How to improve customer experience: 11 ways

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Customer experiences are a fundamental part of daily life. Whether online or offline, knowingly or unknowingly, people engage with businesses, buy goods and services, and then reflect on the quality of those experiences. 

While a good customer experience (CX) fits seamlessly into a person’s day, great CX makes it that much better. It leaves customers with a fond memory and positive feeling—one that they wouldn’t mind returning to over and over.

This article will help you refine and optimize your CX, lifting those interactions up to give your customers more than a mere transaction. We’ll show you how to take targeted actions based on solid data and, more importantly, gain direct feedback from the most crucial people—your customers.

Why improve customer experience?

CX is a broad concept, as it involves every detail of how customers perceive and interact with your brand. This typically covers three key stages: discovery, engagement, and delivery. Each stage can make or break the experience and either strengthen or weaken loyalty to your brand. 

The good news is: you’re in control of your brand’s customer experience. It’s worth taking an active role in delivering great CX, as it not only benefits your customers, but also your business and brand. Here’s how:

  • It builds customer loyalty. Positive experiences create emotional connections, making customers more likely to make repeat purchases, stay subscribed, or resist offers from your competitors.
  • It strengthens your reputation. Reputation is all about repetition. Consistently meeting and exceeding customer expectations, providing stellar customer service and building seamless interactions will strengthen and solidify your place in the market.
  • It can boost your revenue. When customers feel that everything about your brand is right for them—product, service, and everything in between—they’re more likely to spend and come back for more. 
  • It gives you a competitive edge. Especially in industries where products and services are similar, doubling down on exceptional customer experiences can be a key differentiator.

Customer experience vs customer service

Customer service and customer experience are related, but aren’t the same. Here’s what you should know about their differences and overlap:

  • Customer service refers to the proactive and reactive support delivered by your customer service team. This includes assisting customers with issues, answering questions, or providing advice. Customer service also includes handling returns, answering queries over the phone, and resolving complaints via email. 
  • Customer experience spans the entire customer journey. It includes customer services, but expands beyond and encompasses every interaction—direct and indirect—from the moment they first hear about your company, through the buying process, to the ongoing relationship they have with your brand. 

Here’s why it matters to know the difference:

  • Scope of influence: Customer service is about fixing problems. Customer experience is about making the whole journey better and preventing problems from occurring in the first place.
  • Impact duration: Customer service resolves issues as they occur in the short term. Customer experience addresses how customers feel about your brand in the long run.
  • Emotional connection: Great customer service can fix a problem and relieve frustration, but great customer experience makes your customers want to come back and tell their friends about you.

Knowing the difference can help you create a customer-centric culture where positive customer experiences are the norm, not the exception. 

What is a bad customer experience?

With so many touchpoints across the customer journey, it’s helpful to have a close, honest look at everything that could fall below par—so you know what to fix. 

Here’s what customers find annoying:

  • Slow response times: Even if responses are helpful, delays can frustrate customers. 
  • Inconsistent information: Customers expect reliable information across all channels. If your website says one thing and a customer service rep says another, you’ll quickly lose trust and credibility. The same goes for missing or hard-to-find information. We all know a company that doesn’t have their phone number on their contact page—don’t be like them.
  • Difficult navigation: Show that you care about your customers’ time with a UI that works for them. A slow or confusing website or app that’s hard to navigate will drive customers away before they even reach checkout. 
  • Lack of personalization: Today’s customers expect personalization. Your competitor is doing it, so why aren’t you? A personal touch goes a long way, whether that’s personalized recommendations or a birthday discount.
  • Limited customer input: Make sure your digital door is always open and that customers can voice their ideas—and get a timely response.

Signs that your customers are having a bad experience

The issues above won’t always be easy to recognize. If people aren’t actively reaching out with complaints, that doesn’t mean everything is going great. While returns, unsubscribes and negative reviews are clear indicators, some signs are often overlooked. These include:

  • High drop-off rates
  • Low repeat business 
  • Customer service overload
  • Customers not using all available features
  • Low engagement rates 

Consider every way a customer might interact with your brand, and then picture what a poor customer experience at each stage could look like. Identifying unhappy customers first will make it easier to build a positive CX that leads to satisfied, loyal customers.

How negative customer experiences affect your brand

A bad customer experience is more than an inconvenience—if the problems aren’t addressed quickly enough, they can lead to major issues. It can:

  • Damage your brand: It might feel unfair, but just one bad experience can turn a customer away for good—and they’ll likely tell others about it, too. When it comes to CX, there are no test runs.
  • Reduce sales: Unhappy customers are less likely to purchase again. Simple as that.
  • Increase costs: More complaints mean that more time and resources are spent on customer service rather than areas of your business that fuel growth.
  • Lower employee morale: Constantly dealing with unhappy customers is not a fun job. With a consistently bad CX, productivity will drop and staff turnover will skyrocket.

11 ways to improve customer experience and strengthen loyalty

Designing great end-to-end experiences isn’t easy—let alone keeping them consistently great. 

But it’s necessary to stay competitive in today’s business environment, and with the right systems in place, it’s totally doable. We’ll walk you through 11 essential steps to level-up your CX.

1. Research and understand your customers

Enough with the guesswork. Start tracking behavioral analytics, then act on them. Use CX research to understand who your customers are and how they behave across different scenarios. 

Look at differences between segments, and determine whether you can redefine new segments based on this data. 

Top tip: create a customer profile that suits your business

We all know buyer personas, but real buyers change slightly based on every interaction they have with your business, coupled with real-world events. 

So let’s build the buyer persona 2.0: dynamic customer profiles that update in real-time based on actual customer interactions. 

This is not science fiction; if you build a solid database and keep it up to date, machine learning can give you the insights needed to become the most proactive player on the market. When building these profiles, use metrics such as:

  • Demographics
  • Purchase history
  • Interaction data
  • Feedback

2. Set clear expectations and goals for your CX

Think strategically about the kind of journey you want to create for your customers. Here are a few considerations to guide you:

  • What does your own ideal customer experience look like? 
  • What does your current CX look like, honestly? 
  • Are your core values felt by customers? If not, how can they be? 

Here are a few examples of actionable and transformative CX goals:

  • Redefine customer service: Rather than just speeding up responses, aim to make them more helpful and proactive. For instance, if a customer’s order is delayed, let them know before they reach out to you.
  • Customize your UI: Research how different customer segments interact with your digital platforms, then tailor your UI and UX to their preferences.
  • Create opportunities for connection: Invite and facilitate customer input into product development or service enhancements.
  • Diversify customer support: Introduce support options that cater to varying customer preferences, like self-service tools or community forums. 

3. Capture customer feedback at every stage of the journey

To improve your CX, you need to understand the entire journey from your customer’s perspective. Here’s how to gather valuable feedback at every stage:

  • Awareness stage: When customers first engage with your brand, whether through ads, social media, or word of mouth, ask how they found you and what caught their attention. 
  • Consideration stage: While potential customers evaluate your offering, share targeted surveys or feedback forms on product pages. You can also use a live chat tool to ask if they need more information, or if something specific is holding them back from making a purchase. Just make sure it doesn’t interrupt the buying journey—you want to push them forward, not away.
  • Purchase stage: Put feedback mechanisms in place to capture customers’ immediate thoughts on the buying process. A simple post-purchase pop-up often does the trick. Struggling to get responses? Incentivize them with a discount code for their next purchase. It’s a win–win.
  • Retention stage: Long-term feedback is critical, but most companies neglect previous customers and let contact fade away. Not you! Regular check-ins via email or through loyalty programs can help you understand ongoing satisfaction and discover why customers return—or why they don’t.
  • Advocacy stage: When customers become brand advocates, don’t just celebrate the win—ask what motivated this loyalty, so you can replicate the result.

4. Gather and act on employee feedback

Employees have firsthand insights into where your customer experience might be falling short. After all, they’re the ones who have to clean up the mess. 

Unfortunately, that often happens in silence, as it feels like “part of the job.” Here’s how to make employee insights a strategic asset in building a better CX and customer success team:

  • Set up regular checkpoints: Ensure routine channels and opportunities for employees to share their observations and ideas, like regular meetings, suggestion boxes, or dedicated feedback sessions. 
  • Empower front-line staff: Encourage those who directly interact with customers to report their experiences. Give them a framework to do so, if needed, and let them know why this input is needed—so they don’t fear being criticised for dealing with an unhappy customer. 
  • Act on their feedback: Simply collecting feedback isn’t enough. Implement changes where possible to show that you’re acting on their input. Is something going to take a while? Then let them know and explain why certain suggestions aren’t being actioned immediately and what they can do in the meantime.

5. Personalize your CX

As we’ve said, people like (and expect) personalization. But they’re also savvy to the tricks brands use to make an experience feel personalized, when it really isn’t. Here’s how to elevate your personalization strategy to go beyond surface-level tricks:

  • Predictive personalization: Instead of simply reacting to customer actions, try to be one step ahead. Capitalize on customer analytics trends with AI and machine learning, to more effectively track behavior patterns and predict what customers want next.
  • Context-aware interactions: Build your actions and offers based on the customer’s current context—like their location, the time of day, or recent interactions with your brand. Just never send anything that feels creepy, out of place, or poorly timed. 
  • Hyper-personalized journeys: Segment your customers more finely than traditional personas allow. Work with psychographic data that includes customer values, attitudes, and lifestyles—so you can engage customers on a deeper and more resonant level.  
  • Smart follow-ups: Don’t just remind customers that you exist with generic retargeting emails. Rather, help them move forward in their journey. For example, if a customer browsed a product but didn’t purchase, send them a review or testimonial video of that product in action, rather than a standard follow-up message.

6. Create an omnichannel customer experience

The key to all of this is consistency across the entire customer experience. If every step of the customer journey is right except the very last, that closing experience is what your customers will remember. 

So every interaction and every channel should be aligned and equally memorable. Here’s how to make sure your CX is exceptional all round:

  • Ensure all customer interactions are interconnected for a given individual. Use a system that shares customer interaction history across all channels, such as a CRM, so your team always knows the full story. It shouldn’t be your customers’ job to repeat themselves.
  • Centralize your customer data into a single, accessible database. This ensures every touchpoint is enriched by the same up-to-date customer information, enabling consistent and informed interactions.
  • Make sure that support is never siloed. Whether a customer reaches out via phone, email, or live chat, the quality and tone of service should be consistent. 

7. Put a focus on UX/UI design

Great design isn’t just about looks—it helps customers find what they need and enjoy your brand’s digital experience. 

When designing your website or app, make sure it’s intuitive and a pleasure to use. That goes beyond a clear information structure or easy navigation. Make sure it’s accessible for people of various ages, capabilities and levels of tech-savviness. Your website is there to inform them, not to impress them. 

Discover how WEVO can help refine your UX/UI design through targeted customer feedback.

8. Audit and optimize the customer experience

A great customer experience isn’t built in a day. In fact, you should be working on it every day for, well, as long as your brand exists. That means regularly checking and refining your customer journey, and not only when something is wrong. 

Just because it works well once, doesn’t mean it always will—so always be on the lookout for CX optimization opportunities. Preferences change; when your competitors innovate, your customers will expect you to keep up. 

9. Use the right tool to streamline the process

Building a great experience for end customers means building a great experience for the employees working on it. If it’s chaos behind the scenes, it will most likely be on stage as well, sooner or later. 

That’s why it’s important to invest in tools that transform how you manage and enhance different parts of the customer experience. Here are a few to consider:

  • WEVO: For deep customer insights and real-time feedback on design elements.
  • Google Analytics: To monitor website traffic and user behavior.
  • Zendesk: For managing customer interactions at scale across channels.
  • Hotjar: For visual heat maps of where users click most often on your site.
  • Trello or Asana: For tracking and management of CX projects.

10. Measure the ROI of your customer experience initiatives

Why not just invest more in marketing and product development, and hope it overshadows any flaws in your customer experience?

At some point, something in the CX will break beyond repair. That’s why it’s better to invest in your customer experience directly, and then measure its impact and return on investment. Here are key metrics to focus on:

  • Customer retention rates: How effectively are you retaining customers?
  • Customer satisfaction score (CSAT): How happy are customers with their interactions?
  • Net promoter score (NPS): Are your customers willing to recommend you?
  • Customer effort score (CES): How easy is it for customers to interact with your brand?
  • Customer lifetime value (CLV): How long are your customers with you and how much do they spend over that time?

11. Identify new areas for growth and improvement

Consumer preferences are ever-changing, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to evolve and optimize your customer experience—especially as new and innovative tools are developed. 

The key is to continuously work on your CX, rather than treating it as an after-thought for less busy times. This way you can stay agile and responsive, and position your brand to become the most customer-centric in the market. 

Improve your CX with WEVO

Every part of the customer experience is important—and with the right tool, you’re in control of all of them. 

WEVO leverages AI and human specialists to help you create experiences that customers want to repeat, over and over again. 

We’ll help you design a CX that empowers users to get where they need to be. Want to know more? See how we can become part of your optimal CX strategy. Ask us anything, here.

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How to improve customer experience: 11 ways

Contents1 Why improve customer experience?1.1 Customer experience vs customer service1.2 What is a bad customer experience?1.2.1 Signs that your customers are having a bad experience1.2.2

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