Can you remember the last time you had a great experience with a business—maybe one that went out of its way to ensure your products were delivered on time or sold you products that did what they were supposed to do? How about the last time a company let you down—like a customer service rep who didn't seem to know a thing, or an email that said "thank you for your recent purchase" from a company you never heard of?
The point is, the way businesses interact with customers and prospective customers at every stage of the buyer's journey leaves a lasting impression, one that's formed by the totality of ways they touch them. That impression has a name—it's called customer experience (CX).
WHAT IS CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE?
As Forbes makes clear, customer experience is the result of many factors—from how well your product works to how well you help customers after they've bought those products:
"...managing customer perception is one of the most important things brands should be doing. Everything a company does contributes to how customers perceive it, and therefore to the overall customer experience, including the messaging you use, the products you sell, the sales process, and what happens after the sale, plus other internal factors like the interworking of the company, its leadership, and the engineering of the product or service."
PEOPLE LIKE BUSINESSES THAT KNOW THEM
Ever walk into a store and the sales rep treats you like an uninvited guest? How about a store where the sales rep remembers your name, what you bought the last time you were there and whether you left satisfied or not? Which store left the better impression on you—and which one will you come back to, again and again?
Of course, creating a lasting positive impression is a little more complicated when you move from brick and mortar stores to a digital environment. In that situation, persuading consumers you know them to win their loyalty and trust means managing a wide swath of marketing channels and creating consistently positive experiences gradually over time with every one of them.
Considering the number of prospective customers across your sales funnel, that's quite a challenge. But there's a way to ensure that every one of them believes you know who they are, what they care about and what problems you can solve for them.
MARKETING AUTOMATION TO THE RESCUE
Say a customer calls your business with a problem. What if there were a way to know, quickly and easily, about every other interaction that customer had with your company—every product they'd purchased, call they'd made and content they'd downloaded on your website? Would you be in a better position to satisfy their needs and solve their problem? What if you could send a personalized, relevant email every time a customer did something important on your website, like leaving contact information or visiting a product page?
If you think that kind of personalized responsiveness is pie in the sky, think again. Today, businesses of all sizes are leveraging the power of a wide variety of effective marketing automation tools to enable a consistently positive customer experience, and in the process generating more leads, increasing their conversions, polishing their brands and boosting their sales.
HOW CAN BUSINESSES IMPROVE CX WITH MARKETING AUTOMATION?
Marketing automation isn't a buzz word—it's a way to make customers and prospective customers feel important every time they interact with your business. Of course, every business is different, and the ways you leverage marketing automation to enhance customer experience will depend on your unique marketing challenges. That said, some marketing automation strategies tend to work better than others for every business, including the following 3:
1. INTEGRATE AUTOMATION AND YOUR CRM TO PERSONALIZE THE EXPERIENCE
The customer relationship management (CRM) software you use will record (and make easily accessible) the entire history of your engagement with each customer. But integrating your CRM with marketing automation tools will take your marketing to the next level.
For example, it's one thing to know about every email exchange you've had with a customer—it's quite another to automate the process with powerful tools that trigger highly relevant and personalized emails every time a customer converts on your website.
2. ENCOURAGE CONVERSATIONS
Talking at your customers won't win their trust. It's time to stop talking and start listening if you want to build meaningful customer relationships. Said differently, you want to encourage ongoing conversations to improve customer experience.
That means creating an automated process to continually solicit and utilize customer feedback—about your products, your customer service and the impact of your marketing campaigns. Using automation, you can insert customer satisfaction surveys strategically on your site and social media platforms to generate the best results. Automation will also help you effectively segment your audience to get the most relevant feedback.
3. GIVE CUSTOMERS THE CONTENT THEY WANT
If yours is a real estate business, do you really want to push an article about the amenities of luxury homes to people who can't afford them, or if you sell appliances, blogs about affordable washing machines to customers who want to buy a refrigerator?
Studies show that people want to see 3 to 5 pieces of relevant content before they're willing to talk sales. Marketing automation will ensure that the content you push will be targeted to the needs and pain points of key market segments, improving customer experience and increasing trust in your business and the likelihood first-time buyers will become loyal customers.
Harnessing the power of marketing automation will ensure that your business delivers consistently positive customer experiences across multiple channels and throughout the buyer's journey. Admittedly, however, that can be a bit complicated, especially if you're relatively new to the process.
Fortunately, there are experts who can give you the guidance, advice and tools you need to succeed. To learn more about the ways our CRM, marketing automation, and other sales and marketing tools can arm your business with resources you need to take your marketing to the next level, contact us today.