A good customer experience strategy can help you:
- improve customer satisfaction by 10-20%
- boost sales conversions by 10-15%
- make you less dependent on ads
- and let you take full control of your growth.
More satisfied customers = more sales.
And in this article you’re going to learn what it takes to create a good customer experience strategy and how to execute it.
Everything in this article is based on our multi-year experience working with the most customer centric retailers and e-commerce brands in Scandinavia. We are developers of a software called Triggerbee which is an onsite marketing platform for e-commerce brands. KICKS, Cervera, Jula, K-Rauta, Apohem, and Bonnier are just a few brands using our onsite marketing software. These brands have very high standards for their customer experiences, and we have learned a lot from catering to their needs and helping them achieve their customer experience goals.
And every year we manually analyze the customer journeys of over 200+ of the largest e-commerce brands in Scandinavia. Each brand is scored based on a list of 47 criteria covering data collection, email marketing, omnichannel activities, personalization, and more. The findings are published once a year in a report we call PINDEX (Personalization Index).
Note: Start by downloading the customer experience strategy template. It’s a slide deck containing all the pieces you need to present or define your customer experience strategy. It covers your goals, which segments to focus on, tech stack planning, and personas.
What is a customer experience strategy?
A customer experience strategy should includes details about what should happen during each stage of the customer journey in order to turn a new customer into a loyal fan and how to make loyal fans stick around. Your strategy needs to have defined goals, key audience segments, customer journey phases, technical implementation, and how to measure success.
But keep in mind that the main goal(s) of a customer experience strategy are always one or more of the following:
- Acquiring new customers at a lower cost (lower your CAC)
- Make existing customers purchase more often (increase repeat purchase rate)
- Increase the lifetime value of your existing customers
You’re likely not creating a customer experience strategy just for fun.
Businesses can say anything they want about building customer relationships, delivering value, and being relatable… but the end result of a better customer experience and everything it entails, is a more profitable business with happier customers.
Good customer experiences are based on the 80/20 rule. 80% is knowing the basic principles of UX design and communication, and 20% targeting, personalization, measurement and implementation.
If you’re an e-commerce brand, the basics of a good customer experience are:
- User-friendly website with intuitive navigation
- Quick and simple payment solution (i.e. Klarna)
- Free shipping and fast delivery
- Fast (and nice) support responses from support agents
- Accessibility settings (High-contrast mode and font sizes)
- Communication that resonates (i.e. NOT only promotions)
A huge part of the customer experience (at least the digitally) is having a very user friendly website that encourages the users to use it. If your customers can glance at your website and know exactly where to click to find what they’re looking for, you’ve won half of the battle. Simplicity always wins.
Think of it this way: You’re not just selling products; you’re delivering a feeling that makes people want to come back. It’s about building long-term relationships. One interaction at a time. Do it right and sales will naturally follow.
What a GREAT customer experience strategy looks like
Let me tell you a quick story about our CEO Olof and how a small bicycle shop in Girona, Spain saved his holiday.
Olof loves bicycling. On a recent trip to Girona in Spain, he was looking forward to enjoy the scenic views of Catalonia’s countryside from the road. But he ran into a big problem right away: his bike’s brakes broke during his first ride.
He visited a few local bicycle shops to see if they had the parts he needed to fix his bike. But after getting turned down and rejected by several repair shops too busy to help a random tourist, he stumbled into a TREK store. And that’s where things took a turn for the better.
The staff at the TREK store didn’t just help him out; they went above and beyond to ensure that Olof could get back out on the road.
They didn’t have the parts he needed to fix his bike either. But, they offered to borrow him one of their rental bikes for free just to keep his vacation rolling.
This act of kindness was just the start. Olof kept going back to the store and they kept impressing him. The TREK staff eventually recognized him on sight, and when he brought his family they gave him a huge discount on the price of a premium rental bike for his son.
Olof asked if this was just them being nice or a part of their business strategy. Turns out, it’s deeply rooted in TREK’s values and culture to “surprise and delight” customers. Eduoardo, the store manager in Girona, even showed him TREK’s customer service book, making it clear that this was all part of their motto: “making the planet better by getting more people on bikes”.
This whole experience not only made Olof a TREK fan for life but also showed him what a great customer experience means. Then and there, he decided his next bike was going to be a TREK.
Creating a customer experience strategy is not just about fixing a problem; it’s about finding a way to turn a customer into a loyal advocate.
The result of a world-class customer experience…
Sephora is one of the world’s larges beauty brands, and they have a loyalty program with more than 30+ million members worldwide. In 2018, LVMH (the owner of Sephora), reported that 80% of their sales came from their existing loyalty members. And they had such a strong focus on customer experience that they felt it was important enough to include it in their annual financial results (See page 18 “Outlook”).
If that’s not proof that the customer experience is important, I don’t know what is.
Why is having a Customer Experience strategy important?
Having a good customer experience is important because it will help you differentiate your brand in a very crowded marketplace.
Look: most online brands are trying to catch the same fish as everyone else. The standard e-commerce playbook is made up of email- and influencer marketing, affiliate programs, and Facebook, Instagram, and Google ads.
Literally everyone uses the same playbook.
In the current market, you win by using your data better than your competition.
Times are changing. There are more loyalty programs than ever, and consumers have more choices than ever. Having a customer experience strategy means that you’re adapting to these changes.
The difference between customer experience and customer support
The customer experience refers to how you make your customers feel after visiting a store or making a purchase online. From the first visit on your website, to returning a product, or filing a complaint. All of these things should be covered (at least briefly) in your customer experience strategy.
Customer Support is a specific part of the customer experience. Support is focused on assisting customers with questions, issues, or challenges they may encounter throughout their journey.
The quality of your customer support has a significant impact on the overall customer experience, but it’s just one element of a broader CX strategy.
User Experience vs. Customer Experience
User experience is how people interact with your digital platforms. How easy it is to find what your customers are looking for. UX is focused on informational hierarchy, visual hierarchy, and design elements.
Your UX is an important part of the overall customer experience. But it is a specific part focused on how the customer experience is delivered.
Customer experience is broader than user experience (UX). It’s the perception of your brand across all touchpoints.
Customer satisfaction vs. Customer experience
Customer satisfaction is a momentary measure of your customers happiness, and is measured with a CSAT survey.
CSAT stands for Customer Satisfaction Score, and it’s a survey that usually contains a simple question with a response on a scale of 1-5. The standard CSAT survey question is: “How satisfied are you with your shopping experience?”
If you want to know more about measuring your customer satisfaction, read this blog post about CSAT surveys.
The role of personalization in the customer experience
Personalization is one of the most effective ways to enhance the customer experience. In our experience personalization is best used when it:
- increases the clarity of an interaction
- decreases friction and confusion
- reduces anxiety
- minimizes distractions
Take a look at Amazon’s homepage. Can you spot the similarity to Netflix’s start page?
Amazon personalizes five sections of their homepage:
- They display the name of the account owner (right of search bar)
- Delivery address (left of search bar)
- Felix’s Amazon (in the sub-navigation menu)
- “Keep shopping for” where they showcase my latest visited products.
- “Buy again” where they show my last 4 purchases.
Amazon is a marketplace, which means you buy products from third-party sellers and not directly from Amazon. Imagine if I experienced issues with the thermometer shown in my “Buy again”-section. The first place I’d look is in a cabinet to see if I still have the box it came in.
But I’m the kind of person who throws boxes away immediately. So I would go to Amazon and navigate to the product page…
Luckily for me, Amazon have personalized product pages with notifications on the products. Not only do they tell me the purchase date, but I can review it AND get product support.
This is an incredibly simple but powerful way of using personalization strategically.
In other words, personalization is MUCH MORE than simply adding product recommendations and tailoring on-page search results. It’s about using the data you have about your customers to give them what they need, at the time they need it.
The second reason why personalization is important is because the apps we use on a daily basis are setting the bar for digital expectations.
TikTok, Netflix, Instagram, Spotify, Google, Youtube, Linkedin. Everything is personalized to you and your interests.
Your customers’ are already comparing the simplicity and accessibility on your site to the services and other brands they interact with.
Personalization makes every interaction less confusing and relevant which should be the main purpose of any personalization.
If you are interested in learning more about personalization, we’ve compiled an insightful list 29 unique personalization examples ranging from how to use customer data to tailor shopping experiences, to using specific tools like exit-intent popups for cart recovery.
How to create a Customer Experience Strategy
To create a customer experience strategy you should start by measuring your current customer experience, create a customer journey map, evaluate all the parts that go into your customer experience, and continually measure the most important CX metrics such as repeat purchase rate and customer satisfaction score.
Step 1: Understand your customers and current customer experience.
The first thing you need to do when creating a customer experience strategy is to understand what your customers think about your current experience.
The fastest way to measure the performance of your overall customer experience is by running a CSAT survey. This lets your customers rate their experience on a scale of 1-5 and leave a comment about potential improvements.
Here are some other ways to know what your customers think about your current experience:
- Scrape reviews and use pivot tables to find repeating words and phrases.
- Analyze Session recordings using tools like Microsoft Clarity or Hotjar
- Analyze digital customer behavior using a tool like Triggerbee
- Analyze NPS scores
- Identify customer churn rate and reasons for churning
- Run micro-surveys asking questions like “Is there any information missing on this page that would be helpful for you?”
But again, the fastest way to get a measurable score of your customer experience is by using CSAT surveys. Here’s how Cervera used Triggerbee’s CSAT surveys to find improvements in their customer experience.
Customer satisfaction is a critical metric for Cervera as it directly impacts customer loyalty, repeat sales, and overall brand reputation.
Cervera built and published a CSAT survey using Triggerbee’s survey functionality. They used a Callout template which appears in one of the corners of the screen.
The callout used a two-step form with the first step asking the customer to give a CSAT rating. The second step featured an optional comment field.
Cervera used page targeting and published it on the Thank you/receipt page. The CSAT survey was triggered immediately after a customer completed their purchase. In addition to collecting a rating of their customer experience, Cervera also collected valuable zero-party data by asking their customers to provide a comment which allowed Cervera to pinpoint aspects of the online shopping experience that required improvement.
”Thanks to the survey function in Triggerbee, we were able to measure the customers’ shopping experience in a simple and fun way. We are very pleased with the results of the survey. The comments gave us insight into how the buying journey can be improved and we will take action on it right away.” – Carolina Hejde, Online E-commerce Coordinator at Cervera
Step 2: Develop a Customer Journey Map
Next you need some kind of customer journey map that illustrates the most important parts of the customer journey. This map should visually represent the lifecycle from initial awareness to post-purchase experiences. Below is a slide from the free customer experience strategy template included in this post.
- Start with customer research: Gather first- and zero-party data about your customers’ behaviors, preferences, and pain points. Use surveys, session recordings, and behavior analytics to collect as much information as possible about your customers. The data you gather here will be the foundation of your journey map.
- Identify important interactions: Pinpoint all the potential points of interaction between the customer and your business. These touchpoints can range from visiting your website, speaking to customer service, making a purchase, to receiving marketing emails. Understanding these touchpoints is crucial in mapping the customer journey accurately, and will help you figure out when to personalize, and when to simply trigger a helpful message.
- Pinpoint blockers and anxiety triggers: You want to do a customer journey walkthrough. Go through each step of your most important customer journey(s), from seeing the first ad, to visiting the website, to completing a purchase. Look for these 4 things: 1) Clarity – Is every step as clear as it could be? 2) Friction – What’s causing doubts and hesitation? 3) Anxiety – What makes me cringe? 4) Distraction – Are there multiple distractions? Do I know what I want to do on the page?
- Highlight moments of enlightenment: There are always a few key moments in the journey that are more important than others. These moments have a major impact on your customer’s perception of your brand. And these moments are opportunities to win over the customer or risk losing them. These are the interactions that you want to start with when implementing any CX changes.
- Incorporate customer feedback: You want to use reviews, survey comments, and other feedback received from customers directly into your journey map. The reason is because your customer journey map should not be created with an internal point of view.
- Continuously update the map: Review your customer journey map once every quarter or six months. Your customers’ behavior and expectations will change over time, so make sure to regularly update your map to reflect any changes or trends that might affect your customer experience.
Step 3: Evaluate your current customer service strategy
Your customer support and service have a huge impact on the overall customer experience. A bad experience with a support rep can turn away a customer for life.
Start by identifying strengths, weaknesses, and areas for potential improvement. This means diving into both solved and unsolved support tickets, reviewing support feedback, analyze response times, and compare your NPS scores with industry benchmarks.
You are looking for improvement opportunities and ways to boost customer satisfaction.
For example, implementing a chatbot solution like Intercom or Zendesk can help customers resolve the most common questions faster without needing a person to respond.
And keep in mind, frequently asked questions are often a great area to start with. If a lot of customers are opening support tickets asking similar questions, you might want to consider answering that question (and its variants) in a FAQ.
Step 4: Create a customer feedback loop
Most retailers and e-commerce brands are notoriously bad at collecting customer feedback. At best, they’ll have an NPS survey on the thank you page.
To create a customer feedback loop you need to proactively ask for feedback during interactions that you know impact the customer experience.
Running micro-surveys like Zalando does on their product pages, allows you to collect feedback without disturbing the browsing experience. Plus, the responses will give you a never-ending stream of insight and feedback.
Step 5: Empower customers with self-service options
Tools like stylist videos, FAQs, chatbots, and knowledge bases give customers the opportunity to help make decisions independently.
Nordstroms have a video for most items in their online store where a stylist gives out tips on how to use a garment, how to style it, and things to think about regarding that specific item.
This can be a huge time saver. Self-service resources helps customers to solve problems on their own, reducing the load on your customer service teams.
Step 6: Measure customer experience KPI’s
No customer experience strategy is complete without metrics to follow. However, there’s not one single KPI that can measure the overall performance of your customer experience. You need different KPI’s that measure the performance of specific parts of the customer journey. Common KPI’s used for measuring the customer experience include:
- Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT): CSAT surveys lets your customer’s rate your customer experience on a scale of 1-5. It is a powerful survey type to understand short-term satisfaction and how your customers feel when interacting with your brand.
- Net Promoter Score (NPS): NPS surveys are foundational for most large brands. is a metric that measures the likelihood of your customers recommending your brand to their friends. It’s a very good gauge to see how good you are at creating loyal customers.
- Identification rate: Measures how effectively you can identify individual customers visiting your website. A higher identification rate means you can deliver more personalized customer experiences.
- Churn Rate: This metric monitors how many of your customers are one-time buyers. A high churn rate can mean that your customers prefer to buy from another brand. Use CSAT surveys to find potential reasons why customers might churn.
- Repeat Purchase Rate: Measures how often customers come back and make repeat purchases. A high repeat purchase rate suggests a great customer experience and strong loyalty.
- Average Resolution Time: A measurement of the average time it takes to resolve customer issues and tickets. Quick resolution times are generally associated with improved customer experiences.
- Participation/Redemption Rate: This metric is especially relevant in loyalty programs. It measures how many customers or members are redeeming offers, which is often a good indicator of engagement and value.
- Revenue per Session: Calculates the average revenue generated per customer session. It provides insights into how your customer experiences impact revenue. In contrast to conversion rate, the revenue per session can increase even if the conversion rate decreases. It is especially important to keep track of RPS after a major change to the website.
Step 7: Deliver personalization
Most people talk about personalization like it’s a random tactic you can apply on any site, in any situation. But the truth is that personalization success depends on the quality of your data, who you can target, and when you’re adding personalized content.
Zalando is a personalization leader in the fashion industry. They automatically generate complete outfits based on your browsing and purchase history. And they also pre-select sizes based on your self-reported fit feedback.
Onsite personalization is enabled by a mix of contact information, individual website activity, and traffic attribution. Because in the end, personalization needs to deliver value for your customers.
With that in mind, a good onsite personalization should (from your customer’s point of view):
- “Give me relevant recommendations I wouldn’t have thought of myself”
- “Communicate with me when I’m in the mood to buy, or learn something new“
- “Remind me of things I want to remember”
- “Recognize me, no matter how I interact with your brand“
- “Share valuable information in a format I like“
If you follow these 5 points you will be able to improve your onsite personalization strategy almost instantly.
Customer Experience Strategy Best Practices
Focus on activities that capture first- and zero-party data
First-party data is all data that your collect from its own channels and sources.
In other words, any information about your target audience that comes from both online and offline sources such as your website, CRM, point of sales-system, app usage, in-store visits, etc.
Zero-party data on the other hand is data submitted by the user, through forms, surveys, preferences, clothing sizes, and so on. Here is a real example of how Swedish brand Nudient collects and uses zero-party data to enhance their customer experience.
Nudient wanted to make it easier for their website visitors to find the right case for their device.
They created a device-selection popup in Triggerbee with a dropdown that contained all phone models available. The popup appears as soon as you visit their category page and when you select your preferred device, it filters and sorts the products after the model you selected.
More than 100,000+ visitors have selected a device, and Nudient now knows their device model even if they don’t make a purchase.
Segment your customers
Customer segmentation is a powerful tool. And you should include your most important customer segments in your customer experience strategy. Not only does this help with finding ways to improve your experience, but it helps your team and other stakeholders to see which customers you find are most important.
You probably have 4-5 highly valuable customer segments. But that doesn’t mean each segment won’t have slightly different filters when you’re sending an email campaign or publishing a personalized promotion on your website.
It’s about knowing who you’re (broadly) targeting and then allowing for nuances depending on the situation and campaign content.
Here are some common customer segments that are generally considered “Valuable”:
- Customers / non-customers
- Customers who haven’t purchased in the last 60 days
- Subscribers who have visited the website in the last 7 days (without purchase)
- Customers who have received and interacted with a discount code, but haven’t purchased
- Registered loyalty members
- VIP customers (customers with $X total spend)
When in doubt, simplify. Remove stuff. After 5 years of working with e-commerce brands, there is one thing both the big and small ones have in common. They love complex stuff. “If a visitor clicks on this button, we want to show message A or B, but only if they have previously…”.
A personalized customer experience is great. But not if it makes it hard for your visitors to navigate or understand what’s happening next. So if you’re ever asking yourself how to “improve” a specific interaction… Opt for removing any unnecessary elements or steps. For example, do you really need a shopping cart step? What is it used for, and why can’t everything be managed on the checkout step?
Or why should the instructions on how to return a product be hidden deep within a knowledge base? Why not link to it directly on the product page?
Stuff like that. Removing clicks and adding contextual information often results in increased clarity and in the end… A better customer experience.
Use AI and automation
Since ChatGPT was released in 2023, AI has been all the rage. While AI offers incredible ways to improve the customer experience, it’s important to use it as a tool to complement human interaction, not replace it.
Using AI to enhance the customer experience
AI is great for providing quick answers to common questions, but the human touch is irreplaceable for any question more complex than “What’s your return policy?”.
With that said, here are some ways AI can improve the customer experience:
- Customer segmentation and targeting: Our partner Sift Lab have a platform that uses AI to create new customer segments based on your customer’s purchase history. This data can be used to display product recommendations, forecasting, customer analysis, and ad targeting. AI is perfect for things like this.
- Translating text: Translation services are usually quite expensive. If you’re launching your brand in a new country, you need to localize your store and translate a ton of text. AI can translate huge amounts of text in very little time and deliver a good enough result for a fraction of the price of a human translator.
- Ad optimization: If you have thousands of SKU’s, price optimization is a full-time job. AI-enabled dynamic pricing is a strategy of changing your product price based on supply and demand. With access to the right data, today’s tools can predict when and what to discount.
Automations are necessary if you want to deliver a great omnichannel customer experience. In most cases, this means automated email flows triggered by website behavior, activity or time delay.
One of the biggest mistakes we see both our customers and other retailers make with automations is that they’re only sending out promotions which doesn’t build loyalty or trust in the same way as entertainment and behind-the-scenes content.
Sure, welcome discounts are a great way to initiate a customer relationship. But a great customer experience means delivering content with other purposes than making a sale.
Here are some of the best performing email flows that you should include in your customer experience strategy:
- Welcome flow: Triggered when a person has signed up for a newsletter or after a first-time purchase. It consists of a series of 3-5 emails sent out over 7 days to introduce a new subscriber or customer to your brand and products.
- Browse abandonment flow: Triggered after a “browse and bounce” session. Usually 1 email with 2-3 reminders sent out to identified customers who have recently visited or viewed a product on your website.
- Cart abandonment flow: Triggered after a visitor has added a product to their cart and then left the website. Usually 1 email with 2-3 reminders sent out a few hours after the session ended.
- Win-back flow: Time-based trigger. A win-back flow is usually sent out to customers who have made only 1 purchase in the last 12 months, and comes with a “come back”-offer to make them come back.
- Restock flow: Time-based trigger. If you’re selling consumables, i.e. deodorant or makeup, you know your customers need to buy them again. The restock flow is sent out after 30 or 60 days reminding the customer to restock on their favorite product.
- Free gift flow: Sent out to non-customers to incentivize them to become customers, or loyal customers to keep them around. Usually 1-2 emails presenting the free gift with content explaining it’s theirs if they buy something within a limited time frame.
- VIP or Early-access flows: Seasonal trigger. Invite loyal customers to get access before everyone else on major campaigns and sales like Black Friday.
- Post-purchase flow: Activity trigger. Sent out to customers who have purchased specific products. The content of this email is often educational and contains upsells to a related service. If you’ve bought a knife, you might get 3-5 videos showing how to keep it sharp, how to store it, and a special offer on a knife sharpening service.
Remind customers of things that are valuable for them
Proactively reminding customers about products, benefits, or promotions that are relevant to them can have a huge impact on the customer experience. Whether it’s a reminder about an item a customer viewed but didn’t purchase, a nudge about an expiring loyalty voucher, or a simple time-delayed reminder to refill i.e. their shampoo can be a very impactful driver of revenue.
Here are some situations where reminders are valuable:
- Abandoned carts
- Products out of stock
- Expiring offers
- Reminders of unused loyalty vouchers
- Event registrations
Data Collection and Audience Targeting in Owned Channels
Almost all data is important, but not all data will be important to you or your brand.
When it comes to the customer experience, you want to collect first-party data and zero-party data.
Your goals will help you decide exactly what type of data you need to collect, what KPI’s to measure and how you use it to improve the customer experience.
In other words:
Don’t collect data just to collect data, make sure you actually use it. Not only will this save you from a lot of headaches down the road, but it will also save a lot of disk space as well.
Below you have the most common types of data used in marketing, ranked by their usefulness and how much data is available in that area.
Web behavior and interests offer the most opportunities for relevant communication and enhancement of the customer experience.
For example: If a customer adds a product to the cart in size M, your product recommendations could say “Available in size M” (or whatever size the customer selects on their next product). It’s a small enhancement with a big impact as it increases the visibility of the available sizes.
Most of the data you use to create customer experiences will come from your website, your CRM, marketing automation platform, point-of-sales software, and customer data platform.