Learn about the top customer experience challenges that businesses face and what proactive steps you can take to overcome them.
Customer Experience (CX) takes the cake as one of the most overhyped yet under-utilized concepts of the modern digital retail landscape. How many businesses fail to prioritize great CX and consequently, lose out on their potential competitive edge? How many succeed at implementing an excellent and memorable CX? What’s clear is the expectations of customers; in a Forbes survey, 74% of consumers stated they are at least somewhat likely to purchase based solely on their experience with a brand.
A common theme in the digital marketplace today sees organizations rally behind a leading priority or seemingly good idea, only to completely derail the approach. A survey by Marketing Charts found that the lack of an appropriate strategy is the most significant challenge related to delivering a great CX.
I’ve helped many organizations stand out from amongst their competitors and succeed in the last 11 years with Vaimo. Now, I want to help you implement a solid CX strategy, and hopefully, nudge you in the right direction by highlighting the 6 most common CX challenges and proactive solutions.
What is CX?
Customer experience refers to how customers subjectively react to direct or indirect contact with your organization. Customers usually initiate direct contact with your business when purchasing your products and services, communicating with your customer service, and using your products or services.
Indirect contact usually occurs unintentionally, such as via reviews, hearsay, news reports, and more. Indirect contact includes a neighbor recommending a certain lawn fertilizer to you while meeting at the mailbox, or spotting a Peloton spin bike in the latest episode of the Sex and City reboot, “And Just Like That.”
Keep reading to discover the key CX challenges and ways to overcome them.
Related Reading: Optimize Your Digital Customer Experience in 5 Practical Steps
Challenge 1: Knowing your customers
Many of our clients struggled with truly understanding their customers. Organizations often target their audience too loosely or solely based on their own opinions. How much do you know about your customers? To know your customers, you must understand their pains, gains, their day-to-day life, their strategic goals, and what upsets them. Define your customers, and what truly motivates them.
Solution: Gather insight from customers
Unfortunately, you won’t find the answers by gleaning insights from your customer service or sales representatives. You must speak to your customers directly, connect the dots, and create personas based on what drives your customers. Only then will you be able to start creating a great CX for your unique customer base.
Challenge 2: Negative reviews
At face value, negative reviews may make you question your CX efforts in general and demotivate staff. But don’t throw in the towel just yet. While positive reviews bring smiles and a boost of energy, it’s your detractors who are giving you a true gift.
Solution: Listen to your detractors
Consider your unsatisfied customer the most valuable resource to unearthing the true nature of your CX. You must pry open these customers like undercooked clams to understand what obstacles lie in the way of your best CX.
Based on your negative reviews, identify any major problems and fix those immediately. An understaffed customer service team, an outdated checkout page with few payment options, or poor product images could be dragging down your CX.
Once you’ve adjusted the course, turn your sights to…
Challenge 3: Consistency across touchpoints
Many digital commerce businesses struggle with creating a consistent experience across their touchpoints.
What defines solid, consistent touchpoints changes depending on the customer. A young college student with limited resources and time may purchase a mobile phone on sale with ApplePay, and deem the experience an adequate touchpoint. An older business executive with substantial assets may expect a compelling digital experience followed by an in-depth introduction in-store by a knowledgeable employee.
Not all touchpoints hold equal value. Service interactions carry more weight when you’re selling a service. Touchpoints that lead the customer to the next pivotal interaction play a far greater role.
Solution: Streamline your touchpoints
Analyze whether your website offers touchpoints that influence your CX–they may not be as obvious as you think. Think beyond your website, physical stores, and customer service.
To ensure your touchpoints work in harmony with your strategy, map your corridor of touchpoints and look out for bottlenecks at every turn. Between every touchpoint, the space between a customer’s expectation and the experience you provide could make or break the budding relationship.
And remember – don’t simply optimize touchpoints, but innovate the entire CX. While customers enjoy Apple products worldwide, their in-store experience with personalized assistance and an obvious lack of cash registers create an entirely different experience for delighted visitors.
Related Reading: Seamless Customer Experience: Why it Matters and How to Deliver
Challenge 4: Disjointed effort
Many businesses assign the monumental task of gathering and analyzing customer experience data to a single customer-facing department, usually customer service. While this approach may save costs, offer some assistance to customers, and provide you with data, it doesn’t improve your CX.
The method mentioned above forges a deep chasm between customer-facing teams in your organization, and the teams who could provide remedies to the issues customers may be facing.
For example, customer support agents for a niche athletic footwear manufacturer could receive various complaints about the Velcro closure wearing out too quickly or becoming clogged in abject weather conditions. Those agents would perhaps recommend wearing socks with sandals to ease the friction between the skin and Velcro or applying weather protection spray. However, if the company involved the design team, they would take those complaints, design a new clasp and forgo the Velcro altogether, thereby vastly improving the CX and boosting sales in the process.
That’s why it’s vital to involve your whole organization in a CX-first mindset.
Solution: Rally your troops and develop a CX-first mindset
That’s why it’s vital to involve your whole organization in a CX-first mindset. Every single employee potentially holds a piece of the puzzle to creating a brilliant CX for your customers. Connect your teams by conducting brainstorming meetings with representatives from different departments, and encourage different employees to routinely take the customer journey and provide feedback.
Create education and training sessions for your employees to not only familiarize them with your CX strategy but gather their input and involve staff at every level. Sow the seeds of CX during meetings, and ensure your employees look at every marketing agenda or design strategy from a CX perspective.
Finally, implement specific CX roles in teams throughout your organization. Modern CX flows like a river throughout your organization, and in the same way, impacts and meets your customers in many different spots on their user journey.
Challenge 5: Standing out
Standing out and carving a niche for your organization in a sea of digital commerce businesses isn’t easy. After all, you’re competing for customers with many other companies in the same industry.
Solution: Go above and beyond for your customers
Whether you realize it, there’s something you can do for your customers that your competitors cannot; you just need to figure it out. For example, maybe you hold data on your customers’ truck fleet that you can use for smart personalization.
Perhaps your in-house research on skin conditions can help you identify trends on the correct treatment for customers. Or maybe you know the rationale behind their seasonal purchases, and can use this information to guide them to finding the perfect presents for the holidays.
The secret to providing something unique that sets you apart from your competitors leads us to the next challenge.
Challenge 6: No data-driven insight to CX
Simply gathering data is not enough in the current ecommerce landscape. Vendors often find capturing data difficult, and rightfully so. However, understanding and utilizing the data correctly are the bigger challenges.
Solution: Develop a data-finding strategy
First, focus on understanding your data by collecting it and organizing it appropriately. Depending on your organization, you may want to track your CX by gathering data based on past, present, and future interactions.
Past: When a company sends out a survey or an email asking for feedback, they are analyzing the past. You may take this approach by contacting the customer directly after purchase or interaction with your company to glean an uninterrupted perspective on the flow of CX, or you may reach out to customers much later. The reactions customers portray at various stages after the fact will help you understand new areas of your CX.
Present: To understand the present CX, collect data about returning customers who enjoy a close relationship with your organization. You may pose questions in a survey about new features the customer may like to see, other brands they enjoy, and any persistent pain points. Gather such data periodically, and focus on key products or services to narrow the data set. You may even customize your studies to a particular customer, and convey their vital role in the process.
Future: You will gather relevant data about the future by deciphering your customer data and by observing the behavior of your customers. Target specific customer segments for your analysis, and share your findings with your product development team.
As you develop your data-finding strategies, you may deepen your insights by discovering new areas of inquiry. For instance, your past data findings may reveal that customers feel that the quality of certain items is decreasing. After mitigating the issue, you may send out a survey or perform an analysis to assess progress. This follow-up investigation may reveal a special facet to your customers’ priorities that provides you with yet another way to boost your CX.
Keep up with your customers
CX brings new and exciting ways to build your brand, forge lasting relationships with your customers, and drive sales. But just like the digital world at large, CX moves rapidly and companies keep upping the ante with new innovative ways to wow customers.
By collecting relevant data and keeping your teams in the loop, you can bring everyone at your organization into the fold and illustrate the value of a great CX. It also provides you with a deeper understanding of your company’s performance and progress and provides insights into what tools may help you deliver an even greater experience.
Here at Vaimo, we’re experienced in creating successful and innovative CX. We understand what works, and we bring our tried and tested methods and best practices to the table. We work with detailed road maps and templates to ensure that no stone is left unturned on the way to crafting an end-to-end experience for your customers. Talk to us today about your CX, and let’s leverage your customer insights to make your brand shine.