Are you losing customers despite having a great product? One reason for customer churn or attrition is a poor customer experience. In fact, it’s the reason 80 percent of consumers decide to leave a brand.

If you’re a customer service manager at a small business, you may find it more difficult than someone at a large business to provide a great customer experience (CX). Perhaps you feel you don’t have the resources or time needed to define and integrate a customer experience strategy.

However, if you fail to implement a well-defined CX strategy, you’ll lose your competitive edge in the market as well as revenue in both the short and long term.

1. Get to know your customers to create a CX vision

For a positive customer experience, you must thoroughly understand the unique needs and expectations of your customers. For instance, one customer may want to be guided through how to use a product, while another is comfortable with online video tutorials. Once you know what they prefer, provide your customers exactly that.

For your small business to ace customer experience, these are the steps to follow:

Create customer personas

Get your customer-facing teams to brainstorm and identify different customer personas. Find out the common pain points and challenges. When you anticipate customer needs, you’re better prepared to deal with unique customers.

Create customer persona

Build a customer persona based on these attributes (Source)

Understand the customer lifecycle

A positive customer experience focuses on retaining customers and converting them into brand advocates. You’ll upsell more after a customer becomes a brand advocate.

However, the customer lifecycle isn’t linear. You have to share awareness content with your brand advocates to keep them engaged, and by effect, loyal to your brand. Insights from the customer lifecycle can help you predict and prevent customer attrition.

Here’s a snapshot of the five stages of the customer lifecycle:

Five stages of the customer lifecycle

Capture customer feedback

Use social listening tools to gather feedback in real time and get insights on customer sentiments toward your brand. This will help you analyze and understand reasons for customer churn. You can then work on improving your customer interactions and targeting pain points effectively to personalize each customer’s experience.

Create a customer journey map

Study how your customers interact with your brand and understand the challenges they go through in the process. This helps you anticipate scenarios, potential questions, and customer requests. Then you can train your staff on how to handle customers better and ways to offer a positive experience to them.

2. Know your competitors and stay ahead of them

You need to know how your competitors position themselves in the market. Find out what you can about their customers and prospects to learn how you can better position your brand for the same target audience. Tweak your customer interaction strategy and focus on what differentiates your product to win over customers.

Here’s how you can gain competitor knowledge:

Run a SWOT analysis

Know your competitors’ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) against your own. You should do two types of SWOT analysis:

For product

Evaluate the competitor’s product for its features versus your own product’s offering. Understand the strong and popular features that are offered by your competition and let it inform your strategy to improve features with your own product. You should also take into account your product’s strong features, and continue to develop those that are most popular among customers.

Conduct market research to develop features that address customer pain points that are not being met by your competitors. Leveraging these market opportunities is a good way to help you attract new customers and retain existing ones.

For customer service

Analyze what “customer service” means for your organization. Dig into your customer service processes and analyze each level of customer touch point to understand the strengths and weaknesses. Research and analyze customer reviews to learn what your competition is doing better than you to provide a holistic customer experience. Study repeated customer behaviors, motivations, and attitudes to overcome the threats from the competitor environment. This data can help you revise your business targets and goals to match your CX strategy.

3. Improve your business processes to make them more customer-centric

CX is the sum of each and every interaction that a customer has with your brand, including in the pre- and post-sale phases.

To deliver a positive experience and build loyalty, integrate your business processes to make them more customer-centric. A successful and positive CX is when you can deliver a product that justifies the promises you’ve made via ads or marketing. You should be able to bridge the gap between customer expectations and your marketing claims.

Here are a few focus areas that can help you achieve this:

Employ a single customer-centric voice for your brand

Monitor communication across all customer touch points to ensure that your employees consistently demonstrate your customer-centric business values. Done right, this could give you a competitive advantage by improving customer engagement with your brand.

Invest in resources that improve customer service

Audit current customer service processes and prioritize preferred support channels, such as social media, website live chat, and phone support. You should also offer a knowledge base for customers that prefer to find answers on their own.

Ensure that your resources cater to your customers in accordance to your overall brand. A step-by-step action plan can help you avoid overspending or scope creep when implementing new tools.

Use feedback to improve product and purchase experience

Gather employee and customer feedback on your products and services with the help of surveys. Use these insights to prioritize improvements.

In general, focus on offering simplicity and ease of use in your products so that you offer convenience to your customers.

4. Seek software that supports CX

First, analyze your budget and business requirements to help you choose the right CX software. Review the many different vendors in the market and their offerings. To help you make an informed decision, here are some of the core software features to check out:

Survey tools Ask customers about their individual experiences to learn about their likes, dislikes, and pain points.
Channel monitoring tools Monitor omnichannel and multichannel contact centers to understand your company’s performance.
Social monitoring tools Monitor, manage, and improve interactions on social media with customers.
Speech analytics Gather insights about a customer’s phone or video conversations with your employees. Using speech analytics, learn the emotional states of customers, as this can help you improve your communication strategy for more effective results.
Text analytics Analyze your employees’ text-based interactions with your customers. Use these insights to understand customer frustrations, expectations, and areas of improvement.
Online analytics Get insights about online components such as the time customers spend on company’s online resources, i.e., your website and social media page. Identify what works and what doesn’t, so that you only implement the successful elements in your other channels.

5. Measure your CX strategy and stay agile

Measuring customer experience in tangible terms is crucial. Some of the key metrics to track are NPS (Net Promoter Score), website user experience, and social media sentiments.

Here are a few other things you need to keep in mind when measuring CX:

Ensure data ownership

CX data comes from various sources and departments such as marketing, sales, and product. A major challenge to overcome in this area is lack of data ownership.

However, you can counter this challenge and ensure accountability by appointing multiple data owners across departments. For example, assign one single point of contact for marketing data and another for CRM data.

Take all variables into account

Customer satisfaction drivers, such as price, quality, and features, change over time. That’s why you need to consider the unique metrics for each channel and track those when these drivers change or increase.

Integrate records for better agility

If all your data sources are integrated, you’ll be able to decipher CX metrics accurately, and with greater convenience. You’ll also be more agile with implementing changes in or improving your strategy to boost customer experience across various customer touch points.

Next steps and additional resources

Here’s how you can ensure the successful implementation of your customer experience strategy across the organization:

Successfully implement CX strategy