Convert Crisis Into Opportunity by Reverse-Engineering the Customer Experience

Maria Mladenovska

The following is a guest blog post written by Maria Mladenovska, a content manager at DigitalNovas.

In a world where pleasing our existing and new customers has become every business’s priority, it is important to consider everything that can help. In fact, famous brands are successful not only for their great products, but for providing a great customer experience as well.

Nowadays, we must think out of the box, to positively surprise our clients, and to remain competitive in order to convert customers into loyal ones. Customers don’t expect good, generic customer service, they want a top-notch one with agents constantly going the extra mile. Moreover, they anticipate a perfect customer journey from pre-purchase to post-purchase. To successfully meet the ever-increasing demands of your customers, and avoid risking your customers’ satisfaction, you have to consider their expectations and reverse-engineering the customer experience you offer to fit into those expectations.

To reverse-engineer the customer experience you provide, you must first understand how that experience is made and the roles that each of your departments hold in creating that experience. Once you understand how your customer experience is built, you can begin creating processes to build your customer and brand experience and adjusting the approach that you take towards your customers.

Whether you’re a marketing manager, a customer service director, or a CEO willing to elevate your organization, if you’re looking to boost your company in terms of customer loyalty, you’re in the right place. 

What is reverse-engineering the customer experience?

Reverse-engineering is much easier than it sounds. Essentially, reverse-engineering your customer experience is to put them at the center of everything you do. This also means that you should always go the extra mile for them, but also constantly exceed their expectations. 

Reverse-engineering is a working back technique where you start examining your customer experience (CX) from the desired happy end instead of focusing on the beginning. It is a revolutionary technique that will take your CX to the next level from which you will never go back. This technique involves taking a step back and defragmenting each and every step of your CX strategy in order to what your company did to make your happiest customers have the best experience. Doing so, you will improve customer satisfaction with fewer resources.

"While customer experience has been part of every business strategy for years, reverse-engineering is here to change the game and is definitely here to stay. To reverse-engineer is to transform your company's customer experience and journey from the bottom up. Add this positive CX to a satisfying service, a pleasant working experience, and the overall culture and you're bound for a highly successful business.” – Marcin Muras CEO & Founder Upmenu.

Many businesses think of creating an experience from the top down: They develop systems that they think will increase customer satisfaction, implement them, and then review. Reverse-engineering allows businesses to start with already happy customers and identify exactly what in the CX made them that way. By pinpointing what has already worked, companies can derive effective processes without the inefficiencies of trial-and-error. As you'll see in the next sections, the positive results of reverse-engineering your customer experience are innumerable.

Reverse thinking and engineering graphic

How do you keep your customers happy after a purchase, converting them into loyal customers?

Why is focusing on your current customers important (perhaps more important than acquiring new ones)? And why is it that, especially in the SaaS industry, growth marketing agencies now focus more on retention than on acquisition than they used to when they try to grow businesses?

The answer is that customer retention is more cost-effective than customer acquisition.

Not retaining a customer is called churn. And churn is inevitable.

Churn Rate = # of customers at the beginning of the period - # of customers at the end of the period / # customers at the beginning of the period.

There are several steps you can follow after a consumer purchases your product or service to make them feel valued and increase the likelihood of retention and loyalty.

1. Offer a video tutorial to explain the full capabilities of your services.

2. Send an email to thank your customer for their purchase.

3. Offer extra services, such as more storage in the cloud, unlimited support, or a free coaching session to get the most out of your services.

4. Send clients a survey to ask what they think about your service.

5. Offer training sessions they might be interested in.

6. Offer a discount on new purchases. Use a QR Code Generator to create custom QR Codes for your product packaging and gather feedback, sharing discount coupons for their future purchases, or even promoting reordering. 

7. After 6 or more months, send them a promotional email with new products and discounts.

For your customers to receive the best experience with your company, they will want to experience your full catalog of products and it is your task to serve them and keep them interested in your products and retained as a customer for as long as possible.

The results that reverse-engineering can bring to your company

Reverse-engineering, when applied correctly, is a revolutionary business model that has the potential to identify and address your customers’ desires, keeping them consistently satisfied with your business in the long run. Some of the more notable impacts reverse-engineering can make for your business are:

  • Allowing your business to get a clearer and more defined reputation and image in your industry. 
  • Permitting you to tell your customers who you are and why you’re the expert in the field. 
  • Building alignment within your company and, therefore, reinforcing the whole customer journey by providing a constant service regardless of the department.
  • Helping you understand where your brand currently stands so you can define your desired future and increase employee and customer loyalty.

To sum up, there are several satisfying results that reverse-engineering can bring to your organization, from encouraging customer loyalty to defining the issues your products have and aligning your processes. Reverse-engineering can be a revolutionary system to take your customer service to the next level, though, to achieve the ideal results you’re looking for, you must apply the right strategies.

Reverse-engineering strategies in customer experience

Reverse-engineering has the capability to build an unbreakable customer experience for your business. However, it is crucial that you understand and apply the right strategies to keep customers impressed with your service and to demonstrate consistency within your organization.

A few of the best reverse-engineering strategies in customer experience are:

1. Understand your customer

A report by IBM revealed that 76% of customers expect companies to understand their needs. So understanding your customer should, of course, be a key strategy in your customer experience reverse-engineering process. In fact, to start a successful and powerful customer experience process, it is instrumental to know what your customers want.

A good place to start would be to determine what your audience wants and searches for within your brand and products. Do they want a good value for money? Or the quality of your products? Or simply innovation? Once you have an idea of what your customers want from your brand and why they want it, you and your team can much more easily determine the next steps in creating an ideal customer experience for them.

When talking to your customers, you’ll also gain a better understanding of what the customer buying journey looks like and you will, therefore, be better equipped to implement the right processes across your organization that will ensure the specific buying journey your customer is looking for.

From researching new leads to converting them into customers to eventually including them into your loyalty program, understanding your customers will make the entire customer acquisition run much more smoothly.

Customer data point

Understanding your customer is to know exactly what they want before they reach out to you and prevent any issues that they might experience even before launching your products or services. Through understanding their needs, you can better manage their expectations and produce an experience that will keep them hooked on your business.

2. Get ahead of industry standards

You won’t be able to improve your customer experience and progress your business if you don’t know where you stand as a business, either in terms of the current market, within your field, or otherwise, so you must assess your stance. Assessing your stance essentially means you must evaluate where your business is placed on the market, where it currently stands, and whether your business is up to date in your field. 

Are your company’s processes up to date, or does it have years of delay compared to your competitors? Do you only provide customer support by phone, or do you also offer live chat, email, and a ticketing service? Are you adapting to your customers’ requests and feedback?

These are only a few of the questions that can determine if your business is aligned with other companies in your field and if some internal and external updates are needed.

There are several reasons to ask yourself if you’re on top of the game or if your company suffers from the success of other products from other businesses. Having great customer support, several ways to contact your various departments, and the guarantee to provide a great customer experience are what keep your business relevant to not only customers, but your competitors as well. Take an honest look at where your business currently stands in these terms and compare it to where it should be, and you’ll know what needs to be changed in order to push your business to the next level.

Assessing and taking your stance to the next level is essential to ensure your customer excellence is at the top of its game.

3. Identify and prevent issues that your customers have

Once you understand what your potential customers are looking for and how to successfully convert them, you have to anticipate the issues that they might come into or have previously experienced with your business. Customers come across different issues every day and some of those issues may be detrimental to your business’s ability to retain these customers. For this reason, searching for, identifying, and fixing the issues that your customers encounter or will encounter is a crucial step in forging an ideal customer experience and should not be understated.

You can discover these issues by asking yourself: Have your customers expressed to you that they are having or have previously had issues with your products? Or are your products or services pleasing and satisfying enough? 

Once you identify any potential flaws your customers may not appreciate in your processes or products, a good and innovative way to prevent these issues is to create and distribute a prototype before the final launch and collect feedback about bugs and other problems.

For example, The Huffington Post revealed that only 1 out of 26 customers complain. The rest of them will only leave your brand without providing feedback. This is exactly why finding the issues before they do is a smart move.

You can utilize specific tactics to unearth the reason behind why customers might leave. For example, the team at the Scrabble word solving site, Unscrambled Words, used exit intent pop-ups to ask users why they were leaving the homepage after they noticed an uptick in bounce rate without any complaints. By soliciting feedback, they found some flaws in their new design, which they were able to fix and reduce their bounce. 

Reverse-engineering in your customer experience means preventing these issues in both your products and your departments to ensure customer satisfaction and loyalty. While it’s impossible to prevent all issues in your products or services, it is definitely doable to evaluate the common complaints you may receive from customers and address them in advance to prevent customers from disappearing.

Unsatisfied customers data point

4. Align your procedures and approach in all departments

Aligning your procedures across all your departments can be one of the most time-consuming tasks, but one that can really boost your customer experience. To be aligned across all departments can look like providing the same, detailed answer to customer queries. Whether they are contacting customer service, marketing, or billing, having a consistent and informative answer will send them a message that shows your business is not only ready and willing to assist them, but your business will provide reliable answers as well, demonstrating brand unity. 

Let’s take Apple as an example. It took them years to get to the level where they are now. However, they provide personalized and top-notch customer, marketing, billing, IT, and other services. When a customer contacts them, they will receive the same professional and premium approach, clear responses, and ultimately, the same procedures and guidelines.

An easy way to create a personalized approach to your customers is to use business chat software. Whether you choose to implement a chatbot or live chat, chat services are a tried-and-true way to provide consistent and quick answering and please all your clients.

Customer experience and customer loyalty data point

Aligning your procedures and approach towards your clients across your entire organization is an essential step to reverse-engineering the customer experience. While it is time-consuming and not always thrilling to do, it is worth it and will definitely elevate your brand.

5. Create marketing content and start a successful campaign

All businesses can benefit from creating and sharing marketable content, but when reverse-engineering the customer experience, it can be even more powerful. Integrate interesting and relevant content into your marketing campaign can provide your business with an opportunity to connect with new and existing clients, promote new products, share an important update, and advertise new services to a targeted audience, among much more.

There are so many different ways your business can develop your customer experience through creating content. Whether you choose to start a blog, share on social media, or record a video series, your business will be able to engage with your audience, learn more about their needs from one-on-one interactions, and become better equipped to convert them into loyal customers. 

Moreover, sharing content can be a great way to receive constructive feedback directly from customers. Receiving good feedback is nice, but negative feedback has proven to be much more useful as it helps you improve services or products to better suit your customers’ needs. Companies can use that constructive feedback to fix issues and bugs, implement new features, or change something in the way they deal with customers. The more companies listen to their customers, the happier they can make them. And happier customers are more likely to stay customers.

Content creation and adequate marketing cannot be overlooked when attempting to reverse-engineer the customer experience because it presents companies with the perfect opportunity to reach out to customers, hear about their experiences, and make the appropriate adjustments. It’s a simple and often fun way to interact with your customers and learn how your business can improve.

6. Analyze results through analytics and artificial intelligence

Analyzing the results of your marketing campaign can show you the success of your outreach in terms of customer awareness, engagement, and conversion, among other metrics. Using analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) also allows you to see how your agents handle customer requests, what customers think about your latest products, and more.

Both analytics and AI can help to reduce your workload by improving the way you take care of customer requests and how you create customer experiences. And each has the power to help the other. The more you analyze your campaign results, the more your AI software can adapt and improve to create an ideal customer experience. Artificial intelligence has the power to take the results of your campaign and help you create automated marketing tools that’ll ensure success in any future campaigns, whether that be higher customer satisfaction rates or more lead conversions. Analyzing future campaign results, thus, has the power to provide useful feedback to your artificial intelligence software that it can then use to improve your customer experience, and so on.

“Artificial intelligence will also help in mapping and analyzing your customer journey, which is extremely important to see things as they do. From the moment they discover your brand to the presale, the actual sale, your customer support, and more. It is an important point to understand what your customers have in mind when encountering your brand and jumping from step to step until they proceed to purchase your product.

It is also essential to note that analyzing your analytics and utilizing Artificial Intelligence can help to increase the Return On Investment after the creation of customer excellence initiatives.” - Jack Zmudzinski of Future Processing.

Analyzing the results of your marketing campaign and utilizing artificial intelligence software can help your business create better processes and, therefore, better customer excellence.

7. Use customer-centric metrics

Integrating and using customer-centric metrics can be another powerful strategy to include when reverse-engineering your customer experience. These can help your business understand the value behind your business’s ability to successfully convert and retain customers. A few metrics you might want to measure are:

  • The customer lifetime value (CLV)

This can measure the estimated revenue that a customer will spend over the length of his working relationship with a business. CLV is an important metric that should be taken into consideration when willing to convert a crisis into an opportunity by reverse-engineering the customer experience. Moreover, it is important to consider the CLV by channel. In fact, customers acquiring your product or service through social media might buy more than once, but some other purchasing through an affiliate marketing link might buy only once. It is important to consider the channels that work best for your brand.

  • Win-back rate

Measuring your win-back rate can show you the percentage of inactive customers that came back into buying your product or service. To win back customers, you should consider creating a relationship campaign and promotion to encourage these previous customers to purchase from your company once more.

  • The leaky bucket ratio

The leaky bucket ratio is the measurement of the number of customers lost compared to the new ones that you gained. This metric not only helps to know where your brand stands in terms of customers lost vs customers gained. It is essential to be aware that gaining new customers costs more to companies than retaining existing ones, and that’s another reason why it’s essential to reverse-engineering customer excellence. 

Why reverse-engineering is powerful

Reverse-engineering your customer service has the power to transform your organization and procedures for the better. 

These new procedures will allow your business to create a more enjoyable experience for your customers and reduce the gap between marketing promises and what the customers experience and want. A good marketing campaign will, of course, lead to many sales and lots of interest. When you keep the promises you’ve made, your customers will be thrilled and leave generous reviews, inevitably encouraging more leads to check out your business and convert into loyal customers. This will, in the longer term, allow you to create an online and offline community of ambassadors, fans, and promoters, and certainly is key to have a successful marketing campaign.

From creating a better customer experience to keeping your marketing promises and creating a stream of quality lead conversions, reverse-engineering your customer experience is proven to be highly beneficial and can establish your business as a dominating force within your industry.

Reverse-engineering the customer experience: The bottom line

Reverse-engineering the customer experience is a process that takes time and that certainly won’t happen overnight. For this reason, you should consider all the steps above to create a successful campaign.

From understanding your customers and identifying/preventing issues to aligning your processes and creating marketable content, each and every single step is important in formulating the perfect customer experience. Having the right mindset and goals when reverse-engineering your customer experience, above all else, can ensure that your business will be able to attract, convert, and retain customers for years to come. Taking a business to the next level by promising high-quality customer experiences is a challenging task, but the process of using reverse-engineering in customer excellence makes it easier. If you’re looking to improve your customer satisfaction, conversion, and retention rates, think first of reverse-engineering.

Maria Mladenovska

Maria Mladenovska is a content manager at DigitalNovas, an online guide about how to become a digital marketing expert. She is passionate about marketing and her curiosity to learn is ever-evolving.

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