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How can brands align their customer experiences, delight customers and transform businesses at the same time? PHOTO: Joanna Boj

We're now in an era where customer experience plays a significant role in the success of a brand.

But how do those of us tasked to provide customer experience (CX) — CMOs, brand strategists and other CX professionals — deliver experiences that meet our customers’ wants, needs and expectations?

How can we craft and deliver an irresistible customer experience that aligns the business to our brand’s vision and values, while still meeting the demands of customers?

Major Macro CX Themes

It’s a question that’s been keeping many of us awake for some time. But recently, I’ve been able to shed some light on the solution…

In November, I was lucky enough to chair the Customer Experience Exchange Europe event in Brussels, speaking on stage with some of today’s most enlightened CX professionals from brands that are currently ticking all the right boxes with their customer experience strategies, both inside and outside the business.

They uncovered a series of major macro themes in customer experience planning and execution. Insights that ultimately outline how brands can align their customer experiences, delight customers and transform businesses at the same time.

So let’s take a closer look at some of the fast emerging customer experience themes that will renew and fuel your brand strategy.

1. Customer Experience Starts With Your Business

Developing CX is a core business discipline; if brands are to fulfil their potential in terms of financial performance, they require an engaged and committed internal team led from the very top. 

This is why the CX Revolution inside the business is critical if customers are to be convinced to invest in a brand. People throughout the organization need to understand their role in the customer’s journey, and should align their actions with the brand.

From senior management to sales staff, from delivery drivers to customer service advisers, brands need to bring their customer experience vision to life for everyone.

Asking people to work in new ways and create new alliances across the business can be a transformative but disruptive and expensive process. Instead, build a business case using empirical evidence; highlight how a realigned customer experience directly impacts customer and business outcomes in terms of real value.

If a change has no identifiable business benefit, it’s unlikely you’ll get the support and investment required from the senior management team. And why should you?

We must not only consider the customer experience, but also the employee/colleague experience that we create, in order to inspire and engage the team who make it all happen.

2. Deliver a Holistic Customer Experience

There has been an explosion of available data in terms of customer experience in the last few years. We’re now able to observe the behavior of customers in the digital space, as well the emotional relationships they are building with brands in the physical world.

Brands need to break down the barriers between digital and physical touchpoints to create one seamless journey. And in doing this, create something that’s naturally holistic and multi-channel; CX and UX should not be set apart, they need to be considered as one.

It’s no surprise that customers are very much in charge of today’s customer experiences. They know what they want and where they want it, and it’s up to the brand to deliver this in a friction-free way.

Brands failing to deliver a seamless, holistic and multi-channel experience are going to fall behind as competitors engage, inspire and build relationships with customers on their chosen channel and device.

3. Get Your Basics Right

There’s a lot of talk about creating ‘WOW’ moments in customer experience or, as we like to see them, moments of brand amplification.

They are the moments in the customer journey where brands delight customers in a differentiated, on-brand way — not only to build loyalty and brand advocacy, but encourage customers to become a natural part of the brands communication team.

But focusing too much attention, too soon, on creating these can do more harm than good. After all, if a business can’t get their brand basics right what chance do they have of amplifying their brand at all?

Brand basics are the things customers expect brands within a category to deliver, done in a uniquely on-brand way; designed to boost customer satisfaction and build a brand in a positive light.

When brand basics are delivered effectively brand amplifiers are much easier to implement...

Let’s consider personalization — the latest must-have for many brands. It’s a much more valuable tool when used to deliver things that are useful to customers, rather than churning out personalized marketing messages using the data they provided.

Keep It Easy, Attractive, Social, Timely

The event confirmed that customer experience is at a pivotal point; making it a core business discipline will directly lead to business success when considered holistically.

Brands who listen to their customers, forge new internal alliances cross functionally, and communicate effectively with their teams, are much more capable of driving irresistible customer experiences.