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The key to unlocking exceptional customer experience: market research
Today’s customers want more. They want to know they are getting value for money, being listened to, and spoken to in a language that they understand. They want to communicate when they want, in a way they feel comfortable with, whether it’s social media, phone or in person. They never want to feel like they are being sold to, that their needs aren’t being met or, worse, made to wait. So, how do you go about keeping today’s connected customers happy?
The need to deliver good customer service has been replaced by the need to deliver an awesome customer experience. Customer experience is several notches higher than customer service. It goes way beyond having a responsive website with a slick user-experience; it is how customers perceive your brand both on a conscious and subconscious level. It encompasses the customer journey in its entirety, from how they discovered your offering and felt about the purchase experience, to how they talk about your company to their friends.
The benefits of delivering awesome customer experience
The reason customer experience has become so critical is its far-reaching benefits. Companies that achieve exceptional customer experience report raised customer retention, improved customer satisfaction and increased cross-selling and transaction size – leading to the one thing that every business owner wants - accelerated revenue.
For consumers, great customer experience has become important to the point that it holds more value than pricing – take a look at Apple’s premium pricing strategy as an example. Furthermore, according to a study by consulting firm Walker Information, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator by 2020.
But what constitutes great customer experience and who else is nailing it?
Developing effortless customer experience - Virgin Atlantic style
There are lots of global airline companies who like to toot their horn about their amazing customer experience. However, the one that’s renowned for delivering is Virgin Atlantic.
Perfectly demonstrating that customers are prepared to pay for a premium experience, Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class suite is the stuff that brand managers’ dreams of.
Every aspect of the service is painstakingly personalised to meet and exceed customers’ expectations, including a chauffeur driven car at both ends of the journey, seats that turn into long, fully flat beds and a customised dining experience attuned to the time you fly.
Realising how much customers appreciate luxury extras, Virgin extended their premium offering by introducing ‘premium economy’ - a ticket with a mid-range price point but with upper class perks.
It’s no secret that Virgin’s continued success partly belongs to the group’s voracious appetite for customer feedback.
In an interview with Richard Branson, writer Carmine Gallo describes Branson as, “always on the move, meeting employees, talking to cabin crews, and soliciting feedback from passengers. He’s constantly asking for their opinions and he keeps a notebook of the ideas and feedback he’s received.”
As well as canvassing opinion on the frontline, Virgin operate a phenomenal customer and brand strategy, continually crafting new ways to engage with customers. This includes interacting with customers 24/7 on Twitter and a dedicated account where people can find out real-time data about their flight.
Optimising your customer experience with market research
As Branson shows, honing an exceptional customer experience starts with acquiring knowledge from those who deliver and receive your products and services first hand: customers and employees.
As a leading market research agency, we’ve helped hundreds of companies develop potent customer experience strategies by conducting in-depth engagement and satisfaction research. Only by getting to know what customers expect at every interaction, their pain points and the price that they are prepared to pay for a ‘bells and whistles’ service can you understand what customers really want.
Here’s how market research can help you develop a richer customer experience:
- Identify what your customers expect at each touch point (point of contact) with your organisation. For example, before purchase – your advertising, website and social media channels, during purchase – using your e-commerce catalogue, contact in-store, after purchase – invoicing, calls to customer support, follow-on marketing emails etc.
- Ask the right questions and customise methodologies, such as, telephone interviews, mobile and web surveys to reveal the most valuable insights and actionable data.
- Measure customer effort. This metric is particularly important for developing a premium offering as it measures how much effort the customer is prepared to put in for enhanced products and services. A brilliant customer experience should require zero effort, solving customers’ problems quickly and easily.
- Conduct employee research into the actions they would take to enhance customer experience.
- Analyse data and identify where specific improvements can be made to raise customer satisfaction and strengthen customer loyalty.
To find out how we can help craft your awesome customer experience, call our market research and data analysis experts now on or email