Creating a Customer Experience Strategy
As part of our Operation Resilience series, in this edition, we delve into customer experience strategy. So, what is a Customer Experience Strategy? We see it as the sum of every interaction a customer has, from prospect to the buying process, onboarding to ongoing support, and exit. Creating and managing the customer experience must be by design, not by accident.
Underlying great customer experience is the process that we manage and measure to assure we are achieving our goals. The customer experience strategy should, therefore, define an actionable plan to deliver a positive and meaningful experience across those interactions with your business.
A good place to start is asking key questions of your business:
- Is the goal to change the customer experience fundamentally or to simply improve your existing strategy?
- Is there a gap between the needs and wants of customers and what they actually experience?
- Can you gain a customer-experience advantage against your competitors?
- Is there a point in the customer experience journey where the company should focus to have a real impact?
- Is there alignment between staff capability to support customer experience and the company’s strategy?
When forming a long-term strategy, keep in mind your business goals. Although it’s important to keep the customer’s needs front-of-mind, there’s no point in doing this if it jeopardises profitability. Remember – the perfect CX doesn’t exist! It’s a process of continual improvement and keeping in touch with evolving consumer/business demands.
Customer experience & the sales process
The sales process is the cornerstone of sales effectiveness and productivity. The sales process is also the cornerstone of consistently creating and managing great customer experiences.
The best way to ensure that you are focused on your customer in the sales process is to actively listen to what they tell you. Really understanding their needs is critical to you providing an offering that really satisfies them for the long-term.
Salespeople are crucially important players in understanding your customer’s requirements. Great customer experience begins here. It’s important that salespeople are trained by Operations on exactly what service the organisation is capable of delivering vs. what they aspire to deliver which can often vary. They also set the expectation which then needs to be delivered against in the ongoing relationship with your customer.
The handover from sales is essential to get the ongoing customer experience off to a good start. We look in detail at Sales Handover best practice in our Operation Resilience, Sales Handover article. Click the link below to read more.
Know your value
Customer Personas assume there are a finite number of paths by which people arrive at the realisation that they have a need and that your service is an effective solution to satisfy that need. The premise assumes that among customers who fit a given persona, people are reasonably consistent in how they approach a problem and solve it. By understanding your customer personas across your organisation, you can provide a better customer experience to them throughout their journey with you.
Customer Journey Mapping
Think of the customer journey as a roadmap detailing how a customer becomes aware of your brand, their interactions with your brand–and beyond. In our article, CRM Best Practice we share with you an example of a customer journey map. To read the article click here.
Net Promoter Score
Always knowing where your customers stand is a competitive advantage. A relatively straight forward way to measure this is by Net Promoter Score (NPS). NPS is based on the premise that every company’s customers can be placed within three types.
- “Promoter”: customers are enthusiastic and loyal, who continually buy from the company and ‘promote’ the company to their friends and family.
- “Passive” customers are happy but can easily be tempted to leave by an attractive competitor deal. Passive customers may become promoters if you improve your product, service or customer experience.
- “Detractor”: customers are unhappy, feel mistreated and their experience is going to reduce the amount they purchase from you. Detractor customers also have an increased likelihood of switching to a competitor as well as warning potential customers to stay away from your company.
The score comes from the NPS Question, that is: “On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely is it that you would recommend our organisation to a friend or colleague?”
Based on the number a customer chooses, they are classified into one of the above three categories. The scores are broken down as follows:
- 0 – 6: Detractors
- 7 – 8: Passives
- 9 – 10 Promoters
One of the key benefits of the NPS is that it measures customer loyalty and therefore the likelihood of gaining new and repeat business. If the client gives high satisfaction and high-value scores, rest assured the customer experience is great.
In today’s market, with social media amplifying the power of recommendations and subscription business models gaining prevalence, innovation, and differentiation in customer experience has become increasingly important. Simply getting the basics right is no longer enough. It has also become increasingly clear that organisations benefit most from NPS when they embed customer satisfaction and loyalty data into the day-to-day operations of the business.
Brands like Amazon, Apple, and even Uber Eats have provided customers with the ability to engage in experiences that are designed around their specific needs and wants – and customers like it. As expectations around experiences evolve those brands that are unable to deliver will undoubtedly lose the affection of their customers. This reality creates the need for organisations in all sectors and industries and of all sizes to ask themselves what they are doing to both understand what their customers want and need and what steps are they taking to be able to evolve their experiences to deliver on those expectations.
Key to Customer Experience
As mentioned earlier in the article, customer experience is a customer’s overall perception of your company, based on their interactions with it. It includes every touchpoint a customer has with your business, whether it’s the moment they first hear about you, through to the time they call with a complaint.
In short, good customer experience can be achieved if you:
- Make listening to customers a top priority across the business
- Use customer feedback to develop an in-depth understanding of your customers
- Implement a process to help you gather feedback, analyse it, and act on it regularly
- Reduce friction and solve your customers’ specific problems and unique challenges
It’s not rocket science: a good customer experience comes from asking your customers’ questions, listening to their responses, and actioning their feedback.