“Customers will not tolerate companies that have amnesia when it comes to remembering them and their preferences for recognition,” Gene Alvarez, Gartner.
It is this very sentiment that is driving the increased focus by companies to develop their customer experience (CX). From renewed marketing team alignment, to collaboration between data analysts and IT, to the inclusion of employee engagement, businesses are busy responding to and building strategies that reflect a significant shift in consumer mindset and expectations.
A new lens
Ironically, the factors motivating businesses to catch up and adopt an informed, effective CX approach have not evolved from internal, traditional customer service teams of old. Rather, it is the customers themselves, who are necessitating the change. Technology has enabled consumers to have instant access through social media, to communication tools and platforms that provide real-time feedback on their experiences with brands. From sharing of ideas and experiences, to online reviews of products and the recommendation of services, customers can spread their love or dislike of a business to their peers with a single click of their smartphone devices.
So how are businesses responding? In a variety of ways. CX methods businesses should be considering now, that can create relevant impact include:
1. A shared sense of purpose
Instead of CX being the sole problem or focus of a single team of the business, leaders should be sharing the complete customer experience across the whole company to gain common understanding and support for the organisation’s purpose.
2. Getting emotional
Beyond ‘wants’ and ‘needs” a company’s CX approach can become more effective once a customers’ emotions, such as frustration, confusion and loyalty, across various touch-points inside the business are identified, considered and made a priority for ongoing operations.
3. Mapping the customer journey
Thinking about customer touch-points, this is the “journey” a customer makes during their interaction with a business. Mapping these and being clear of the start-to-finish journey a customer can take, will positively impact day-to-day decisions throughout a company.
4. Getting mobile
If you’re not thinking mobile first across your business, you are simply not being realistic about the level of interaction customers do and will have with smartphone technology. At home, at work, on-the-go. 24/7, customers have the capacity to experience your brand. And they expect you’ll be there.
5. Genuine employee engagement
An engaging and authentic customer experience can only be achieved if the “people & culture” and “HR” resources within a business work together engaging employees. CX shouldn’t be a policy that employees just read. They should carry it in their DNA, as it's an integral value of their company.
6. Customer Experience Hubs (CEHs)
Once the responsibility of the marketing team, or the insights team, or maybe the IT guy, the data and customer intelligence that can help businesses understand their customers needs to be shared and distributed across all the teams within a business that have CX capability.
7. Predicative behavior
Sure, it’s may feel a little bit creepy. That’s because it is if businesses don’t respectfully collect behavioral data for the purpose of enhancing customer attitudes and future interactions with a brand, not just pestering them. Best to keep point #2 front and centre when building a strategy around predictive behavior.
8. Help me, help you
Offering self or assisted-services are way a business can look to improve customer experience. Particularly across the digital interaction touch-points of a business such as checkout, click & collect, online chat, self assist solutions make it easier and save time for the customer, with the added benefit of potentially reducing internal costs and overheads.
The feedback loop
A final thought for those of you in CX roles within companies, tasked with the job of “seamlessly” integrating CX strategies and data insights from the top down.
For the moment, as companies define their CX footprint, delivering a better experience across your business requires you to find the proof points and identify the gaps that are detracting from customers wanting to do business with you.
Help the rest of your team understand that to improve brand CX you must imagine outcomes from the point of view of the customers first and then build a solution. Not the reverse.