The SaaS and fintech sectors are more competitive than ever; as such, customer experience has become a key differentiator. With a mere 3% of US companies labelled “customer-obsessed” by Forrester - and the biggest drop in customer experience in recent history on the books last year - there’s plenty of room for improvement.
A great customer experience can lead to customer loyalty, advocacy, and ultimately, business success. Not to mention, the baseline consumer expectation continues to grow - if you aren’t managing (or exceeding) these, you won’t be getting their business.
According to Salesforce, 80% of customers say the experience a company provides is as important as its products and services. 85% of B2B buyers say they expect experiences to be increasingly better considering the amount of data companies collect (and the impact of AI). 63% say their experiences fall short. This can have a massive impact on your bottom line. 52% would switch to a competitor after one bad experience.
So how do you build a powerful customer experience that sets your company apart from the rest? In this article, we'll explore five steps to building a powerful customer experience that will help you drive growth and customer advocacy.
Step 1: Understand your customers
The first step to building a powerful customer experience is to understand your customers. This means going beyond demographics and understanding their needs, preferences and pain points. Conducting customer research, such as surveys, focus groups and interviews, can provide valuable insights into your customers' experiences with your company.
A recent study found that “B2B customers prefer interactions that fuel their psychological needs - even if they require more time or cost more money”. They want to be given options instead of a quick “fix-it”, they want to regularly interact with a human and they want help growing their skills.
Additionally, it's important to gather feedback from your customers on an ongoing basis. This can be done by implementing customer satisfaction surveys, Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys, or by simply asking for feedback after a customer interaction. By understanding your customers, you can tailor experiences to meet their needs and expectations. According to Freshworks, 80% of consumers are more likely to buy from brands that offer more personalised experiences.
Step 2: Create a customer experience dashboard
A customer experience dashboard is a powerful tool that allows you to track and measure your customers' interactions with your company. It provides a visual representation of key metrics, such as their satisfaction scores, NPS and customer retention, allowing you to quickly identify areas for improvement.
To create a customer experience dashboard, you'll need to determine which metrics are most important to your company and your customers. This will vary depending on your industry and business goals, but can include:
- Customer retention rate
- Customer churn rate
- Net Promoter Score (NPS)
- Customer Effort Score (CES)
- Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) Score
- Customer lifetime value (CLV)
- Average response time
- Average resolution time (ART)
- Customer referral rate
Once you have identified your key metrics, you can use a variety of tools, such as Excel, Google Sheets, or a customer experience management platform, to create your dashboard.
Step 3: Hire a customer experience specialist
A customer experience specialist is a dedicated professional who is responsible for managing and improving the customer experience. They are experts in customer service, customer advocacy and customer retention. Hiring a specialist can bring a fresh perspective to your company and help you identify areas for improvement in your customer experience.
They can also work closely with your customer service team to ensure that they are providing excellent service and meeting customer needs. They can also collaborate with your marketing team to create customer advocacy programs and initiatives.
With everyone tightening their budgets, cutting investment in support, whatever that looks like (tech, agency, internal hire, etc.), often looks like an easy win. Annie Gendreau, Director of Experience at Valtech, warns in a recent Forbes article, “Cutting back on CX projects and investments will be more destructive than helpful. Today, people are looking for exceptional experiences from their chosen brands and from their workplaces.
Good CX is about both client and employee experience. The brands who continue to put human realities and needs at the center of their decisions and investments will emerge stronger. Instead of cutting investment, double down…Aligning across teams will help companies avoid silos while working to satisfy and delight their highly complex and always evolving customer base. Investments in CX, despite the economic context, will be a lifesaver.”
Step 4: Use customer experience insights to drive improvements
Once you have a customer experience dashboard and a dedicated customer experience specialist, it's time to use the insights you have gathered to drive improvements in your customer experience. This can include making changes to your products or services, improving your customer service processes, or implementing new technology to enhance the customer experience.
It's important to involve your entire organisation in this process. By sharing customer experience insights with all departments, you can ensure that everyone is working towards the same goal of providing an exceptional customer experience. At BIAS, we are firm believers that your entire revenue operations team (marketing, sales, customer success and yes, even product) should be built around the customer experience, from first touch through upsell and retention.
86% of B2B customers expect companies to be well-informed about their personal information during service interactions. And according to Zendesk’s CX Trends Report 2023, 70% of customers expect anyone they interact with to have the full context of their relationship, so full transparency and a single view of the customer are vital.
Step 5: Foster customer advocacy
Customer advocacy is the act of promoting and supporting a company or brand. It is a powerful tool for building a strong customer experience and driving customer loyalty. According to G2’s 2023 Buyer Behavior Report, 84% of software buyers use review sites and customer satisfaction ranks as the most important factor when selecting a service provider. By fostering customer advocacy, you can turn your satisfied customers into brand ambassadors who will spread positive word-of-mouth about your company - which in turn positively impacts your bottom line.
One way to foster customer advocacy is by creating a customer advocacy program. This can include offering rewards or incentives for customers who refer new business, providing exclusive content or discounts to loyal customers, or featuring customer success stories on your website or social media channels.
Building a powerful customer experience takes time and effort, but the rewards are well worth it. Improved CX can increase your revenue by 10-15% and customer-centric brands report profits that are 60% higher than those that fail to focus on it.