While it’s great to know that 72% of happy customers will share their positive experience with 6 or more people, it’s equally important to recognize that 13% of dissatisfied customers will share a negative experience with over double that amount.

Customer experience, or CX, is your customers’ perception of their interactions with your company. This perception influences their loyalty by affecting their emotions and behaviors. The better their experience, the more likely they are to do business with you long term, recommend you to others, and spend more on your product. In fact, 86% of people are willing to pay more for a great CX.

According to Forrester and Adobe, experience-driven businesses see over 1.5x higher YoY growth in customer retention, repeat purchase rates, and customer lifetime value. In order to keep up with that growth goal, businesses are expected to spend $641B on CX technologies in 2022—that’s $130B more than 2019’s spending.

There are two key reasons why businesses should invest in CX: increased customer satisfaction and retention, and greater revenue potential. Research shows that increasing customer retention by just 5% can help businesses increase revenue by as much as 25% to 95% per year. Not only that, it’s also five times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to retain a current one. Understanding customer retention can give you better insights on customer satisfaction and loyalty, the quality of your customer service, and any red flags that may drive potential customers away.

Here are eight things you can do to level up your CX and retention:

  1. Create a Customer Journey Map. A customer journey map is a visual storyline of every single interaction your customers have with your business. 85% of professionals who have used customer journey maps found that they result in increased customer satisfaction, fewer complaints, lower churn, and a higher NPS (Net Promoter Score). B2B customer journeys are generally more complex than B2C—involving between 3 and 5 decision-makers. This means that you need to be able to convince not only the influencer but also the people who ultimately have the final say on a decision. To do this, you need to understand what affects each buying group in the process. By mapping your customer journey, you can identify and structure the complex interactions that customers experience across their journey, and reduce the operational and communication gaps.
  1. Provide real-time engagement and respond to issues immediately. 59% of customers are more likely to buy from a company that answers their queries in under a minute. But many businesses still struggle with providing prompt responses due to reasons such as a lack of real-time alerts, support teams not being able to access certain apps, not having  a live chat/chatbot feature, and more. Whatever the issue is, it can likely be resolved quickly and effectively by leveraging automation. You can implement a chatbot to assist with priority-based ticketing workflow, which will then assign tickets to the correct support team based on urgency and type of issue. Use automation to connect your ticket management system to your communication platform to receive immediate notifications and respond to issues faster.
  1. Foster a personalized relationship. Compared to B2Cs, B2B companies typically have a much wider range of customers coming from all kinds of industries. To add to the complexity, it can also be difficult to picture the person behind the decision-making process when you are selling to a business. Behind every business decision, there is an actual person with thoughts and feelings. Customers who feel an emotional connection to a brand have a 306% higher lifetime value, normally stay with the brand for an average of 5 years, and will recommend it to others at a much higher rate. To avoid treating your customers as a number, take some time to learn more about them and create a personalized approach. You can even personalize each automated reminder, follow-up, and check-in email that you’re going to send their way.
  1. Listen to and implement feedback. According to a PwC survey on U.S.-based customers, even when they love a brand, 17% of customers will walk away after just one bad experience. This number increases to 59% after several bad experiences. If you don’t notice and acknowledge these red flags in your customer experience before they happen again, you’re at a risk of losing a customer forever. The easiest and most effective way to know whether your customers are happy or unhappy with your products and services is by asking for customer feedback regularly. Customer feedback is vital to your business’s growth. It can give you insights to your customer’s experience on your overall business and provide a clearer view of how you are performing. Listen to what your customers have to say and act upon it.
  1. Leverage product usage data. 67% of customers point out bad experiences as a reason for churn, but only 1 out of 26 unhappy customers express their frustration, potentially making bad CX the silent killer of your business. So what can you do when your customers refuse to speak up? You can turn to product usage data. Use it to uncover important product usage trends like how many people on your customer’s team are using your product, how often they use it, and if there are any features they still haven’t used because they’re not aware of them. You can also use it to categorize each customer as at risk, stable, or expanding. By learning about product usage, you can identify areas that need improvement, be proactive, prevent churn, and even expand the relationship. 
  1. Educate with relevant content and build a community. Just because you’ve gained a customer and onboarded them successfully doesn’t mean your job is done. The last thing you want to do is leave customers to figure our your product by themselves. Offering resources that make it easier for them to learn how to use your product and handle different types of issues is a must. Studies show that proactively providing information on how to get more out of your product increases chances of repurchase by 32%. Try educational avenues like building an exclusive community where customers get to discuss relevant topics and ask questions, providing one-on-one training sessions with customer support or sales, or creating online courses or an academy for customers who prefer self-service training.
  1. Keep track of customer retention metrics.  To maximize your efforts on customer retention strategies, you need to understand how to calculate, track, and measure key retention metrics. Once you know how to do those things, you can then begin to put them to work for lasting, profitable results. Some of the key customer retention metrics include: repeat purchase rate (the percentage of your customer base that has made more than one purchase), churn rate (the rate at which customers stop doing business with you), and customer lifetime value (CLV) (how much revenue is generated from a customer during their lifecycle). Measuring these retention metrics can help you to identify the strategies that are performing well and the ones that need improvement.
  1. Acknowledge and reward loyal customers. Though it’s beneficial to pay extra attention to at-risk customers, acknowledging your loyal customers is just as important, if not more. The top 10% of your customers spend three times more than the rest of your customer base, while the top 1% spend five times more than the other 99%—you’ll want these customers to be more than satisfied. To reward them, you can do things like sending them company-sponsored merchandise (mugs, t-shirts, baseball hats, and more) or a personalized gift (if you know what they really like) using tools like Sendoso, inviting them to happy hours, offering them a small discount on their next purchase, or even something as simple as giving them a shout-out on your or your company’s social media channel. 

There are many ways to improve CX and retention, but one thing for sure, there is no shortcut when it comes to building a strong relationship with your customers. 

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About Jennifer Supit