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.

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 that you collect in the minds of customers. And it spills out time and again by their 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 who are aiding that new business.

➡️ Lay the foundation: Once you can visualize the current landscape of your referrals, start to build a foundation around it. Put down on paper your goals, channels of communications, referral criteria, 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 colours. Some of your happy and hardcore customers won’t be vocal about your business; others, who just like your brand, will go at length 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 experience of usage is extremely important.

The best way to ensure this urgency is to set up interesting trigger emails or messages that ask for the referrals non-intrusively.  

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, 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 sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, G2, and so on, letting you grasp the attention of consumers you wouldn’t otherwise get.

What it means is, 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 with 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 the unquenchable thirst that humans have 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, reach out to 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 ways of 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 it was when they were thinking about the purchase. You can easily nail it by devising follow-up services like training on your product usage or the 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 only till 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, 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 for a long time. By these simple gestures, you are reaffirming your unflinching commitment to them.

Though this time of the year - where 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 the personal and professional lives of customers.

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 which will define the customer experience in 2022.

1. Omnichannel won’t just become important but unavoidable

The most notifiable thing 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 up 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

What it suggests is 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 then 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

Earlier, 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 like an impossibility.

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 just not enough for brands to do lip service for the causes that are key to the substance of the world. Brands should demonstrate it - that too with crystal clear transparency. In fact, in 2022, 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- they are acting on it also. 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. Human touch will remain inevitable and irreplaceable

Amidst the blitzkrieg-like onslaught of IoT, cutting-edge devices, instant messaging services, the good old yearning for human interaction will remain intact.

The comfort of being at the receiving end of an authentic human voice, with a unique tint of intuitiveness, is beyond the realm of machines. Moreover, technology can only aid the relationship, not fortify it.

That's precisely why the delicate delta between immersive design, warm human interaction, and real-time data analytics will form the crucible for CX in 2022.

Gartner has predicted that by 2024, 40% of consumers will “trick behavior tracking metrics to intentionally devalue the personal data collected about them.” It’s very indicative of consumers' unwillingness to be treated as a mere product and desire for human-like interaction.

“Companies with the best price, coolest product or most memorable marketing do not have an advantage compared with companies that provide “empathy at scale” in safe, secure and seamless experiences.” – IDC

It’s, then, safe to conclude that brands will focus on the aspects which were ignored or half-heartedly addressed in the past, as the current regulatory, economic, and social landscapes demand a total overhaul of archaic practices.

Brands that will balance the needs of the customer and the employee with the needs of the customer experience will succeed only those who will succeed.

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.