How to Improve Customer Experience in 4 Key Areas

How to improve customer experience in 4 key areas

Did you know that 81% of brands expect to compete mostly or completely on the basis of customer experience? So, how can you measure your customer’s experience when they engage with you on digital channels, and how can you build trust to help foster a sustainable relationship with your customers? In this guide, we’ll walk through areas of the customer experience, key metrics to evaluate your customer’s experience: what they mean, why they matter, and how to improve. We will also review ways to help build your relationships with your customers, leading to lasting relationships and customers for life.

Key components of the customer experience

Before we dive into ways to improve your customer experience, here’s a brief preview of the key areas we’ll be discussing:

  • Response time: The time a customer waits for a response after they post.

  • Quality assurance: A qualitative review to ensure your team’s communication approach aligns with your brand and desired customer experience.

  • Sentiment conversion: An indication of how positive a customer feels after a conversation with an agent compared to how positive they felt before the conversation.

  • CSAT/NPS: CSAT and NPS are post-engagement surveys that customers fill out. NPS data will tell you how the customer’s experience with the agent is impacting their overall perception of the brand while CSAT data will shed light on the resolution.

How to improve key areas of customer experience

Now that you have base familiarity with the most important components of customer experience, we’ll be taking a deep dive into each of these areas along with ways for you to improve them:

1. Response time

    Why it matters

    Over a third of customers expect social responses in under thirty minutes. If your response time is over this marker, it can affect your customers’ trust in your brand. Your brand's value is built on the trust of your customers, and that trust reflects in their behavior when interacting in online and offline networks.

    In the modern world, you're not only competing in your sector or industry. You're competing on customer experience. Expectations are set by the consumer, and the bar is set to their best experience yet. This hits on availability and reliability mentioned above, improving your response time can help you in both of these areas.

    How to improve

    You may need to expand your hours of operation. Customers make little distinction between on-hour and off-hour response time, but technology can help you track the difference as well as increase response time with features like agent routing. If your on-hour response time is good, but your off-hour response time is concerning, it may be time to expand your operations.

    Additionally, you may need to add more people. If agent efficiency metrics (like utilization rate, handle time, etc.) indicate that your agent performance is high, yet response times are still poor, this would indicate you should consider expanding your team.

    Another potential solution is building an online community. Trust is all about the relationships created. Bringing human interaction into a virtual relationship allows for the opportunity to be authentic and interactive — both as a company and as a consumer. Have a place for your customers to discuss your product, and interact with one another.

    A searchable forum where your users can discuss problems they faced and how they overcame them, or even tips and tricks to make the experience better. If information is available and searchable often your customers can find solutions to their problems themselves and still receive that human interaction.

    Community members generate content for you, which is more trusted than anything you could possibly produce. With an online community, your customers are gaining knowledge and insight, advice, and best practices from those who are more prone to listen to other customers.

    “54% of customers report that at least half the value they get from a brand is from the overall end-to-end experience.”

    — Kelton Research

    2. Quality assurance

      Why it matters

      It’s not just about the speed of response. 67% of customers are willing to switch brands because of a poor customer experience. Regular quality assurance reviews help your team to provide consistent, quality experiences. Being accountable for your customer service team's responses is just as important as having a team. If you have members on your support team that are not displaying the values of your brand, your customers will be the first to know, and it may affect whether they come back to your services or not. Being able to adapt to each customer’s current support needs will improve the customer’s experience, and make that customer feel valued.

      How to improve

      If your team’s tone, messaging, and style are not consistent with your brand and in line with your expectations, it might be time to refresh your team on guidelines for the channel. Investing in your team’s product knowledge will assist in quality assurance as well.

      Especially for newer agents, utilize technology that allows you to flag responses for automatic review and approval of brand voice before they go out to customers.

      By asking customers for feedback immediately following their experience (for example, an in-channel NPS or CSAT survey), you can also uncover training opportunities for agents to improve empathy and relational skills.

      3. Sentiment conversion

        Why it matters

        Ensuring your customers are happy doesn’t just retain them, it prevents bad word of mouth. This is vital, considering that consumers tell an average of 15 people about poor service versus telling 11 about good service.

        How to improve

        Start tracking your customer service team’s performance and pay attention to any changes in sentiment that occur when a new offering or change in service occurs. Use this information to influence your team’s communication style and business decisions.

        A community is a great way to ensure your customers feel their concerns are being heard. If you have an area for your customers to discuss their issues, they will help guide you on making your customer experience better.

        Customers are wonderful innovators and will be quite vocal about telling you everything you need to know to make and keep them happy. Engage them in the discussion, and they will guide your brand to the experiences they need to trust you.

        Constructive criticism is key to improvement; not only will your customers provide that, but there will be record improvements you made based on customer suggestions. Showing your customers that you hear their complaints and value their input makes them feel valued and strengthens that relationship. But this doesn’t just improve your relationship with one customer, other customers in the community will see that you are a responsive business that cares about their experience and are willing to put in the work to make it better for them.

        4. CSAT/NPS

          Why it matters

          The happier your customers are, the more they spend. In fact, consumers are willing to spend 17% more to do business with companies that deliver excellent customer service. Not only will this help you anticipate your customers’ needs, but it will also show your customers that you are trying to do so. A survey says “Hey, I care about your experience and I want to make it better, so please share your thoughts” to the customer, helping to build that relationship and expected anticipation of their needs.

          How to improve

          Focus on training your team to deliver a warm, caring customer service experience and track these scores against sales to see how adjustments in customer service affect your bottom line.

          You can also use gamification within your communities to help improve your customer satisfaction and increase response rates on your post-engagement surveys. Reward your customers for contributing and providing feedback to your brand, whether it is in a post-engagement survey, or in your community forums. This can help build your community faster, but also provide that win-win with the increased response from your customer base as they rank up in influence.

          See how Khoros can help improve your customer experience

          We’ve highlighted a few ways to improve your customer experience, but you should always look for more opportunities to get better. While you may be able to handle some of the basic improvements on your own, if you struggle with some of the more complex aspects of customer experience management, then Khoros can help.

          We offer a range of solutions to help your brand improve the customer experience, including CX software to organize interaction data, contact center software to improve customer care, and tools to help you build and manage an online brand community for your customers. These are just a few ways Khoros can help your brand track, manage, and improve the customer experience. To learn more, request a demo of our award-winning customer experience management software.

          Ready to learn more?

          Read our whitepaper, "Digital Customer Care Playbook."