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While our previous blog explained how to motivate employees with gifts and rewards, this guide focuses on the methods to harness the hard-earned customer experience by using it to grow your bottom line and make timely changes in the approach by keeping an eye on the upcoming CX trends.

When your Herculean efforts of delivering a stellar customer experience have paid off perfectly, you should think about harnessing it to your benefit. Distil it strategically to grow your bottom line rapidly.

As we continue to look farther down the revolutionary road of customer experience in 2024, it is a fact that generative AI will play an essential role in meeting customer needs and adapting based on their ever-changing expectations. Keeping up with the requirements of personalized and straightforward customer service, here is how leading organizations will utilize the power of emerging  “trends” to meet varied needs.

A Comprehensive Guide to Customer Experience [2022]
Customer experience is the holistic impression that a customer has on a brand in every aspect of a buyer’s journey. This impacts the bottom line of a brand, including revenue.

Here is a sketch of how you can do it.

How to Deliver Great Customer Experience?

Minute understanding of what accelerates customer experience will help you implement the aforementioned strategies in a fact-of-the-matter way.

Stats on how to Deliver Great Customer Experience

While you can use many different methods to delight your customers and have them raving about your support to their friends, here is our three-step guide to delivering a great customer experience.

1. Ensuring new leads through a strong referral setup

The greatest benefit of a stellar customer experience is the enduring goodwill you collect in customers' minds. And it spills out repeatedly by suggesting your brand to everyone who comes into their vicinity.

You can masterfully leverage these sporadic suggestions to elevate your sales by fitting them into a well-oiled referral setup.

Remember: Nielsen mentions that 92% of people trust a recommendation from a peer, and 70% of people will trust a recommendation from someone they don’t know.

Let's now go through the basics of the referral engine:

➡️ Audit your current referral initiatives: Arrange a simple survey for your new customers to know how they heard about you. It enables you to pinpoint where new business is coming from and find the brand advocates aiding it.

➡️ Lay the foundation: Once you can visualize your referrals' current landscape, start building a foundation around it. Put down on paper your goals, channels of communications, referral criteria, and categories of rewards, and check out their financial feasibility.

The most important thing is, it should reflect your brand principles and brand values.

➡️ Dole out incentives: Customers are as varied as colors. Some of your happy and hardcore customers won’t be vocal about your business; others who like your brand will go to lengths to promote your business.

Some may need a little nudge. It's, therefore, a good idea to offer something delightful — a discount on a future purchase, a small gift, etc. — in exchange for referrals. Since the second name of gifts is a delight, integrating gifts into the referrals scheme of things can prove a powder keg.

️➡️ Set up triggered emails: Referrals never happen when the moment of purchase appears like a piece of bygone history or the buying regret has consumed the buyer. That’s precisely why asking for referrals immediately after the buying or after the first usage experience is extremely important.

The best way to ensure this urgency is to set up interesting trigger emails or messages asking for non-intrusive referrals.

2. Collect and distribute positive vibes from customers

The ceaseless onslaught of ads and marketing collaterals has raised questions about their authenticity and effectiveness.

The truth is that done-only-for-the-sales conversations cut no ice with customers, making them crave the reliable and unintended source of product information and experience.

And that’s where user-generated content (UGC), in the form of reviews or product usage photos, holds vital importance.

↠ 84% of consumers say they trust peer recommendations above all other sources of advertising.

↠ 79% of people say UGC highly impacts their purchasing decisions. (Source: Stackla)

↠ Consumers find UGC 9.8x more impactful than influencer content when making a purchasing decision. (Source: Stackla)

↠ Millennials trust UGC 50% more than original content generated by the brands.

↠ UGC-based ads get 4x higher click-through rates and a 50% drop in cost-per-click than average.

↠ UGC increases conversions by 10% when included in an online purchase path. (Source: Salesforce)

↠ 90% of consumers say authenticity is important when deciding which brands they like and support (up from 86% in 2017). (Source: Stackla)

This is how you can fire up your sales funnel with UGC:

️➡️ Review sites: A diverse portfolio of reviews and user images can firmly establish you on review sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, G2, and so on, letting you grasp the attention of consumers you wouldn’t otherwise get.

What it means is that when someone goes on a searching spree for a solution like yours, you can be there with the required preparation.

example of great customer review

➡️ Website and social media: One of the most powerful places for UGC is your website and social media. Once consumers are already convinced of your products, positive reviews can tip them over the edge and plunge into the final buying.

Flaunt them on your homepage and product pages, and give an authentic reason to the people why they should buy your product.

️ ➡️ Case studies: Another way to harness customer reviews is to put them into case studies. Considering humans' unquenchable thirst for stories and scenarios, there is no better way to cement the usability of your product than crafting engaging and entertaining stories around how other people have used your product and have benefited from it.

If a positive reviewer matches your ideal buyer persona, contact him and ask for more information about use cases. Then, create a detailed and visualized study of how your product solved his problem and publish it on your website or blog.

3. Maintain and nurture loyal customers

Though it’s a no-brainer that repeat customers, an outcome of customer loyalty is an impossibility without a great customer experience (89% see customer experience as a key factor in driving customer loyalty and retention.), a quick sneak into the importance of loyal customers is crucial for the explanation of this point.

As numbers  are radical in telling the truth, don’t lie:

↠ The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%, while the probability of selling to a new prospect is only 5% to 20%.

↠ It costs up to 7x more to acquire a new customer than to retain an old one.

↠ Increasing customer retention by 5% increases profits by 25-95%.

↠ 65% of a company’s business comes from existing customers.

↠ Loyal customers spend 67% more than new ones.

↠ Existing customers are 50% more likely to try new products and spend 31% more than new customers.

↠ 82% of companies agree that customer retention is cheaper than acquisition.

Going past the first sale is, then, indeed important. The acquired good customer experience can be further used to retain customers through enhanced and refined customer experience.

Here is how you can achieve it:

➡️ Offer follow-up/post-sale training: If a customer encounters a problem after six months of purchase, your customer service and experience should be as good as they were when they were considering the purchase. You can easily nail it by devising follow-up services like training on product usage or upgrades if your products have gone through.

➡️ Give them personalized gifts: There is a reason why 61% of consumers believe that well-planned gifts are the most important way a brand can interact with them. The joy that gifts can cause regularly establishes a special connection between customers and the brand, making a brand taller and permanent in their eyes.

94% of customers who received a gift or special recognition felt more positive about a brand, and 34% said they’d purchase more from the company. Surprise gifts, like digital gift cards, are exciting incentives for customers to stay with your brand.

➡️ Continue the communication and good customer experience: Customers should never feel that you valued them until the final purchase, and now they are a forgotten entity. That’s a sure way to cull customer loyalty, as they were not and will never be short of options.

To keep them firmly anchored in the waters of your brand, maintain a steady cadence of communication with them, regardless of their average value and duration with you. To achieve this, you can use business VoIP systems and customer support software that can help your team members to provide an excellent customer experience.

Inform them about new product launches or updates, remind them if it’s time to replace or replenish a product, and re-engage with the customers who haven’t purchased it for a long time. By these simple gestures, you are reaffirming your unflinching commitment to them.

Though this time of the year - when the year sets out to recede into memory- is always right to stick your eyes in the coming times to see how the new transformations will disrupt the status quo, it’s particularly significant for this year.

In the aftermath of pandemic-borne disruptions, businesses are observing clear social, psychological, and environmental upheavals in customers' personal and professional lives.

Since only those customer experiences thrive that reflect the contours of customers’ changing lives, these upheavals will shape the upcoming customer experience - just like the hammer shapes the nail.

To let you catch the future by its tail, we have listed out key trends that will define the customer experience in 2024.

1. Omnichannel won’t just become important but unavoidable

The most noticeable of the past two years is the stunning and rapid-fire increase in digital customer and supply chain interactions.

Mckinsey’s global survey revealed that the portion of digital or digitally enabled products in companies’ portfolios has grown unprecedentedly, and respondents said that at least 80% of their customer interactions are digital.

Mckinsey gloabl survey on the state of covid 19 crisis on customers

It suggests consumers are growingly engaging with products, services, and brands through various channels and devices, ranging from mobile apps to mobile and desktop web browsers to Smart TVs to SMS and more.

This digital nativity will push businesses to create holistic and consistent multi-channel experiences. It automatically leaps into an omnichannel framework for a cohesive customer experience.

It's unsurprising that the PwC report found that the number of companies investing in the omnichannel experience has jumped from 20% to more than 80%.

2. Instant gratification will have a different meaning altogether

A few years ago, “later” might have been the option if a customer issue came. It’s a big NO now, especially when digital adoption is moving at a galloping pace. Customers demand that every micro-moment throughout the end-to-end journey should be frictionlessly and fruitfully fast. The Digital CX Week survey clarified it beyond any doubt.

Only 4% call first. 65% search Google, and 24% check the website. To put this in perspective, 96% of people attempt self-service channels before connecting with an agent. Learning curve? Customer service doesn’t begin with age-old channels. It begins with multi-channel self-service.

There is, then, a clear-cut trend-cum-actionable insight for contact center leaders: Manage the journey much earlier on. Instant gratification onwards won’t mean redressal from your end. It means how fast customers can resolve the query on their own.

3. Design-for-privacy will be in vogue

Identifying users across mobile apps and websites was the go-to method for crafting engagingly personalized communication. With new iOS changes making it difficult to collect IDFA and Goggle wiping out third-party cookies as a tracking mechanism, it seems impossible.

This will invariably force brands to find new ways to know their customers, making CX leaders think about designing for journeys that revolve around privacy and consent. This shift won’t just increase the influence of CX but let the businesses offer deeper personalized experiences without depending on third-party data.

4. Purpose will reign over profit

It’s not enough for brands to do lip service for the causes that are key to the world's substance. Brands should demonstrate it - that too with crystal clear transparency. In 2024, purpose-related criteria will matter as much as price and quality, especially for millennials and younger customers.

“94% percent of Gen Zs expect companies to take a stand on important societal issues, and 90% say they are more willing to purchase products they deem beneficial to society.” – Deloitte

Though climate sensitivity and concerns-for-the-cause were always in the trend, what has changed now is the realization that vague sustainability promises act as a deterrent for customers.

And brands are not just becoming aware of it but also acting on it. Rebecca Minkoff has started to use an AI-powered transparency tool that showcases how much water and material it requires to produce each item.

Retail giants like Amazon and Sephora let customers sort products that have made a climate pledge or are created with harmless materials, making it easier for them to rally behind responsible brands.

5. AI: Exposing organizations to vast opportunities

Overhyped as it may be, the incorporation of AI is still relatively new to the industry. According to the research done by Salesforce, 45% of service decision-makers are leaning towards using AI, recording a compelling 24% rise since 2020. It also showcases that a huge chunk of the service provider has yet to incorporate AI into their service offerings. The main reason behind this may be AI’s lack of adoption of human-like touch. However, AI continues to connect, inform, and enrich every aspect of customer service and will continue to influence the sector in the following ways:

  • Collaboration: Customer service agents have started incorporating AI technology and systems to provide faster and more accurate information to satisfy the knowledge-hunger in the users. With the assistance of AI, it will become easier to engage in more complex interactions that hold the potential to generate revenue.
  • Seamless onboarding: AI will reshape the central role in onboarding new employees, given the recruitment process has become challenging post-pandemic. 
  • Generating knowledge: Preservation and sharing knowledge is one cornerstone of any forward-thinking company. AI tools can easily automate drafting the of knowledge-based articles based on customer interactions and CRM data. This created knowledge can be used in self-service portals, turning search engines into answer engines as customers can generate the information they want faster.

In a nutshell

Building a simple yet effective customer experience is an incredibly difficult mission. From the time customers get to know your brand to the time they bid a final adieu to you, its gamut is all-capacious - shrinking the room for error almost to nill.

One tiny lapse in one remote avenue of customer interaction - and you are running a risk of losing customers.

This is what makes it mandatory for companies to know more about customers' thoughts, emotions, and states of mind and not just their income and buying habits.

The closer they are to these subjective experiences and the interactions that develop them, the better they are at connecting with the customers.

If you can incorporate this condensed analysis into the customer journey, harmonize all the internal communication and external communication channels, involve everyone in the organization, and keep it updating regularly, you’ll be able to create a magical experience your customers desire.

Till then, a splendid customer experience is more a dream than an attainable reality. Rewards and gifts can effectively bridge the gap between that dream and reality.

Prasad Dhamdhere

Prasad Dhamdhere

A strong believer of Nietzsche's saying: "All I need is a sheet of paper and something to write with, and then I can turn the world upside down," I help organizations reach more people through words.