Customer experience (CX) is everything when it comes to your company’s overall success. If your clients have a great experience working with you and they get the results they desire, they’re more likely to stay loyal. The opposite is also true. Research shows that as much as 90% of buyers may leave after just one bad experience.

While there are shelves and shelves of books and hundreds of podcast episodes dedicated to helping businesses improving CX, Vala Afshar, chief digital evangelist at Salesforce, says most of this wisdom can be distilled into two main points. We discuss his thoughts in this issue of Promotional Consultant Today.

Foundation No. 1: A customer-first mindset. Afshar says it’s vital to put the customer at the heart of your business, from the first outreach to post-sales follow-ups. You can begin to do this by talking more about CX in planning meetings, pipeline reviews, brainstorming sessions and more. Talk about CX so much that it becomes the top focus at your organization.

Foundation No. 2: Automation and artificial intelligence (AI). AI can help you improve your customer experience by helping you better segment your audience. When you have a deeper understanding of a potential buyer’s needs and motivations, you can create the kind of messaging that will keep them moving through the pipeline.

Afshar recommends outlining the specific business challenges or problems you want automation and AI to solve. Then, you can consider how current workflows would be impacted and which team members may need to be reskilled. He adds that customers are only becoming more open to companies using AI to improve their experience. Whether that looks like voice analytics or chatbots, AI can help you deliver the outstanding experience your customers expect. Companies that use AI well will be rewarded with customer loyalty and repeat business, Afshar says.

How To Create A Remarkable Customer Experience

An excellent CX begins with a customer-first mindset and a willingness to embrace automation and AI. But what next? According to Afshar, businesses should set the bar high. They must provide a personalized experience every time and tailor every engagement to the customer’s unique needs. Remember that buyers expect the brands they love to understand their wants and needs in context. Businesses that fall short may end up alienating customers.

Afshar points out Salesforce research that shows that 85 percent of customers expect consistent interactions across departments when they engage with a company. When consistency lapses across touchpoints, 55 percent of customers lose trust in companies. As a result, these customers often look elsewhere.

When thinking about improving CX within your organization, consider how you can foster greater engagement. This may mean rolling out a more intuitive website design, being transparent about your pricing or making it easier for prospects to access helpful resources.

Whatever you decide to tackle first, approach it with a customer-focused mindset. Because at the end of the day, it’s about creating incredible experiences and happy customers.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Vala Afshar is chief digital evangelist at Salesforce.