Customer Experience (CX) has become a global buzzword, since it was identified as a key opportunity for growth in any business.
Research proves that customers no longer base loyalty primarily on price or product, instead they stay loyal to companies because of the experience they have with them. In line with this trend, Gartner predicts that this year, more than 50% of businesses will redirect their investments to customer experience innovations.
However, the question for many business leaders remains – where do we start with an effective customer experience implementation process?
The challenge with Customer Experience today lies in its complexity; as well as the jargon that often accompanies it. Many people are often confused and overwhelmed by the terminology used to describe elements of the concept, such as data analytics, metrics, unified communications, algorithms and artificial intelligence. It wasn’t until I was asked by a client to ‘please explain, in simple terms, how I roll-out a CX Strategy in my business’ that it finally became clear.
I remember thinking at the time, that he didn’t want to be bombarded with the confusing jargon that typically surrounds a customer experience conversation. All he wanted was a simple explanation of where to start with the process and how to effectively implement it throughout his organisation.
This epiphany has been one of my greatest learnings I have taken from my travels around the world. Every leader knows that they must change their business to being customer focused, they are just not sure of the ‘how to’. I have therefore spent time consolidating what I have learned about CX into a simple customer experience process that any business can follow.
My initial advice to leaders is twofold; start by identifying what your ‘current customer journey’ looks like, what are the key touch points that influence a customer’s decision and what are the pain points that are creating obstacles to a smooth and seamless experience. Secondly, ideate around what constitutes your ‘ideal customer experience’ and do a gap analysis between the current and ideal experience. Once you understand where the gaps are, you can take steps to implement improvements.
“ideate around what constitutes your ‘ideal customer experience'”
Bear in mind that there is not a ‘one size fits all’ framework for implementing a customer experience strategy; just as every business isunique, so is every strategy. However, there are process guidelines one can follow that provide a systematic approach to rolling out a customer focused process in any organisation.
Firstly, the most critical component of designing a customer experience strategy is that it must be aligned with the brand promise and values of the business. Secondly, an exceptional customer experience cannot be delivered without equally as much focus on improving the employee experience.
The two are integral to the success of a customer focused change process. Therefore, at each stage of a CX strategy roll-out, there are two key focus areas to bear in mind; the employee experience and how that supports the customer experience.
STEP 1 – DECIDE
Executive & employee buy-in & commitment
Introducing a customer focused strategy requires an overhaul of all policies, processes and technology throughout the organisation, it is therefore imperative that every person in the company is onboard with the changes that will need to be made, from the Chairman to the tea server. Start the customer experience conversation in the boardroom and exco meetings and filter it down to every person in the organisation.
Once you have agreement from executives and employees alike, that refocusing the strategy to put the customer at the centre of the business is critical to the future success of the business, then allocate resources to support it and appointa team to head the customer experience process.
STEP 2 – DISCOVER
Situational analysis – where are we now?
If we don’t know where we are now, we won’t get to where we need to be in the future!
Do an in-depth analysis of the current customer journey, gather current customer feedback data, run customer surveys, focus groups and interviews.
The same is true for the employee experience, initiate employee surveys and feedback groups to ascertain the current employee climate. This process should include customer journey mapping workshops that involve employees from all divisions within the business. Bear in mind that employees are often your best source of customer feedback and can provide invaluable information on what’s working and what’s not working in the current customer journey.
STEP 3 – DEFINE
Gap analysis – where are the opportunities for…
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Read the full article by Lynn Baker, Owner, CX Connexion, as well as a host of other topical management articles written by professionals, consultants and academics in the June/July 2019 edition of BusinessBrief.
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