Today’s thriving business environment has spawned a new breed of more capricious consumers who have no time to be loyal. Gone are the good old days where third-generation customers would still drive a Ford simply because they found their grandparents tied to this particular brand.
Worse still, the proliferation of different data-oriented technologies has given consumers a leeway to access unprecedented volumes of product information. Moreover, millennial consumers who prefer buying experiences over products have also taken it upon themselves to dig out more info about the brands behind the products. True to this, research conducted by Deloitte shows that 49% of consumers collect intel on a product prior to making their purchase decision, with the proportion expected to grow in the subsequent years.
With all that in mind, it is important for enterprises to ensure that their customer experience design-both online and offline- is more proactive and customer-oriented.
Amid this puzzling and fast-changing narrative, looking for a startup developer to help develop a customer experience software solution may seem like the next best option. However, it is imperative to understand that customer experience design is more about people and less of technology.
And even if they helped you come to develop such a solution, you would have to contend with the high startup developer salary.
In this article, we are going to look at customer experience design, its effects on different business models, and how small businesses can successfully implement a solid CX strategy, and most importantly, why it is important for small businesses to have one.
What is Customer Experience Design?
Customer experience design(CX) is the practice of aligning products/services with all the touchpoints through which customers interact with a particular brand. Unlike advertising campaigns, CX is designed to deliver exceptional end-to-end experience throughout the customer’s journey map right from check-in experience, customer service, ad campaigns, and even how the store smells, looks, and sounds.
CX design and (UX) design are often interchangeably used, simply because they deal with product or service interaction. However, UX design primarily deals with individual products or services, while the CX design adopts a broader and commercial view.
As you would expect, CX’s broader and commercial approach helps enterprises develop empathy and purpose into everything they do–customer services included. This is particularly important considering that a report by The Good indicates the 86% of consumers will spend more on companies deemed to have excellent customer service.
But perhaps the best part about good CX design is that satisfied customers also become brand ambassadors. Research conducted by Harvard Business Review has shown that 23% of customers with positive experience can refer up to 10 people to your business through the word of mouth.
E-commerce Vs Brick and Mortar Store Customer Experience Design
Despite the spiking growth of the e-commerce and direct-to-consumer models, the two are often pitted against each other in terms of the effective implementation of customer experience design.
However, the two have distinct differences that are important to understand if you’re looking to launch a retail business using either of the two models.
If e-commerce retailers are to deliver a memorable online shopping experience, they need to first understand and visualize how their retail stores look like. This allows them to keep the customer experience design plan aligned with the touchpoints and simultaneously create consistency throughout the customer’s journey map— including on all their online outreach platforms.
Although online shopping is convenient, customers are also looking to buy experiences, which can only be achieved by visiting a physical store. As such, brick and mortar retail stores can’t afford to rest on their laurels and expect customers to keep rolling in. In fact, they need to do more in terms of engaging their customers and offering a great shopping experience to keep them coming back.
Some of the key components of brick and mortar CX design include free parking options, facility cleanliness, the convenience of hours, and employee attitude and knowledge.
Along with that, adopting omnichannel flexibility can also help optimize the sale of goods or services. This may come in the form of leveraging mobile strategies such as push notifications, mobile apps, coupons, etc. to drive traffic to stores and drive loyalty with customers.
Importance of Customer Experience Design to Small Businesses
Unlike huge corporations that have all the resources to provide their customers with the best possible customer experience, the cash-strapped SMEs tend to overlook its importance. Unfortunately, failing to have a CX strategy in place can have a negative impact on your brand, which is the vehicle your business relies on to thrive.
Below, we have listed the benefits of having a CX as a small business:
Facilitates Better Customer Mapping
One of the biggest benefits of a customer experience design is that it can help you better map your customer’s journey. Customer journey mapping shows you a detailed timeline of how customers interact with your brand at the various touchpoints, simultaneously describing their motivations, emotions, and context.
Armed with such insights, it becomes possible to identify gaps in your customer experience design and suggest ways to seal them. Along with that, a CX design gives you the ability to measure customer’s loyalty and commitment towards your brand, which is important in developing a better customer journey blueprint for your organization.
Helps Align Resources To Meet The Customer’s Needs
Every employee in your organization plays an integral part in implementing your customer experience strategy. They interact with customers on a daily basis and even design product features.
However, there are those that are good at resolving customer issues while others simply lack the knowledge of dealing with difficult situations. Although the former are great assets to your organization, the latter often lack empathy and may hurt your business and eventually the brand.
By having a solid CX design in place, you are able to hire customer-centric individuals as well as use it to set precedent on the customer experience specialist salary based on their performance. It also allows you to align your training resources accordingly for purposes of training.
3 Customer Experience Tips For Small Business Owners
Build Good Rapport with your Customers
Unlike the fortune 500 companies, your small business has a real opportunity to create a personalized customer experience. By regularly reaching out, getting to know by name, and even remembering the faces of your customers makes them feel valued and the interactions more memorable.
From the one-off customer to the daily regulars, always ensure that everyone gets the same, standardized service level. By ensuring you have a solid process throughout the entire customer lifecycle, you are assured that everyone is receiving the same level of awesomeness.
Learn From Customer Feedback
As a small business owner, always make sure that your efforts are guided by the customer’s opinions. Whether it’s through customer surveys, open invitations, or online platforms, customers will feel more comfortable knowing that they are being listened to.
Customer experience design is more of human to human interaction and not technology. The services your customer gets while interacting with your business should be the pillar of your operations. However, in order to deliver an unrivaled shopping experience, you need to know your audience, learn as much as you can about their goals and needs, and most importantly, ensure that they have the relevant information to make informed decisions.