By Michael DeLange, Director of Sales, Customer Experience Strategist
Exceptional customer experiences don’t just happen. They don’t happen when someone finds their favorite movie on cable or gets a good deal on a blender. Those moments can get someone excited, sure, but they’re just touch-points in the relationship.
The real customer experience (CX) isn’t defined by a single moment. It’s made up of the customer’s perception of the total sum of interactions with a brand – the good, the bad and the utterly forgettable.
An exceptional CX can’t be created (or overhauled) with the flip of a switch. It must be earned.
Building CX from the inside
When brands successfully earn customers’ loyalty, it’s a sign of maturity in managing the relationship across the CX lifecycle. Creating remarkable customer experiences isn’t an easy process, but here are a few considerations to get started thinking from the outside-in, and transforming from the inside-out:
- Organizational Structure. Is your organization set up to deliver a great CX? Are your employees and processes working together to build trust and exceed customer expectations? Or do you have distinct processes for different groups focused on their own immediate challenges?
- Interaction Strategy. Are you proactively reaching out and viewing interactions through your customers’ eyes to create positive emotional experiences for them? Or are you just serving customers reactively?
- Technology. Is your technology easy to use and meeting your customers’ needs? Does it allow your employees to provide the human touch your customers crave?
- Data and Analytics. Are you bringing all of your data points together in one place, and making that data visible across the enterprise? Are you using it to predict what customers want from current and future interactions?
- Success Measures. Do you have a clear CX roadmap which emphasizes the value in every individual customer? Or do you focus inwardly on business metrics without considering the customer journey?
View CX through your customers’ eyes
According to recent studies, customer experience will overtake both price and product as the key brand differentiator by 2020, and consumers with great experiences pay 140 percent more on average.
Strategically differentiating your customer experiences can’t be done overnight with a whiz-bam-boom implementation of the latest technology or even by visualizing the customers’ journey.
Exceptional customer experiences are built from the inside-out by aligning people, processes, technology and data to make your CX vision a reality.
There may not be a single “yes” or “no” answer to any of the above questions. All businesses have different levels of CX maturity, from disconnected – when a business is merely reactionary – to prescriptive – solving challenges your customers didn’t know they had. Check out where your company fits on the customer experience lifecycle management maturity model.
View your current interactions through the lens of your customers. Be 100 percent honest in your capabilities and shortcomings, and you’ll be well on your way to building a differentiated customer experience that will set you apart from the rest in an increasingly crowded market and convince your customers to stay with you for life.
While human and technology interactions with your customer base is a critical component to CX success, fostering a customer-obsessed culture requires enterprise-wide buy-in and, most likely, a hard look at organizational structure and alignment.
Exceptional experiences are already in your organization, waiting to be awakened. By understanding your customers’ views, implementing proper CX design and developing an inspiring culture, customers will rave about your customer experience, creating long-term, loyal advocates for your brand.