Customer experience is now the primary differentiator for brands. Forget price and product. It’s customer experience strategies that will drive sales in 2021 and beyond. There’s a heap of research that proves customer experience is the new battlefront for marketers. So you can’t afford to be behind the curve on this one.
What you will learn in this article
- Why customer experience is crucial
- The top 6 trends for customer experience strategies in 2021
- What these trends mean for your small business
- What is CRM
- How CRM can help your small business
Why customer experience is king
Gartner has highlighted customer experience (sometimes shortened to CX) as the new keystone to business success. Almost three-quarters of customers are now willing to buy based solely on customer experience. And around 16% of buyers are willing to pay you a premium to secure an outstanding customer experience.
It also estimated that companies focusing on customer experience have higher year-on-year growth in repeat business, customer retention, and customer value. If you wish to stay ahead of the competition, you need to keep up with the changes in customer experience.
What’s trending in customer experience strategies in 2021?
Today’s customer is far more than willing to do more than in the past. And this includes troubleshooting problems. A knowledge base is a vital resource for sales personnel to store, compile, and share helpful information in a central online library.
But it’s also a very handy resource for customers if the knowledge library is well structured, informative, and well-researched. Instead of raising a ticket or calling a helpline, many customers will go to a knowledge base first to find an answer themselves. The knowledge base should include your collective know-how plus helpful FAQ content based on customer feedback.
Supporting customers will become increasingly conversational
The objective of customer experience is to develop long-term customer relationships. Instead of focusing on one-off troubleshooting issues, the trend now is toward personalized conversations. This trend is what can help you and your brand to better connect with customers. There are numerous ways of doing this, including:
- Offering multiple communication channels so customers can contact you their preferred way
- Ensuring you are well organized to respond to email, live chat, and social media posts
- Deploying live chat using either agents or conversational AI chatbots
The key objective is to drive two-way conversations that arrive at problem resolutions as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Personalizing service no longer stretches as far as using customer names. It has gone far, far beyond that. We are now talking about preemptive real-time personalized offers based on customer data.
According to Deloitte, 80% of buyers are now prepared to buy from your brand if it provides a personalized experience. They also suggest that hyper-personalization of your offering can bring up to 800% Return on Investment. These are big numbers, for sure. But the chief takeaway from all of this is how you can use tailor-made products and services to deliver key messages to customers at the right time.
Self-service and enablement tools for staff
While empowering customers to go DIY, it’s equally important to do the same for your agents. Customer-facing staff need to access up-to-date information and the right tools to deliver a class-leading customer experience. The only constant is changes, so it’s vital customer experience staff stay on top of internal business processes and protocols.
An internal staff self-service tool will keep staff updated and better able to handle tickets, phone calls, email, and chats. Investment in this area will help you and your team to drive structured and consistent training at scale.
Increased emphasis on customer retention and loyalty
These have always been trends but have recently grown ever more crucial. Boosting customer retention and loyalty is not a quick fix. It is a long process involving numerous strategies to drive both retention and loyalty.
Stick with testimonials, user reviews, case studies, and so on to build customer confidence in your brand. But you should set customer expectations early and often through the customer lifecycle. And don’t forget to reward loyalty with rewards and your appreciation. If you want to move to the next level, be more conscientious about gathering feedback. And acting upon it.
CRM will take over
If you have railed against CRM in the past, your time is up. CRM magazine has found that over 90% of businesses with ten or more staff now use a CRM system.
And equally compelling are findings from Nucleus Research. They found that you can get an average Return On Investment of $8.71 for every dollar spent by using a CRM system.
The bottom line in all of this is your bottom line. Even for small businesses, the power of CRM is inescapable. The argument in favor of CRM has been comprehensively proven.
What is CRM?
Customer Relationship Management software is a set of tools to manage and monitor all your customer relationships. It is a central hub for sales and marketing teams to view client interactions across all your channels. But this definition is selling CRM somewhat short. At its heart, you can:
- Build stronger relationships with customers
- Embrace best practice
- Manage and exceed customer expectations
How CRM can help your small business
Customer experience – CRM allows you to enhance your customer experience by improving efficiency and productivity significantly.
Exceeding expectations – CRM enables you to deliver on your promises. And offer personalized support to reinforce the customer’s experience.
Insights – Use CRM-generated insights to sell more by building long-lasting and organic relationships with customers.
It’s beyond transparent that small businesses are not immune to the changing face of customer experience. To continue to exist in today’s highly competitive world, small businesses must embrace the customer experience focus. Doing so is vastly simpler to accomplish with the advent of CRM. For small businesses, the affordable entry point is cloud-based CRM.