As brands expand their reach into new markets, they face unique challenges.
How do you ensure consistency across multiple locations? What should you consider before rolling out a new store or location? How do you create the optimal customer journey at each of your stores? How do you remain a customer-centric organization while overseeing hundreds or thousands of locations?
Retailers are under pressure to adapt to changing consumer behavior, too. Since consumers are 4.3 times more likely to trust a brand after having a positive experience, companies are putting more research, money, and time into creating superior customer experience journeys.
As a result, within three years of investing in their customer experience, brands can earn an additional $700 million. To help brands fully understand what it takes to create an outstanding customer experience, we’ll cover the foundational terms and models for improving the customer journey in this post. You’ll also find actionable steps you can take to establish a unique customer experience strategy across locations to encourage customer retention and loyalty.
What is a customer experience model?
A customer experience model is a set of metrics used to measure how well a company delivers the right product at the right price to customers. The goal is to provide a superior customer experience and increase sales. Companies use these models to understand what they need to do to build better customer relationships.
The customer experience model measures the quality of the customer experience instead of focusing only on financial results. It also includes qualitative measurements such as employee satisfaction and customer service.
Customer experience management (CEM) oversees the customer experience from beginning to end. This involves understanding the customer’s needs and creating a strategy that will meet those needs.
Obtaining customer intelligence can be done through research or learning from customers through their feedback and reviews. Once your customer intelligence has been determined and documented, it must be implemented into your business operations.
The following are some of the essential elements of a customer experience model:
Customer journey: A customer’s path from first contact with your business to final purchase or service delivery. The customer journey is made up of multiple touchpoints that occur at different times in the customer relationship. Each touchpoint has an impact on the overall customer experience.
Touchpoints: These are any points along the customer journey where you have direct contact with the customer. They can include phone calls, emails, web pages, and more.
Customer experience touchpoints
These are specific types of touchpoints that are relevant to the customer experience. Examples include the following:
- Phone calls: Calls to the company’s sales team, support staff, or other departments.
- Email: Emails sent by the company to its customers.
- Website: The company’s website.
- Social media: The company’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, and more.
- Physical stores: Stores where the company’s products are sold.
- Product reviews: Customer feedback posted online across various directories and review platforms about the company’s offerings to customers, such as its products and services.
- Online content and promotions: Content published online about the brand and offers or discounts to attract customers.
How is a customer experience model beneficial for multi-location brands?
A customer experience (CX) model helps businesses understand how customers interact with them across all channels. This allows them to identify customer pain points to create better experiences for customers through cross-channel optimization.
For example, when a customer fills out an online survey about their experience with your business, they shouldn’t have to fill out a multitude of unnecessary fields. This could, in turn, lead to a bad customer experience and lost opportunity for valuable customer feedback.
Additionally, when they visit a website, they should be able to navigate easily and find what they need quickly. CX models require continuous improvement as consumer behavior constantly shifts.
Recommended reading: Strategies to Personalize the Local Search Customer Experience
3 Top customer experience models
1. The federated customer experience model
Companies need to start thinking about how to make customer service better, not just how to get customers into call centers. They should also consider making those centers more effective rather than simply expanding their location.
After all, if customer service is already good enough for your customers, why do you need to spend money on new technology?
The federated customer experience model involves spreading out the work of improving customer service so that it becomes part of every department and function in an organization. Together, cross-functional teams work to achieve a common goal. In this case: customer experience improvement and exceeding customer expectations.
It means having people working together across the entire organization to improve the quality of customer interactions. It means putting the customer back at the heart of everything you do, circling back to the importance of being a customer-centric organization.
To start building an effective CX strategy, companies must:
- Identify the right people to lead the effort
- Allocate an adequate budget
- Ensure the broader organization has the right tools and technology to support them
At the same time, organizations should also consider how best to integrate CX into existing processes and systems throughout the entire organization. These efforts require collaboration between various teams and departments, which may be challenging, given the diversity of roles and responsibilities.
2. The customer experience operating model
The customer experience operating model includes the following steps:
Creating a customer experience framework
The customer experience framework is the foundation of your customer service strategy. It’s also one of the most important aspects of any business, as it directly impacts how customers perceive and interact with your company.
If you want to be successful in today’s competitive market, you need to have a well-defined customer experience framework that clearly defines what you do for your customers and why they should choose your brand over others.
This framework will help you determine your customer experience goals and objectives and provide a common language across all departments within your broader organization.
The first step in defining goals is determining what needs improvement in your customer’s journey. Which touchpoints could use improvement?
Finding the customer experience data
The customer experience is a critical component of any business. It’s what makes or breaks your company, and it’s something that you can’t afford to ignore. But how do you measure it?
There are dozens of different types of customer experience data available to businesses, including:
- Feedback from social media channels
- Online reviews
- Email communications
- Sales data
- Product usage data
Turning insights into action
When it comes to turning insights into action, there are three main steps: identify the problem, understand the root cause, and develop a solution. Once you’ve created a framework, defined goals, and found customer experience data, you can work on understanding the root cause.
Understanding the root cause helps you better understand the issue and gives you insight into where to direct your efforts. To do this, you will want to look at the following factors:
- What happened?
- When did it happen?
- How long was it happening?
- Who else noticed it?
- Why did they notice it?
- How did they react?
- Did anything change after they reacted?
After you have identified the problem and understood its root causes, it’s time to come up with solutions. Brands should tailor solutions to the specific needs of each situation. Here are some questions that might help you get started:
- What would make this better?
- What would make it more convenient?
- What would help improve overall customer satisfaction?
3. The customer-centric model
A customer-centric approach begins by understanding your customer values, needs, wants, and preferences and then frames your products, services, marketing, communications, and campaigns to meet those needs and preferences.
The first step in a customer-centered strategy is understanding your target audience’s needs. You can learn about them from market research, online surveys, or through direct contact with customers. The next step is to identify their wants and preferences. This information will help you gain a broader understanding of what they want and how best to satisfy it. Finally, you need to know what motivates them—what makes them tick. Knowing this will help you create an experience that meets their needs and satisfies their desires.
Recommended reading: Local Customer Engagement Building Strategies
There are three key elements to the ideal customer-centric model:
Your brand’s primary goal should be to provide customers with what they need to achieve their goals. These needs are often related to time constraints, convenience, price, and quality. For example, if you sell insurance, you may need to offer 24/7 service, competitive rates, and straightforward claims processing.
Your brand’s secondary goal should be to give your customers what they want. They may not always need these things, but they do want them. If you sell insurance policies, you may want to ensure that your customers get the coverage they need at affordable rates.
Finally, your brand’s final goal should be to give customers what they prefer. If you sell an insurance policy, your customers may prefer paperless billing over traditional methods, but they still want you to take care of their claims quickly and efficiently.
Creating a unified customer experience across locations
To create a cohesive customer experience for multi-location brands, there are a couple of things you should consider.
The first is to create a consistent look across all locations. This means using the same colors, fonts, logos, and other design elements.
Second, ensure that each site has a clear purpose. Third, employ a common language and practices when communicating with customers.
Finally, always remember that consistency is critical. The rise of eCommerce has forced brick-and-mortar stores to innovate and rethink their customer experience, and create a hybrid customer experience model across stores and websites.
In today’s hypercompetitive environment, success is contingent on being able to offer your customers a consistent brand experience regardless of where they shop.
This requires careful consideration of the ideal customer experience model for multi-location brands.
Following these tips and selecting the right CX model for your company can help you surpass your competition and stay relevant in today’s market. Want to improve customer satisfaction and local experiences at scale? Rio SEO can help.