Seven loyalty-boosting customer experience strategies from leading brands
CX Best Practices
How do you know when you’ve succeeded in creating a world-class customer experience? The answer can be summed up in one word: Loyalty. There’s a symbiotic relationship between customer support and loyalty, with exceptional customer experience (CX) turning consumers into devoted fans of your brand.
With a recent study conducted by the Chief Marketing Officer Council and SAP Hybris finding that an ongoing negative customer experience will lead 47 percent of consumers to stop doing business with a company, it’s never been more important to get it right. Just ask Spotify, GoFundMe or Vivino, which have all built a large and loyal customer base.
These leading brands are just a few of the many businesses that have shared their CX expertise as part of the Voxpro Studios Podcast, an audio series created by Voxpro — powered by TELUS International. Drawing from these and many other interviews currently available for download on iTunes, Soundcloud and Stitcher, we’ve compiled seven CX strategies that can help you increase customer loyalty and build greater affinity for your brand.
1. Know your customer base
Creating loyal customers requires an in-depth understanding of their needs to ensure every brand interaction is delivering real value.
Brian Boroff, Asana’s global head of customer success, services and user operations, says that the company makes consumer research a top priority and maximizes its customer profiles by sharing them across departments. “We have an absolutely amazing user-research team here, and a head of user research who has been so tenacious in making sure we have a very clear set of user personas that are socialized widely across the company,” says Boroff. “It’s a lot of research, learning, testing and iteration.”
2. Gather customer feedback
Along these same lines, it’s important that companies know what their customers want and need from the customer experience. This can vary based on factors like industry and demographic makeup, and it can also change over time.
Roisin Callaghan, U.S. CEO of brand experience at event agency Cogs and Marvel, praises companies that survey their customers and launch initiatives that have a direct impact on their lives. “I just think that’s really central to moving forward and to giving better service: Listening to the customers and actually making changes that are in accordance with what they actually need, not what you think they need,” she says.
3. Think of the customer experience as a production
Deliver spot-on customer experience in every exchange, and you’re bound to see a change in how consumers feel about your brand. This is the mindset that drives Chad Boonsupa, global vice-president of customer experiences at online wine community Vivino. “When I look at our customers now, I think about them as guests,” he explains. “As customer experience professionals it’s our job to provide that end-to-end seamless experience. I see my role and my team’s role as being kind of backstage.”
4. Embrace diversity among your agents
If you aren’t already convinced that the customer experience is better if you’ve got a diverse workforce, take Mark Gainey’s word for it. As co-founder and chairman of fitness-tracking company Strava, Gainey has found that diversity in the workplace is a must for connecting with customers. “We want as diverse a team as possible, because that shared perspective and that diversity is going to help us really think of the needs of our customers in as clear a way as possible,” he says.
5. Employ agents with empathy
Buzzword or not, empathy has become a focal point for companies eager to improve their relationships with their customers. As reported by theHarvard Business Review, customer service that demonstrates empathy can turn even the most disgruntled customers into loyal advocates of your brand.
Morgan Wood’s strategy, therefore, is to enlist customer service agents who have heart. The head of customer happiness at GoFundMe says, “We don’t hire for people who can just burn through tickets and just really answer emails fast. Anyone can answer emails fast. What we look for with our happiness agents is someone who can think fast and also someone who can connect with someone in a very empathetic way.” To effectively show empathy, Wood wants his agents to “put themselves in someone else’s shoes,” and “really do their best to feel what someone else is going through.”
6. Offer omnichannel support
“Consumers are looking to interact using more channels than ever before,” says Peter Ryan, industry analyst at BPO and outsourcing consultancy Ryan Strategic Advisory. “At the end of the day, if we’re placing the emphasis on customer loyalty — which so many companies are doing regardless of vertical — you’ve got to be able to satisfy the needs of each individual consumer,” he adds.
Just how important is an omnichannel customer service strategy? “We’ve all heard the statistic that it costs six times more to win a new consumer than it does to retain one,” Ryan says. “And if it means providing all of the channels consumers are looking for, well, that’s a great way to satisfy at least one element of loyalty.”
From Multichannel to Omnichannel Customer Experience
A checklist to help organizations assess their readiness to make the jump from multichannel to omnichannel CX.
7. Make your interactions fun
Here’s a final thought from a customer-experience leader with a beloved consumer brand: Don’t forget the value of fun. “We really focus on sort of having an easy personal fun tone of voice,” says Chug Abramowitz, vice-president customer support, social media and marketing at Spotify. “We want our advisors to be a little jokey and have a good time with our customers.” When successful, brands that are able to strike a lighthearted tone stand to inspire feelings of happiness and trust, which serve as critical building blocks for long-term loyalty.
With customer experience and loyalty so closely linked, companies have a significant opportunity to get lasting results from their customer service delivery. For more in-depth insights from CX insiders, be sure to explore full episodes of the Voxpro Studios Podcast.