Successful businesses are built on keeping customers happy so they remain loyal and, ultimately, spend more. When it comes to encouraging customer loyalty, the facts are simple - customers who have a good experience with a brand will return, as well as make positive recommendations to people around them.
However, keeping customers happy is often easier said than done. The old saying, “the customer is always right”, is not always true and understanding the complexity of creating a positive customer experience can be tricky for brands to master. In today’s market, customers are more vocal than ever, sharing their opinions and views through their own social media channels, so businesses have to ensure they are always one step ahead by listening to what customers want and providing flawless and seamless service that is consistent across all channels.
Thankfully, a number of cloud-based customer experience management (CEM) solutions have recently emerged to address these issues, the best of which have been able to combine big data analytics and years of real-world engagement experience into a powerful, but easy-to-use software package. With little more than a few clicks, businesses can now receive real-time insights into how their customers view them and the types of interactions that they respond most favourably to. They can find out whether customers are Promoters, Passives or Detractors and identify potential issues promptly in order to resolve them before they become problematic.
It means companies can tailor their customer communications and content more effectively in order to improve overall satisfaction and lower customer churn rates. The evolution of advanced, cloud-based CEM solutions is also helping businesses to reduce their dependence on customer surveys, and is speeding up the implementation of voice-of-the-customer (VOC) programmes, social listening tools and other methods of analysing unstructured customer data.
Evolution of business
In order to get the most out of a customer experience programme, businesses need to ensure their systems are kept as up-to-date as possible. With a cloud-based solution, this is relatively simple as systems are frequently updated and data is constantly flowing in both directions, meaning CEM programmes can now react and respond to rapidly changing customer sentiment.
Any good provider of cloud-based CEM software will regularly improve the solution they provide to ensure their clients receive the highest levels of performance and quality and are continuously getting the most out of their software. For example, if a programme initially identifies five key indicators for measuring customer satisfaction and the results show only three of the original measurement criteria are relevant to the respondents, a cloud-based programme enables businesses to alter rapidly the data points they are collecting and measuring to produce more relevant and actionable metrics.
The sooner a business can act on customer feedback in order to reward a promoter or convert a detractor, the sooner the results can be used to combat churn and drive revenue growth. A cloud-based CEM solution can be up and running within days and can be the source of near-immediate insight into the key drivers of customer loyalty and satisfaction. Cost-wise, most cloud-based solutions are provided on a self-provisioning, subscription basis, reducing the risks of upfront investment and spiralling costs.
A driving force for change
A top performing cloud-based customer experience programme will deliver accurate, immediate responses to what customers really think and produce the results in an easy to understand format. This is essential if businesses want to enable relevant and intelligent decision making possible at all levels of the business.
Unhappy customers need to be identified swiftly and transferred to a department that will listen to - and solve - their problems and prevent them from going to a competitor. With a good customer experience programme that measures feedback along the entire length of the customer lifetime journey, unsatisfied customers can be identified before it is too late and sent to a dedicated retention team that will deter them from leaving.
This rapid response mechanism allows businesses to know what their customers really think of them and enables them to deliver immediate, relevant and effective marketing that further encourages loyalty. While Net Promoter Score is still the most widely-used and accurate measure of overall loyalty and customer satisfaction, there are new methods of gathering and analysing both structured and unstructured customer data that should also be a part of any cloud-based CEM solution.
When it comes to customer experience, timing is everything and it is better to act quickly. The holy grail of customer loyalty is the ability to react to what customers want, understanding when they want it and anticipating problems before they arise. Businesses need to forget the tired methods of measuring customer satisfaction and start taking advantage of the speed and agility offered by cloud technology: all gain, no pain.