We can all pinpoint experiences with brands that stick out in our minds – the ones that really felt like they ‘got’ you and the ones that left a bad taste in your mouth. These experiences are made up of numerous touchpoints that influence how you feel about a brand, and how you will ultimately spend your money. 

Customer Experience is quickly overtaking price and product as the key differentiator. Customers are now pointing to CX as the reason they choose one brand over another. It’s no longer just a buzzword that companies can employ to make themselves sound attractive to audiences; it’s an approach that, when adopted, can ensure growth.

It’s one reason why a growing list of companies are adding a Customer Experience Associate (Manager or Director) to their org charts.

Customer experience is the key to growing your business. 

Ok, so let’s just get one thing straight: customer experience is not customer service. While both are critical parts of your business that impact customer satisfaction and retention, they are not the same. 

Think of customer experience (or CX) as the experience your customers have with your brand as a whole. 

Every interaction (or touchpoint) makes up their buyer’s journey and impacts how they feel about your brand; every social post, ad, website visit, purchase, thank you email, and conversation with your customer service team… (See what we did there?) Customer service is a helpful interaction along their journey with your brand. Generally, a reaction to a problem or question can have a significant impact on driving loyalty. In fact, 96% of customers say excellent customer service builds trust making them more likely to re-purchase or, even better, recommend your company to others.

But why should customer experience be at the root of every business decision? 

When you put your customer at the centre of your marketing, sales, and service, every aspect of your business becomes devoted to their happiness and delight.

Treating your customers thoughtfully makes them feel seen, heard, understood, and valued. This builds trust and brand loyalty. And loyalty is absolutely essential to earning their repeat business. 

Having a devoted team member, like a customer experience associate, that is focussed on putting CX at the centre of your business is a sure-fire way to meet the needs of your customers and to remain relevant in the ever-evolving world of business. Striving for alignment at every point along the customer journey, from awareness, evaluation, purchase and post-purchase is the key to driving better results for your business.

What is a customer experience associate and what do they do?

Gone are the days of just a few interactions before someone opens up their wallet and tells you to take their money. Now you have to earn your customer’s hard-earned cash, but it’s much easier when they know you understand their needs. A dedicated customer experience specialist is always thinking about how to improve every touchpoint on the customers’ non-linear journey with your brand. Their first website visit. That carefully crafted conversation with your sales team. Even post-purchase follow-up and communication.

Your customer experience associate plays a pivotal role in ensuring that customers have a positive experience with the company. At every exposure that impacts their pre- and post-purchase exploration and evaluation.

How does the customer experience role work within your team?

The person charged with overseeing customer experience should be a CX champion embedded at the core of your business. By collaborating with other customer-facing departments such as marketing, sales, and customer service, they ensure that every brand action is focussed on impacting the customer perception (and their purchasing decisions) in a positive way. 

Beyond simply improving customer satisfaction, a CX specialist will reduce churn, increase customer lifetime value and boost customer loyalty. They are also responsible for developing customer retention strategies and analyzing data & customer feedback to identify areas that require improvement. Meaning you’ll be growing with your customer, not lagging behind.

5 essential skills your customer experience associate must have!

Ok so we’ve convinced you that it’s time to focus on CX (yessss!). What should you be looking for when hiring a customer experience specialist? There are five key competencies that they should bring to the table:

1. An in-depth understanding of your Buyer Personas. 

Your customer experience hire must be able to identify the different types of customers you serve, their specific needs and pain points. This is essential to understanding your target audience and what drives their decisions. It also lays the groundwork for your customer journey mapping.

2. The ability to build a killer Customer Journey Map.

They should be able to empathetically identify the customer experience by mapping customer touchpoints, including those that cause friction. Putting the customer at the centre of the process and layering on what your company provides, how you operate, and how you could be improving helps to uncover gaps.

3. The skills to conduct a Gap Analysis.

By leveraging the insights from the customer journey map, a CX associate can compare the current customer experience with the ideal customer experience to reveal areas of opportunity for your business to improve. They should also be able to identify which gaps are the easiest to fill for quick wins.

4. The insight to design the ideal customer experience.

Considering both the business goals of the company and the needs of the customer, your customer experience associate should have strong CX Design skills. The ability to shape customer experiences that are practical, delightful, and effective is key to executing customer-centric campaigns. 

5. A relentless drive to continually analyze and optimize. 

The only constant in this world is change – and data should always be your guide. Testing solutions, measuring their impact, and iterating to improve will support ongoing optimizations. This will allow your company to deliver consistently superior CX that is always a step ahead of the competition.

Telltale signs it’s time to bring on a CX specialist…

If you’re seeing a consistent decline in your CSAT (customer satisfaction) scores, a spike in customer complaints or negative reviews, or worse: a dip in revenue, it’s time to start looking at your business through the eyes of your customer. Do you really understand what is influencing their decision to buy from your company? 

Today’s customers expect you to understand them as individuals and recognize their unique needs. A CX specialist ensures your company understands the needs and wants of your customer so you can deliver in a meaningful way.

Individualize your approach to CX.

Customers don’t just want authentic, personalized experiences – they expect them. They are demanding increased honesty and transparency, and ethical action. A whopping 85% of customers say their purchasing decisions are swayed by how companies treat employees, and 78% look for those that are active stewards to the environment.

Remember when we were talking about customers looking for more than just the best product at the cheapest price?

Simply put, customers are pushing companies to do better. In a time where everyone is seeking a competitive advantage, putting CX at the heart of your business has never been more important. 

Not sure where to start? Talk to Everbrave’s CX expert today.

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