchpoint.” – What Is Customer Experience?, Ameyo; Twitter: @AmeyoCIM
- Share your vision across the entire organization.
“It’s not enough to have the best products or services, you have to create the best experience. This customer-centric approach has to sit on top of your organization, and everybody in your company has to walk the walk. From marketing to sales to customer service, everything and everyone should be aligned. Build a dashboard that gives you key performance indicators around metrics that are important to your customer experience, and share the dashboard with your team members so everyone is in the loop.” – Andy Steuer, A Simple Guide For Developing A Better Customer Experience Management Strategy, Forbes; Twitter: @Forbes
- Use artificial intelligence (AI) for a better customer experience.
“The customer experience landscape redefined by Artificial Intelligence (AI). Chatbots can help businesses dramatically enhance their customer experience and achieve faster growth. A chatbot is the best solution to handle simple customer queries on the first go. But when it comes to complex queries bots fail to answer, and it directs the conversation to the right human agent. You can provide customers the best experience of both worlds, with the chatbot managing the simple queries and human agents handling complex conversations.” – Snigdha Patel, How to Build Customer Experience (CX) Strategy (with Examples), REVE Chat; Twitter: @REVEChat
- Create a strong strategic framework for your vision.
“To believe in a customer-experience program and to engage with it actively, employees must know that leadership clearly understands the situation, has an organized way to move forward, and is serious about change. Three things create this strong basis for action: a definition of the degree of change desired, a strong understanding of what matters to customers, and a shared aspiration and framework for change.” – Brooke Boyarsky, Will Enger, and Ron Ritter, Developing a customer-experience vision, McKinsey & Company; Twitter: @McKinsey
- Review your current customer service strategy.
“The goal here is to determine what’s working well for your business and where you can stand to improve. If you’re not sure where to start, try checking your company’s help desk or call center data for key metrics that indicate success – like Net Promoter Score, customer satisfaction score, and customer churn rate. If you’re scoring below expectations, you’ll have a starting point for digging deeper into the problem.” – Carly Stec, How to Define a Customer Experience (CX) Strategy, HubSpot; Twitter: @HubSpot
- Develop vivid customer personas.
“Developing a persona is the first step in the research process. A persona is a ‘character’ developed through research, to represent a common group of people. By developing 1-5 personas of your customer base, you can better understand the psyche of your customers and build experiences for your most valuable segments. If you start with building empathy and understanding the profile of your key customer segments, you have a way to connect with them so that everyone has a shared understanding of their demographic profile, behaviors, and pain points.” – How to design a customer experience (CX) strategy, Qualtrics; Twitter: @Qualtrics
- Strive to be channel-agnostic.
“For many marketers, this is a critical requirement. Campaign management tools create the visibility that marketers crave. Shared planning also makes it easier for marketers to promote knowledge and sharing of best practices. If there are campaigns that work particularly well in the inbound channel, then marketers should be able to easily replicate the logic, segmentation, and selection in outbound channels.” – Judi Hand, Customer Experience Management Strategy and Best Practices, TTEC Customer Strategist; Twitter: @tteclife
- Scope your CX strategy accurately.
“Know the true scope of what you’re creating a master plan for! We all know from customer journey maps that customer experience is much more than a moment in time. It’s much more than an interaction. It spans the end-to-end customer life cycle. That’s the universal scope for customer experience strategy.” – Lynn Hunsaker, What is Customer Experience Strategy?, ClearAction Continuum; Twitter: @clearaction
- Eliminate bad design early in the game.
“As we discussed earlier, user experience (UX) is key. Website and app design matter of course, but customer experience design is crucial. Customers pour in from all channels, all on the hunt for something your brand. They could be just one bad experience away from leaving you forever. Plan every stage of the customer experience carefully, from discovery to purchase and advocacy, you can control the customer experience.” – Amritpal Dhangal, Top 14 Ways to Create a Great Customer Experience Strategy, Acquire.io; Twitter: @acquire_io
- Provide basic customer service consistently.
“If the greeting is part of the business model, ensure that customers are always greeted warmly the moment they enter the business. This can be done either online with a welcome message, or at a retail store with a greeting representative at the front of the store. Maintain an upbeat and excited mood so that customers feel welcomed.” – Sean Chan, Creating a Great Customer Experience Management Strategy, Expert360; Twitter: @expert_360
- Know the role of your marketing team.
“Marketing’s role in the customer experience might be the most dynamic; it needs to be constantly adjusting to match the shifting needs of customers. Marketers are often responsible for making the first impression on a prospect through ads, outbound campaigns, and word-of-mouth. Their influence continues through public communications, social media marketing, and creating a brand presence.” – Erin Hueffner, Understanding customer experience, Zendesk; Twitter: @zendesk
- Build emotional interactions with customers.
“Establishing emotional connections with customers can be a crucial way to build long-term customer relationships. Research has shown that up to 95% of purchase decisions occur in the subconscious mind. That means understanding customer perspectives is key to directly closing deals. Emotionally connected customers have also proven to be more than twice as valuable than even highly satisfied customers.” – Kevan Chew, 3 Customer Experience Management Strategies For Strengthening Customer Relationships, Remesh.ai; Twitter: @teamremesh
- Use your big-picture strategy to remove ineffective experiences.
“As marketers, we often feel the pressure to always be adding more, more, more—particularly when it comes to content. But more content—particularly content that’s off-message and disconnected from other assets and the overall customer experience—can be detrimental, as it only serves to confuse the customer. In large organizations, with content sprawled across many sites, microsites, and shared repositories, there is a sense that excessive content needs to be pruned back. But without a big-picture view of the entire customer experience and its corresponding assets, it’s nearly impossible to nail down which content to deactivate.” – Kelsey Loughman, The Customer Experience Management Guide [Chapter 4], Upland Kapost; Twitter: @kapost
Customer Experience Optimization Tips
- Regularly act on employee feedback.
“Most organizations have an annual survey process where they capture the overall feedback of your team; how engaged they are and the businesses ability to deliver an exceptional service. But, what happens in the 11 months between these survey periods? Usually, nothing happens. And this is where continuous employee feedback can play a role using tools that allow staff to share ideas on how to improve the customer experience and for managers to see how staff is feeling towards the business.” – Steven MacDonald, 7 Ways to Create a Great Customer Experience Strategy, SuperOffice; Twitter: @SuperOfficeAS
- Improve the employee experience.
“If your Customer Satisfaction Scores (CSAT) aren’t where you hoped they would be, take another look at the morale internally across your organization. If you find that unhappy employees are ultimately delivering a negative experience, identify two to three reasons your staff is frustrated at work. Then, start by remedying the “easiest” issue on that list.” – Sara Staffaroni, Optimize Your Customer Experience Management Strategy, GetFeedback; Twitter: @getfeedback
- Eliminate issues that make it harder to be a customer.
“Have a brainstorming session with your marketing team. Come up with the #1 difficulty your customers face as they interact with your business. Then, figure out the second and third-biggest difficulties. Once you’ve uncovered these issues, begin attacking them. However, keep in mind the strategic goals of your organization when designing these solutions. Think about how the changes will affect your business processes and efficiency in the long run.” – Tom Paton, 11 Examples Of Customer Experience Strategy Best Practice, contactSPACE; Twitter: @contactspace
- Clearly post your contact details.
“Nothing makes a customer feel less appreciated that failing to be able to find contact details on an organization’s website. If a customer has a more detailed enquiry that cannot be answered by self-service options, alternative options like proactive live chat, e-mail or phone contact details should be clearly signposted. If a customer feels like they are being avoided, chances are they will avoid using your business in future.” – Peter McKean, 10 quick and key ways to improve your customer experience, MyCustomer; Twitter: @MyCustomer
- Schedule focused time for your customers.
“The one thing I would recommend all companies do, no matter their industry, is to become obsessed with their customers. By fixating on the needs, pain points, and feedback from customers, a company can only improve. The easiest way to get to know (and obsess over) your customers is to talk to them regularly. Build in a dedicated amount of time each week to make calls, meet for coffee, or dive into the support inbox.” – Alicia Thomas from Klaviyo, CX tips from 100+ experts, Hotjar; Twitter: @hotjar
- Build customer relationships offline.
“Most online businesses use a number of different SaaS products (we use nearly 20 different apps at Groove). Think about where your interactions with your SaaS providers take place: almost 100% via email, right? Maybe live chat every now and then, or even a phone call from time to time. But how many SaaS companies ‘break the digital plane,’ so to speak, and extend a warm personal touch to their customers outside of the internet?” – Len Markidan, 6 Ways to Improve the Customer Experience That You Can Start Implementing Today, Groove; Twitter: @groove
- Address your customers by name.
“One of the best ways to offer a more personal customer experience is using the customer’s name when talking with them – in person, over the phone, through email, or when coming up with customer surveys. A friendlier approach that doesn’t feel forced humanizes the consumer-business interaction. Keep in mind that, according to research, people normally become ecstatic when they hear their name called.” – 19 Great Customer Service Tips To Improve Your Customer Satisfaction, Retently; Twitter: @retently
- Use a complete omnichannel approach to communication.
“Building an omnichannel strategy is very important to help businesses provide crucial insights into customer interactions and their behavior across their life cycle. The strategy includes multiple channels for sales, customer support, and marketing. 9 out of 10 consumers expect an omnichannel experience with seamless service between communication methods. Customers expect that every interaction with your business should be a similar experience.” – Snigdha Patel, 15 Proven Techniques to Improve Customer Experience (CX), REVE Chat; Twitter: @REVEChat
- Perform a CX gap analysis.
“Your competition can be your biggest source of learning – this stays true for customer experience as well. Since 2015, many companies, especially those who were large and established, have already invested and conducted many CX experiments and arrived at a set of best practices. If you are looking for an inexpensive starting point for improving your CX in 2020 – start by observing your competitors in 2019.” – Raj Roy, How To Improve Customer Experience (CX): Top 7 Tips for 2020, Toolbox Marketing; Twitter: @Toolbox_Market
- Teach employees to empathize with customers.
“Empathy is the ability to understand how the customer is feeling and where they’re coming from. While some people seem like they’re born with this trait, it’s a skill that can be acquired. When listening to the customer, try to see the problem through his eyes and imagine how it makes him feel. This is important in customer service because the customer will be more receptive if they feel understood by you. It can also de-escalate a conflict and create a more enjoyable interaction with your company.” – 9 Tips to Improve Your Customer Service Skills, Qualtrics; Twitter: @Qualtrics
- Make sure you’re posting relevant content.
“Regardless of our professional title, we are all customers. As customers, we understand that it’s great to be shown relevant content that appeals to us as individuals, whether it is an article, picture, video, advertisement, contest or announcement. When we are shown irrelevant content, however, we are likely to, at best, ignore it, or at worst, unlike, unfollow, unsubscribe, delete or cease doing business with a brand.” – Scott Clark, 7 Ways to Ensure Your Social Presence Improves Your Customer Experience, CMS Wire; Twitter: @CMSWire
- Audit the customer experience from multiple perspectives.
“Since the customer journey is affected by every facet of your business, it is imperative that you do not focus on only one department when conducting an audit of customer experience. As we briefly mentioned before, customers interact in some way with every part of your business, so in order to gain a complete picture of CX, you will need to consider the unique perspective of each one of your internal departments.” – Clint Fontanella, How to Improve Customer Experience, HubSpot; Twitter: @HubSpot
- Improve your shipping process and delivery times.
“This is a major part of the customer experience, particularly during the holiday season with a company that sells products. An appropriate shipping time is imperative. Make sure the shipping time is obvious to those who purchase a product. Outline your shipping options very clearly before the user makes a purchase. This helps improve customer experience because it alleviates the stress of not knowing when something will arrive.” – How to Ensure the Very Best Customer Experience Each and Every Time, Salesforce; Twitter: @salesforce
Tips for Measuring Customer Experience
- Set clear CX measurement priorities for your organization.
“Without prioritizing journeys within your measurement program, you risk allocating resources to journey optimization tactics that return little to no value to customers or your business. The most crucial journeys to measure are those that track the progression of customer and business goals. Remember, customers achieving their goals, such as paying a bill, resolving a technical issue or upgrading their service, should be at the core of your measurement program.” – Swati Shai, Measuring Customer Experience Beyond NPS, Pointillist; Twitter: @pointillistview
- Consider tracking the Customer Effort Score (CES).
“You’ll want your customers to be able to interact with you as effortlessly as possible. Customer effort score (CES) asks a question like: ‘How easy was it to deal with our company today?’ giving simple options: Easy, Neither, Difficult. Subtract the percentage of ‘Difficult’ respondents from the ‘Easy’ ones to give the CES. CES is relatively new as less common that NPS or CSAT, but it’s easy to understand and use, and supplies actionable data so you can change things quickly.” – Measuring Customer Experience – The CX Metrics to Think About, Qualtrics; Twitter: @Qualtrics
- The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is vital to measuring CX.
“Calculating Net Promoter Score (NPS) is one of the main methods to measure customer experience. Your NPS will let you know the percentage of customers that love, are neutral or aren’t a fan of your brand. With this score, you can instantly tell how many customers are happy enough with their customer experience that they’ve become ambassadors for your brand. Once you have that information, you can work on improving the customer experience for those that are passive or detractors.” – Rebecca Riserbato, How to Measure Customer Experience and 6 Metrics to Help You Do It, HubSpot; Twitter: @HubSpot
- Track at least one metric related to customer loyalty.
“Loyal customers can be incredibly strong advocates for the brand. Track this metric by measuring how often customers return after their first purchase and prove their loyalty to the brand with regular purchases instead of going to the competition. Loyal customers have a proven track record of regular purchases.” – Blake Morgan, The 20 Best Customer Experience Metrics For Your Business, Forbes; Twitter: @Forbes
- Customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores are a fast and simple way to collect CX data.
“CSAT is a very simple and efficient customer experience metric to implement. Just as the NPS, it’s typically very simple and fast for the customers to answer. It is often asked from a customer after a transaction or customer support ticket to evaluate the efficiency of the customer service department. CSAT is a great way to see what your customers think about you right now.” – Anna Pogrebniak, 6 Most Popular Customer Experience Metrics and KPIs Explained Simply, Lumoa; Twitter: @lumoame
- Align metrics to each step of the purchase journey.
“The purchase journey usually includes 4–5 steps, and the metrics you use to measure each will differ. Your journey map might have more or slightly different stages, but this general framework applies to most B2C customer journeys.” – Jennifer Clinehens, How to Measure Customer Experience, Choice Hacking; Twitter: @choicehacking
- Use the First Contact Rate (FCR) to help resolve issues more quickly.
“Customers are more satisfied with their experience when their problem, issue, or question is resolved in the first attempt. This ties into the customer effort score, with a high FCR score leading to better customer experiences. This can be calculated by dividing the number of resolved incidents on first contact by the total number of incidents.” – Measuring Customer Experience: Metrics and the Benefits of Scorecards, Scorebuddy; Twitter: @score_buddy
- Build journey dashboards to share metrics across your organization.
“These dashboards should make it easy to see performance by journey at a single glance. This reinforces the shared goal of each cross-functional journey team and enables the executive team to provide support when certain journeys are underperforming. Journey owners should be able to quickly drill down into touchpoint-level and driver-level satisfaction metrics and analyze root causes within their journeys.” – Victoria Bough, Ralph Breuer, Harald Fanderl, and Kevin Neher, Four ways to shape customer-experience measurement for impact, McKinsey & Company; Twitter: @McKinsey
- Measure visitor intent to better understand customer motivations.
“There are two overarching types of visitor intent – informational intent and transactional intent. Either the website user visited your page to search for information or the user is in a mindset to buy something. One way businesses measure intent is through website analytics. Successful business leaders utilize this data to learn: the terms that attract users to the site, which pages users visit, and how long users stay on web pages.” – The Top 5 Customer Experience Metrics: How to Measure Customer Success in the Next Normal, WalkMe; Twitter: @WalkMeInc
- Track customer churn rate to help improve retention.
“The frequency at which customers stop doing business with your brand is known as customer churn rate or attrition rate. This metric measures the percentage of customers who leave over a specific period of time. Brands can use this knowledge to pinpoint the issues that make customers leave and reduce customer loss. Every company can expect some attrition. However, a high customer churn rate leads to revenue loss and should be dealt with.” – Irina Nica, How to Measure Customer Experience: Key Metrics and Tools, Acquire.io; Twitter: @acquire_io
- Be sure to align metrics with the unique nature of your business.
“Truth is – every company has their own definition of the customer experience score because the industry they operate in varies from company to company. A B2C company might look at the scenario differently as compared to a B2B company. For a B2C company, CES might be given more importance, whereas in B2B, NPS might be preferred. It really depends on the company, and how their business works.” – Nitish Gautam, A Practical Guide to Customer Experience Measurement, Ameyo; Twitter: @AmeyoCIM
Tips for Leveraging Technology to Manage Customer Experience
- Personalization engines can help automate one-on-one conversations.
“A foundational technology for customer experience programs beyond sales and service tools is personalization engines, which automate communications to customers on a one-to-one basis. Personalization strategies include new technologies, such as mobile marketing, location-based services and beacons, which help companies identify where customers are and market to them in real time.” – Margaret Rouse, What is customer experience management (CEM or CXM)?, TechTarget SearchCustomerExperience; Twitter: @WhatIsDotCom
- Familiarize yourself with the various types of CXM software.
“CXM software can also incorporate systems like CRM, web content management, personalization engines, web analytics, customer feedback, customer data platforms, customer journey orchestration and most platforms within the Digital Experience Platform (DXP) ecosystem.” – Dom Nicastro, What Is Customer Experience Management?, CMS Wire; Twitter: @CMSWire
- Combine technology with human expertise.
“Selecting the right technology to deliver an improved CX is imperative, especially with the pandemic accelerating the need for more digital engagement. However, having the technology does not automatically ensure success. Be sure your CX strategy combines technology with the right human expertise to develop, implement, and maintain solutions that are best for your customers, employees, and company.” – Mandy Reed from Creative Virtual, How To Improve Your Company’s CX Strategies: 15 Top Tips, Forbes; Twitter: @Forbes
- Virtual reality may have a drastic impact on future customer experience.
“Perhaps more than any other current technology, virtual reality has the capability to fundamentally alter how we define a customer experience. Used by a number of brands to enhance customer experience VR can immerse consumers providing them with new experiences of a product or service. Designed to provide a sensory experience, it captures the attention and imagination of a consumer quite unlike any other technology and marketers with vision are making the most of its uniqueness.” – 5 Technologies That Can Help Enhance Customer Experience, Digital Marketing Institute, Twitter: @dmigroup
- Create an agile and connected IT environment.
“The cloud enables companies to be fast, dynamic and flexible – giving your organization the ability to test new projects that are cost-effective and low-risk – allowing you to use technology to meet customer demands quicker. By easily connecting SaaS applications such as customer databases, Big Data analytics, web and mobile apps, you can digitally record all touch-points to create a 360-degree view of your customer.” – Jennifer Lund, How Customer Experience Drives Digital Transformation, SuperOffice; Twitter: @SuperOfficeAS
- Use technology to remember customer preferences.
“Customers tell us about their preferences all the time in ways that they often forget about. Your company’s job is to listen and remember. Tracking your customer’s preferences with a CRM can make a world of difference in creating remarkable, memorable experiences your customers will want to share with everyone they know. Remembering what they like and providing that experience again is a great way to get them talking.” – Chelsea Segal, 4 Ways Technology Can Help Create A Better Customer Experience, Cox BLUE; Twitter: @coxbusiness
- Create a mobile app that drives customer loyalty.
“Mobile apps are a place where customers can have meaningful interactions with brands. In fact, experiences of mobile apps can be a make-or-break factor that drives lasting customer loyalty. The mobile app market may be saturated, but that doesn’t mean mobile apps are less valuable as a channel for customer experience.” – Ashwini Dave, How to Revolutionize Your Customer Experience With Technology, The Manifest; Twitter: @the__manifest
- Implement website automation technologies.
“Don’t go with a few people’s opinions that customers don’t like automation, because it’s not true. A large number of people are actually looking for features like an FAQ section page and another feature to chat with a chatbot to get real-time fast solutions to their query. By using automation for such tasks, you will allow your employees to invest their time and effort into some other important tasks.” – Maneesh Sharma, Refresh your customer experience strategies with these tips and tricks, CustomerThink; Twitter: @customerthink
- Pay attention to the layout and design of your website.
“People’s behavior is increasingly stimulated by external factors (i.e. recommendations, references or music), as opposed to internal factors (i.e. own opinion and attitude). Therefore, external factors such as the layout and design of an ecommerce platform or physical store are rising in important. When these external factors are more noticeable or present, consumers are more likely to adjust their behavior to these factors.” – Four ways how technology can improve customer experience, Consultancy.eu; Twitter: @Consultancy_eu
- Use data analytics to personalize content.
“Nowadays, data analytics can be deployed to evaluate a customer’s behavior and interests across all touchpoints, and segmenting them accordingly into a separate list based on a set of parameters, or even enabling you to reach out to them on a completely personal basis in the same way that e-commerce newsletters recommend items similar to the ones we viewed on their websites.” – Pritom Das, How to Use Tech to Revamp the Customer Service Experience, Entrepreneur; Twitter: @Entrepreneur
- Be responsive to customer interactions on social media.
“Social media has evolved beyond networking and emerged as a major customer service tool. With 92% of people more likely to trust the opinions of their peers over advertisements, businesses need to be responsive and offer spontaneous social media interactions to manage customer complaints while also preventing any negative marketing due to unresolved issues.” – Improve customer experience with intelligent technology, Smart Insights; Twitter: @smartinsights