“Customer Experience Is Today's Business Benchmark,” as per Forbes.
The art of crafting an awesome customer experience relies mainly on the three touchpoints of the customer journey: people, process and technology. In fact, it all simmers down to your customer's perception of your brand. CX is the sum total of every interaction your customer has with your business, pre/post sales. Materializing this in terms of hard business practices is more complex than it seems.
There are no sure-shot ways to win the lottery to your customers' hearts. Great CX requires customer-centricity in business processes and a lot of great data-driven execution. Identifying the weakness of your customer journey and improving on it will lead to higher customer satisfaction.
With the advent of social media, real-time interactive feedback allows your best customers to build a relationship with your brand and act as promoters of your business. But CX is not just about exchanging information. A customer's journey begins in the foothills of their psyche. Let’s chalk out some of the essential strategies for creating an awesome customer experience.
Related Article: The Most Important Components of the Customer Experience
Prioritize a People-First Culture
As the adage goes, “Think like your CEO.” When creating an atmosphere of customer-centricity, employees must share the vision of their leader. It's not enough that the top leadership talks about it — it must be enforced by C-Suite executives and orchestrated across different departments in tangible steps.
Most employees assume CX to be the work of the sales or marketing teams. A good starting point can be assembling a cross-functional CX team that works as a part of different departments, gathering input from stakeholders at a regular cadence. With a coordinated cross-functional team, you'll be able to break down silos, work through inefficiencies and create a cohesive experience for customers. Appointing a holistic CX leader as the end-to-end point person for all customer experience strategies can pump up your goal.
Let’s see how different departments in an organization can contribute to improving CX:
- Marketing: The main job is to conduct market research extensively across different segments to understand and analyze the sentiment of the customer. This is crucial to understand the pulse of the customer, and the data must be well-circulated within departments to create strategies.
- Product Management: Developers must tailor each product to suit the taste of the customer and design experiences after understanding the areas of customer dissatisfaction.
- Information Technology: Feeding on the transactional data (conversion, revenue and volume), the IT team has the most important job of analyzing the trends in customer behavior and integrating information to monitor progress.
- Human Resources: Influencing the mindset of your people requires a training and goal-setting strategy. The HR department should put together an educational and informative program wherein employee participation is not only monitored but also incentivized.
Building Strategies to Integrate Processes
The biggest challenge faced by organizations today is achieving operational excellence by integrating business processes. An effective CX strategy can be executed by following a robust operational model. The operational model flow can include but should not be limited to:
Once you are able to identify the touchpoints that need rectification depending on customer data, you can modify the CX metrics that will serve you in the process of collecting feedback. Automation is something that companies must strive for as it reduces friction and overlap in assessing data. The simplest way to analyze this data is by organizing it into one dashboard to draw out relevant customer insights that can then be shared with stakeholders.
Customer relationship management (CRM) tools can aid this process by connecting real-time customer feedback with individual profiles. This helps in tracking each customer's experience over time. However, the ultimate goal of the operational model is to break silos and enable agility within the organization.
Related Article: Are CRM Solutions Keeping Pace With Industry Needs?
Adapt Your Tech Stack
Agility is crucial in building business processes. Hence, the tech stack for your CX must be truly composable in nature to enable a unified digital experience with an omnichannel approach rather than fragmented technology. When introducing third-party brands to your tech stack, choose software that provides integrated, consistent solutions that are modular and tailored to micro-services.
- Customer Insights and Data Analytics: To understand where to start in your CX tech stack, companies need to track and analyze quantitative customer data points to understand intent. On the CX front, teams often clash due to differences of opinion. But the fact is, numbers don't! Hence relying on sentiments and seniority is a traditional style of conducting business for companies. Data-driven decisions optimize customer experience rather than building brand strategies on a hunch. CX teams can use software like Google Analytics, Abode Analytics, etc. to measure conversion, bounce rate and track page visits.
- Customer Data Platforms (CDPs): A CDP can map real-time feedback data to build a centralized 360° view of each customer experience that's accessible by other systems to analyze, track and manage customer interactions. It applies machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to prescribe the next best action within any existing business process. It leverages API (application programming interface) for the purpose of data integration to ingest data from first-, second- and third-party sources. While a CDP allows the centralization of data, it further enables personalized and segmentation-based data marketing. CX leaders can create control groups based on specific attributes that allow them to target customers more effectively.
- CRM: Building a robust CX and CRM system helps in placing the customer at the focal point of the decision-making process. It manages customer relationships which aids in improved customer satisfaction and loyalty while enhancing brand equity. Some of the software, like HubSpot, Dynamics, Salesforce, etc., provide a holistic view of CX by combining customer data with feedback data.
- CX Metrics: CX metrics are key performance indicators (KPIs) that help in characterizing customer data. Some of the metrics to map out CX data are:
- Net Promoter Score (NPS) evaluates your customer's loyalty to your brand and helps prioritize repeat customers.
- Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) evaluates your customer’s satisfaction after using your product or service.
- Customer Engagement Score shows your customer's interaction with your business processes.
- Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) evaluates the financial gain from a single customer pool throughout the period of interaction with your brand.
- Customer Churn Rate (CCR) helps to monitor the pace at which you lose customers in a changing digital ecosystem.
While data analytics, CRM, CDPs, etc. can guide you on customers’ buying habits, income and positive and negative experiences, it tells you little about the emotions and thoughts of your customer. Hence, optimizing CX can only take place hypothetically unless companies reflect on subjective experiences.
Personalizing digital experiences for customers at scale has the potential to transform your CX journey. The magic can only be created when you put all elements together and start experimenting to learn what works.