With more and more options being readily available to customers, customer experience matters more than ever. Customer experience is now what brings new customers in, as well as what keeps them. So much so, 87% of customers who say they had a great experience will make another purchase from the company, compared to 18% of customers who had a very poor experience.
Every interaction customers have with your business — whether it be through marketing, customer service, or using the product or service itself — is part of the customer experience. This means that the customer experience comes from different departments and areas of expertise working together.
Cross-team collaboration is key to delivering a great customer experience.
A great customer experience results in improved user acquisition, retention, engagement, and user satisfaction. In fact, 84% of companies that work to improve their customer experience report an increase in their revenue.
In this post, we’ll cover what the customer experience is and how you can improve it through cross-team collaboration strategies.
What is Customer Experience?
As we mentioned before, the customer experience is essentially any and every interaction customers have with your business. This is from the very start when they first see an advertisement, all the way until they are loyal customers.
Customer experience matters for your business. The benefits include:
- Better customer acquisition
- Increased conversion rates
- Improved customer satisfaction and engagement
- More customer advocacy and word-of-mouth marketing
- Increased customer retention and brand loyalty
- Better product development and more innovation
- Reduced costs for customer success and marketing
Customer experience involves every team and part of your business.
Marketing is responsible for brand awareness and creating a brand voice that resonates with audiences. This requires using marketing to create an experience that is intriguing, shows value, and generates high-quality leads.
Sales takes care of putting the product in front of customers — showing how it works, why they need it and finding ways to meet expectations.
Customer success works directly with customers on a regular basis. These interactions are key to offering support, understanding their pain points, and gathering valuable feedback.
Product and Development
Product and development teams are in charge of creating something customers actually like to use. This includes making products that are user-friendly, reliable, and have everyday value.
Lack of collaboration between these teams can lead to bad customer experiences. For example, if the sales teams pitch products inaccurately because they are misinformed. Or product teams continuing to make products that customers consistently give negative feedback on, and never improving them. Or long support wait times because customer success teams are overwhelmed by tickets as a result of inadequate onboarding content.
Below we’ll discuss strategies for how these teams can collaborate together to improve the customer experience.
Cross-team Collaboration Strategies
There’s several opportunities for collaboration among different departments on your team. Here are ways to create a customer experience that results in not only acquiring customers, but building relationships beyond their initial purchase.
Optimise the Customer Journey
From catching the attention of customers through ad campaigns, to the moment they enter payment information, and throughout customer onboarding — there are several points of interaction in the customer journey. Successfully guiding customers through these steps takes collaboration from development, marketing, sales, and customer success teams.
Development teams should work closely with marketing in order to clearly communicate the products and services. UI and UX designers are able to create content that achieves this goal, while also aligning with the brand voice and promotional materials set forth by marketing teams.
Additionally, UI and UX designers can work with customer success teams to develop content that adequately informs and educates customers about the products and services offered during acquisition and onboarding. Customer success teams can provide development with common customer issues, recurring points of interest, and help craft onboarding steps to best equip new customers. This will not only better onboard customers, but will help keep them engaged during a common point for customer dropoff.
Better Sales Pitches
Both sales and product teams benefit by working together.
Product teams have a deep knowledge of the products, and can give the sales team an informed and accurate overview. Meanwhile, sales teams can use this information to create customised sales pitches around specific functions and features, and make the products sellable through showing use-cases and highlighting the benefits.
Additionally, sales teams work directly with the customers themselves. They are able to see first-hand what customers like, what customers don’t like, and specific factors that impact whether they make a purchase or not. With this insight, sales teams are able to provide product teams with invaluable feedback of how customers use the product.
Through this collaboration, product teams will be able to make better products and sales teams will be able to make better sales pitches.
A few strategies for implementing this collaboration include:
- Product managers joining in for sales calls to understand the process first-hand
- Product teams giving pitches to inform and prepare sales teams of new products
- Sales teams collecting data such as the top reasons for no-sales
- Sales teams being included in product testing for customer perspective
- Sales teams providing competition analysis for product positioning in the market
Encourage Customer Advocacy
Working together, customer success and marketing can better encourage customer advocacy.
Customer advocacy can be online reviews, testimonials, customer referrals and affiliate promotions.
Providing excellent customer service is one of the best ways to turn customers into advocates. 77% of customers recommend a brand to a friend after having a single positive customer service experience.
Customer advocacy builds brand awareness, adds social proof and is a critical factor in persuading customers to buy your product or service. Think about your own shopping habits. Are you more likely to trust a business that has dozens of reviews and high ratings, or one with no reviews or low ratings?
Using customer advocacy in marketing can give a big boost to conversion rates. This could be featuring ad copy like “top-rated product” or “five-star rating” in display advertising, sales materials, email campaigns, social media posts, paid ad text. Additionally, having reviews on specific product pages can enhance the overall customer experience and encourage customers who are hesitant to buy. One study found that the purchase likelihood for a product with five reviews is 270% greater than the purchase likelihood of a product with no reviews.
Customer success and marketing teams can collaborate through the following strategies:
- Creating customer referral programs
- Identifying potential affiliate partners
- Sharing customer success stories
- Asking for reviews and testimonials in a chat box
Address Customer Pain Points
While sales and product teams can work together to acquire new customers, customer success and product teams can work together to keep customers and improve retention.
Customer success works day in and day out, to solve problems, hear concerns and ensure customers are satisfied. With this, they are able to tell product teams where the pain points are and what can be improved. This can include:
- Providing NPS scores
- Data and trends from support tickets
- Calling customers directly for interviews
- Conducting customer surveys for feedback
Customer success teams can also find ideal customers to contribute and test new products. They will be able to identify anyone who is fitting for the task, and product teams will be able to use real customers to evaluate new products before they are created or launched. This helps products teams, and also establishes a relationship with customers to build brand loyalty as they feel connected and invested in the business.
Moreover, these insights allow product teams to better collaborate with development teams to help create user-friendly products.
Create Customer-Driven Content
Along with helping product teams, customer success insights will better equip marketing teams to create relevant and useful materials to enhance the overall customer experience.
Customer service teams can begin tracking support tickets, and compiling a list of common questions and issues. From this list, marketing teams can create content including:
- FAQ pages
- Knowledge & resources bases
- Blog posts & industry articles
- Customer case studies
- Onboarding guides and tutorials
- Video content highlighting product uses
This content can be help:
- Organically acquire new customers
- Address questions of potential customers
- Offer self-service customer support
- Provide examples and social proof
- Simplify your product or service through video
- Establish your position as an industry leader
Brainstorming and developing customer-driven content is an on-going task for both customer service and marketing. But, when done properly, this content offers new marketing opportunities as well as alleviating the workload of customer success teams.
What to Consider
Given the benefits, cross-team collaboration is a no-brainer for any business seeking to improve the customer experience. But in order for teams to collaborate effectively, there’s a few things that need to be taken into consideration.
Find the Right Tools
For starters, make sure that everyone is on the same page. Every team should be in the loop in regard to overall goals, how things are progressing, and general information related to tasks.
Tools like RingCentral allow your team to have a collaborative workspace — including team messaging, file sharing and project management. Teams can ask each other questions in real time, edit files together, and assign tasks and deadlines.
Having a centralised tool like this is a sure-way to increase collaboration. 96% of organisations saw an increase in team collaboration when using RingCentral.
Develop a Process
In addition to centralising communications, develop a standardised process for collaboration. This can include how you will set guidelines for meetings, distribute project tasks, and measure KPIs.
Developing a new standardised process can take time, especially when coordinating individual teams who may be used to another way of doing things. Consider starting with small and manageable process changes, such as how to share meeting notes. Then as you progress, work towards creating a more-holistic standardised process.
The goal should be that every team understands the process, is able to follow it, and works in sync.
Balance Personalities and Perspectives
Getting every team working together and in sync is easier said than done. Especially given the fact that each team has different experiences, needs, priorities, and even egos, involved.
Keep this in mind as you get started. Avoid falling victim to the silo mentality — wherein every team functions independently of each other, leading to competition rather than collaboration. Be prepared for times of unavoidable conflict and unforeseen changes in plans.
Having centralised communications and processes will help balance this. Also consider more in-depth initiatives to bring teams together, such as a team charter that establishes direction and boundaries, or something more light-hearted like a team building event.
Foster a Collaborative Culture
Finally, aim to create a culture where collaboration is welcomed and valued.
Set aside time for brainstorming sessions for teams to come together and share ideas in a risk-free environment. Let ideas flow off each other, and experiment with new methods.
Additionally, add places in your workspaces where team members can recognise the hard work of others. If you have the available resources, consider implementing a reward system where teams can give other teams small tokens of appreciation such as gift cards.
By encouraging and rewarding collaborative efforts, individuals will feel more comfortable with reaching beyond their own team.
All combined, you’ll be able to begin using cross-team collaboration as a way to better inform, engage, and build relationships with your customers, and as a result, provide a better overall customer experience.