Building a future-proof customer experience strategy

Long gone are the days of traditional customer relationship where it was more than enough for a business to maintain a transactional relationship with customer.  A transactional relationship is momentary in nature and it would begin the moment customer or business initiates an interaction. It would end as soon as the interaction is complete.  However, with growing demands of business and customer, broader business policies and procedures have been adopted by organizations to sustain and survive the competition. Hence, customer relationship, has been replaced with customer experience.

Customer Experience: What is customer experience and how different it is from customer relationship?  Customer experience is the outcome or product of the interaction that occurs between a customer and business over the course of their relationship.  Customer experience could either be good or bad based on whether the business is able to meet all of the expectations of the individual or does not meet any expectation at all.  In the present day business scenario, it has become a herculean task for organizations to retain their customer base. There is more than one reason to this.

Why customer retention has become so challenging?  

There has been an exponential growth in the field of science and technology over the past decades.  The growth in technology has changed the entire dynamics of a business transaction. The word ‘monopoly’ is either blurred or has become totally invisible in the present day business scenario.  Be it a service providing or a product manufacturing company, there is definitely more than one player if not more. Further, customers these days have greater awareness and they are more knowledgeable about the products and services that are available in the market.  There is more than abundant information available online for the customer to go ahead and do his own research before deciding on buying a product or subscribing for a service. Adding fuel to the existing situation, organizations have been adopting different marketing strategies to lure customers.   Organizations in banking sector have never been so aggressive as they are today and even they are unwilling to leave any leaf unturned in claiming their share of customer’s money. Paying bare minimum, customers can drive away with an expensive vehicle and covert the rest of the amount into easy monthly instalments. With so many factors playing a role, it is extremely challenging for business to retain customers.

What goes into managing a customer?

Pre-sales, post-sales and the life cycle:  Customer life cycle has different stages within it.  It covers pre-sales, post-sales and post-sale support.  But let’s delve little deeper and understand the different stages within the life cycle.  

Awareness:  This is the stage where the customer becomes aware of the presence of an organization.  Organizations would have done lot of ground work just to reach this stage. This awareness in customer occurs due to the various marketing strategies adopted by the company which may include advertisements, promotional events and so on and so forth.

Engagement with the brand or product:  At this stage, customer would have already done his own research and he would have reviewed the company’s marketing material available online or spoken to his colleagues who are existing customers of the company for feedback.  

Evaluation of the product:  The evaluation stage is the decision making stage of customer where he goes into intensive research mode, compares products.  He weighs in pros and cons of the product. A free help desk software can help here.

Purchase:  This is the stage where customer makes a move and purchases the product.  Companies put in a lot of effort to drive customer till this stage. They open up various modes of support channels to assist customer while making purchase.  

Support:  At this stage, customer experiences the brand and the brand creates a long lasting impression.  This is the most sensitive phase in the customer life cycle as this stage decides whether customer would go for a repeat buy or not.  Companies would be extra cautious here providing all the support they can to the customer lest they lose the chance of a repeat buy from the customer.  

Bonding:  Post purchase, based on the support provided by the company, a relationship is built with the customer and the company which could last as long as the customer is happy with the brand.

What is a future-proof customer experience strategy?

A future-proof customer experience strategy has all the above stages taken care of by the company.  The strategy is foolproof that it works today, tomorrow and for the future as well. It is scalable, meaning, it works for a limited number of customers and it also works for a larger customer base.  

why should a company build a future-proof customer experience strategy?

As discussed earlier, market has become extremely competitive and it is difficult for companies to survive in this market without a proper strategy to retain existing customers and acquire new customers.  Companies can only achieve the objectives of retaining existing customers and acquiring new customers by building a future-proof customer experience strategy. Organizations may have a smaller beginning with a limited customer base but to achieve growth and increased revenue, they should expand and diversify themselves.  During the process of expansion and diversification, they will have to retain existing customers and also acquire new customers. This can be achieved by having a strategy which can serve limited customer base as well as expanded customer base.

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