Client experience (CX) is more than a customer service call, more than the way your client meeting went, more than how a client navigates your website. It’s all of that and so much more.CX is the overall culmination of every single touchpoint a client has with your business. 

    Client experience is becoming an increasingly important part of the buying process. Since the first national lockdown in March of last year, people have experienced online purchasing more frequently than all other scenarios. 

    The impact that has had on the retail sector is obvious, but what may be less so is the overall effect it has had on business at large. Consumer expectations have shifted across all industries to meet the needs of the customer both in terms of digital functionality and seamless experiences.

    Why client experience matters

    Good CX is good for business. In addition to the rising experiential needs of the consumer, it is also one of the most effective ways to further your reach and influence. With the prominence of social media and review sites, the average client’s network is more accessible than ever before. Investing in your CX can give you:

    • Increased client loyalty and retention
    • Increased client satisfaction
    • Better word-of-mouth, reviews and referrals

    What does good look like 

    Client experience that stands out from the crowd needs to be immersed into every single aspect of the business. It also doesn’t happen by accident. To create outstanding CX for your clients, you need a dedicated strategy that relies on the four pillars of client experience: empathy, relevance, ease and implementation. 

    Empathy 

    Your clients are, first and foremost, human beings. They wanted to be understood and treated as such. Approach your client interactions with care and understanding. Consider the emotional side of the work that you do. When will adding a human touch enhance the process? 

    When you’re developing your CX strategy, consider these questions:

    • Do you track pain points or areas of friction?
    • Do you consistently seek feedback and act on it?
    • How do you assure clients that you have their best interests at heart?

    Relevance 

    Above all else, truly understanding your customer, their needs and wants, is the key to successful CX. Creating detailed personas, understanding their preferences and interests and using robust segmentation can help you make every touchpoint relevant. 

    When you’re developing your CX strategy, consider these questions:

    • Do you have client personas to give you and your team insight into your different audiences?
    • Do you know which platforms they prefer to be contacted on?
    • Do you know which parts of the process they are most likely to need help with?
    • Do you use segmentation in your communications with clients?

    Ease 

    A streamlined and simple customer experience is a good customer experience. As you work towards an optimal experience, look for ways to remove friction and simplify processes. The more difficult working with you is, the less likely it is that clients will put in the effort.

    When you’re developing your CX strategy, consider these questions:

    • How much effort does a client need to put into working with you?
    • Do you explain the entire process upfront to eliminate confusion and concern?
    • Are you using technology to automate data capture, verification and other previously manual processes?

    Implementation 

    The final pillar is less about your clients and more about your business. Implementing a strong CX strategy means ensuring that it is embedded in every part of your organisation. Any team that interacts with clients (and maybe some that don’t)needs to buy into the plan and have the client at the forefront of their thinking.

    When you’re developing your CX strategy, consider these questions:

    • When clients work with you, are they aware when they are moved from one team to another or do they get the impression of a single, cohesive team?
    • Have you made CX a strategic priority that is communicated and embedded into your culture across the whole business?
    • Do you incentivise your team to follow good CX principles and guidelines?

    Elevating client experience

    The way to lift your client experience from good to great is by keeping your client in mind and taking advantage of the tools available to you. We live in a digital world that provides unparalleled access to the kinds of software and information that can elevate your client interactions:

    Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) 

    Your CRM should act as a single source of truth for your organisation, keeping all client data in one place. It should also be a record of each touchpoint and all relevant information about the client.

    Process automation  

    If you haven’t already, begin working your way through your business processes and automating those that you can. Not only does it save your business time and energy, but it also removes potential friction from the client experience.

    Personalisation 

    Personalisation has long been part of the conversation in both client experience and marketing. Over the years, advice has volleyed from ‘never use it’ to ‘use it as much as possible’ and back again. In truth, it is a powerful asset. But it does need to be done well. If you make it feel unnatural or intrusive, your audience won’t appreciate it. Start small and combine personalisation with segmentation to tailor where possible.

    API 

    API and integrations are a vital part of modern businesses. The chances are your business uses several different pieces of software to deliver your client experience. APIs can connect those tools and allow them to interact and share data in a way that is more secure and less time consuming than doing it manually. 

    Chatbots 

    Chatbots are a fairly polarising tool. Some clients are likely to prefer a live chat or chatbot option over speaking with someone directly. On the other hand, some clients may be strongly opposed to their use. The key here is to refer back to the personas you created and use those audience insights to determine if this makes sense for your business. 

    Client perception is your reality, so managing and elevating the client experience is the only way to improve your reality. Know your clients inside out. Treat them like humans. Make client experience a whole team effort. And, of course, ensure you have the right tech in place to make it work.

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