Businesses that are successful at CX, have undertaken a thorough study of not only what their customers want and need but also of how the business is currently meeting those expectations. This should take into account executive perception, employee perception and customer perception as this is commonly where gaps are identified and need to be addressed. If business goals are not aligned with customer wants and needs, a business cannot excel in CX. A business that understands customer pain points can develop strategies to address them, thereby eliminating some customer frustrations and providing an improved customer desired experience.
In understanding the customers wants and needs, it will become apparent that customers do not want to be engaged at every touchpoint; they do however want value. In identifying what value can be provided at each touchpoint, a business can then determine when and how to engage the customer. Unlike user experience, which is single channel or touch point focused, customer experience is formed through the culmination of experiences and perceptions of many touchpoints throughout their life-cycle. A successful CX strategy must therefore be omnichannel.
However, delighting your customer should not be the key driver behind a CX strategy. CX initiatives can and should be implemented to deliver tangible business growth and the business case should demonstrate the likely return on investment. In some instances, that benefit will not be realised until the mid or even long term. Instead of scaling back the CX initiatives, the CX strategy should be used to influence the business strategy to help deliver a customer experience that is profitable to the business and more cost effective than the competitors.
And it’s not just the CX and business strategy that need to work together. Customers touch too many parts of the business for any one department to be soley responsible for problem solving or indeed providing a great experience. Customers don’t care which department is responsible for each aspect of their product or service – and nor should they have to. Customers want an experience that is unique to them and their journey, not to be hamstrung by a siloed organisational structure.
For business, this can result in uncertainty where a cookie cutter approach is simple not going to satisfy. To succeed this uncertainty must be embraced – after all it is here to stay – and systems developed that are agile enough to quickly respond to the ever changing environment. Indeed, developing an agile CX strategy, can benefit from many of the methodologies that the IT sector have been using for years – multi-disciplinary teams, breaking projects down into targeted sprints, cross-functional workshops, and working with prototypes and iterative testing. In this way, CX initiatives can be implemented in shorter time frames, refined to reflect customer behaviour and evolved as customer demands change. The results will not only benefit your customers and garner you that competitive edge but result in more engaged employees and faster decision making.
With the demand for great CX so high and the rapidly changing nature of drivers behind that demand, CX can no longer be a considered a ‘set and forget’ strategy.
- Businesses must develop a deep understanding of their customers to stand any chance of being able to meet their expectations.
- A successful CX strategy needs to be holistic, understand all the customer touchpoints and what is desired from each point.
- CX strategy and business strategy must influence each other to develop a cost effective way of delivering great customer experience.
- Agility is the key to the future – rapid response to market changes, refining and evolving along the way.
Orla Tynan Babb
Co-Founder and Director
The Customer Edge