What Exactly is Customer Experience? How is it Different from Customer Service?
Customer Experience is the entirety of interactions that your customer has with your business, from interfacing with your website, to interacting with an employee during a purchase, and even using your bathroom. Customer Experience is all of it! It’s the Full Monte, if you will. Customer Service is a ‘subset’ of the Customer Experience.
In a nutshell, Customer Service is the interaction between people. It’s ONE of the ways that your customer interacts with your business.
The Customer Experience encompasses all of the ways your customer has experiences and interacts with your business. The very beginning of these interactions fall into the category called Customer Acquisition.
What are the Costs of Customer Acquisition?
Marketing, advertising, placing ads, responding to reviews, promoting via social media and print, etc. These are some of the items that fall into the category of Customer Acquisition, or gaining customers. Getting the word out and finding customers is time consuming and costly. It’s a necessary part of running a business and it’s very expensive.
Customer Acquisition Costs
“It is anywhere from 5-25 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to keep a current one.”
~Harvard Business Review
Customer acquisition costs have increased. Just a few years ago it was 6-7 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it was to keep an existing one.
It’s vitally important that after spending that money and investing your time to acquire your new customer that you do all that you can to keep them. Otherwise you’re wasting valuable time and resources. Your top customers are your marketing “Golden Ticket”.
Businesses who prioritize acquisition over retention are missing out in a big way. ~Help Scout
Why is it Important to Analyze Your Customer Experience?
Analyzing, paying attention to, and working on improving your Customer Experience saves you money by increasing your customer satisfaction and customer retention rates.
Increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits anywhere from 25% to 95%.
When your customers have consistently great experiences with your company, they are far more likely to recommend you to their friends, family, and colleagues. Word of mouth marketing is the most cost efficient and effective way to grow your business!
I learned this the hard way after spending thousands of dollars on beautiful glossy ads that were competing with all the other beautiful glossy ads. They brought me zero new business. This is not to say that placing ads is a waste of money; not at all. Strategic ads are a part of customer acquisition costs (the ones I chose out of the gate were just extremely expensive!)
It’s important to be strategic about advertising and know that simply bringing in the customer is only the first step in the process of growing your business. Bringing them in won’t do a heck of a lot of good if you cannot keep them, serve them well, and get them to recommend your business.
If the only strategy (or the biggest strategy) to growing a business is bringing in customers, it’s a giant swing and a miss. Businesses must look at the rest of their Customer Experience journey and work to improve it in order to maximize the money spent on customer acquisition.
“When it comes to making a purchase, 64% of people find customer experience more important than price.”
Especially in crowded markets, it’s a safer bet to compete on CX than on price. ~Help Scout
How Do You Improve Your Customer Experience?
Two ingredients are ‘must haves’ when creating an excellent Customer Experience. Customers want two things to be consistent. They want:
- Consistent Product Experience
- Consistent Service Experience
Consistent Product Experience
Many companies don’t have too much of a problem refining their process to create consistent products. It involves creating guides or manuals (and then training) employees how to “make the things” the same way each time. The product must be the same each time it is delivered to your customer. (I.E. I would not, as a customer, enjoy spending money on a hot, dairy free mocha with just the right amount of chocolate one day and the next time ordering the same thing but receiving a mocha that’s sickly sweet.)
Consistent Service Experience
Providing a consistent service experience is a different ball of wax. Providing a consistent service experience requires people to be trained. Training people is akin to trying to catch a chicken.
When working with my staff and with business owners to train their staff we start with what I call The Big Three. These Big Three are the foundational building blocks to creating a consistent customer experience with people in your business.
For more on what The Big Three are and how to start training them, click on this link.
Samantha works with business owners helping to ‘tame the overwhelm’, assisting with customer acquisition & retention, employee training & retention, and honing your Customer Experience so it kicks butt.
She conducts workshops and training in hospitality, Customer Experience, and creating a culture in the workplace that inspires and motivates employees and customers.