Planning season is upon us, when businesses start outlining the projects, staffing and budgets for the next fiscal year's projects.
While every company's goals are unique, the one goal they have in common is the desire to improve on the prior year's performance. The challenge lies in identifying and prioritizing the changes needed to deliver improved results.
Future business goals act as the foundation of the rubric used to select and prioritize project investments. The greatest improvement in business capabilities come when executive management not only support the initiative, but also provide necessary staffing and funding.
Align Customer Experience with Business Strategy
Identifying improved customer outcomes as a key goal for an organization establishes a clear link between business strategy and customer experience (CX). So how can CX impact business strategy?
Differentiation, focus and cost leadership are the three core business strategies. Every organization develops their own unique blend to appeal to selected segments of the overall market. For example, Walmart and Nordstrom are both in the retail industry yet have very different business strategies: Walmart is of course known for low-cost while Nordstrom focuses on differentiation.
Prioritizing and ensuring CX projects are included in future business plans requires alignment.
Regardless of your company’s strategy, CX projects will be part of your organization's future, provided the projects align with stated business goals. Projects that align with business goals will always be prioritized over initiatives that don’t align with executive management’s future vision.
With each industry and company being unique, there are no magic answers, silver bullets or cookbook recommendations to produce results. You'll need brainstorming, creativity and design-thinking to architect a well-aligned solution.
Business Strategy, Through a CX Lens
The most effective CX solutions align with the desired image of the company, are consistently delivered, and frictionless for the customer. Depending on what business strategy your organization competes on, looking at that strategy through a CX lens can help shape your future plans. Here are a few ideas to get you in the CX mindset:
- Conduct a Competitor Analysis (a la Porter's 5 Forces) to understand the buying journey customers face with competitors and define opportunities to deliver a better experience
- Evaluate the post-sale customer experience — the customer experience does not end with the sale and may be an area unaddressed by others
- Develop a costed journey-map for the entire customer lifecycle. Rank the activity costs for customer acquisition and customer retention, and identify cost reduction opportunities
- Adopt a Lean CX approach to improve customer experience by utilizing tools like business model canvas and lean canvas to improve customer experience. Develop experiments and conduct A/B testing to understand customer behaviors and optimize outputs (tools like Inspectlet can help visualize interactions)
- Optimize Personas: Know your most profitable customers and those that drive the most revenue, identify and develop experiences that align to unique elements of these personas
Because every business has a customer to serve, no strategy can exist without considering the impact to the customer. The challenge lies in creating a positive customer impact that your company can consistently deliver and that your customers perceive as valuable.
The time is now. Are you up to the challenge of defining a CX initiative that will both improve your customer’s experience and set you apart from your competitors? If you succeed, you'll have a winning strategy for years in the future.