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 excite us, sure. But they’re just touch points in the relationship.
Real customer experience is not defined by a single moment. It’s made up of the person’s view of the total sum of interactions with a brand. The good, the bad and the utterly forgettable.
A top customer experience can’t be found with the flip of a switch. It must be earned. And there are five key customer experience factors to fix to make that happen. These factors already exist in your organization. But with a few tweaks, these customer experience factors will become a source of loyalty and ROI for years to come.
Building Customer Experience from the Inside
So where do great experiences come from? They’re not defined by one moment, purchase or conversation. Although if you’re not careful and your first interaction is poor, that may be the only chance that customer gives you. Instead, customer experience is made up of all interactions someone has with your brand.
Across all channels, people refine their impression of you. On billboards, TV ads, in-store chats, service calls – all of these represent a chance to connect and build on that specific person’s customer experience life cycle.
With so many touch points to consider, customer experience must be built from the inside with all aspects of your business pointed toward the same goal: earning their loyalty. When brands successfully earn loyalty, it’s a sign of maturity in managing the relationship across the life cycle.
Slowly, your business moves from disconnected pieces to a connected unit, focused in the end on prescribing the best options for your customers. That’s no easy task, but here are the five customer experience factors to fix to start transforming from the inside out:
- Organizational Structure
- Interaction Strategy
- Data and Analytics
- Success Measures
1. Organizational Structure
The first of the customer experience factors, your organizational structure includes staff, stakeholders, processes and key functions within your company. Align your organization to your experience goals at every opportunity. Do your staff and functions work in tandem to build trust and exceed expectations? Or do you have distinct methods for different groups focused on their own immediate problems?
To reach the connected level, emphasize customer-centric operations. Focus on raising efficiency and decreasing effort for customers and employees. And assign customer experience roles to people throughout your business, too, to deeply embed your new goals.
2. Interaction Strategy
Because every interaction affects the total experience, create a plan to make every interaction the best it can be. Know what channels you use and what you want to say in each one. Are you being proactive and viewing the process through your customers’ eyes? Or are you just serving them by reacting to their calls?
To reach the connected level, focus on new ways you can use technology. Maintain a customer-first mission with cross-channel engagement strategies, self-service and proactive support. Then make it easy to hand off customer service from one channel to another.
Hardware and software is more important in customer service today than ever before. Boosting your service with an IVR or contact center software makes it simple to provide personal customer service using individual data and preferences. Is your technology easy to use and meeting your customers’ needs? Does it allow your staff to provide the human touch your customers crave?
To reach the connected level, maintain a scalable ecosystem of platforms and tools that is easy to access across the enterprise. Keep data and solutions out of silos. And always consider new options that can make people even more satisfied.
4. Data and Analytics
Technology feeds off the data you put into it. Customers want to feel like you know them, so keep track of your interactions with each customer and their personal preferences. Are you bringing all of your data points into one place and making that data visible across the enterprise? Are you using it to predict what customers want from current and future interactions?
To reach the connected level, have processes in place to continually collect, maintain and update customer data. Then house this data in one place, accessible across the enterprise. And use business intelligence to learn how to make the most of this data when making decisions.
5. Success Measures
The last of the customer experience factors, success measures help you see your success in making changes to the other four factors. These key performance indicators define detailed metrics that show how much your business has grown and how far you still have to go to meet your goals. Do you have a clear road map to emphasize the value in every person? Or do you focus inwardly on business metrics without considering the customer journey?
To reach the connected level, set metrics for financial, operational and experiential goals. Focus on problem resolution and sanctification, especially in customer-initiated exchanges. Lastly, set metrics that lead to enterprise-wide efficiency. Read more about these five customer experience factors and see where your company fits in our Customer Experience Lifecycle Management Maturity Model.
Customer Experience Factors in Your Business
Strategically differentiating your customer experiences can’t be done by buying the latest technology or even by just visualizing the customers’ journey. Exceptional customer experiences are built by aligning all the customer experience factors – including people, processes, technology and data – to make your vision a reality.
All businesses have different levels of maturity, from disconnected to prescriptive. So 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 and convince your customers to stay for life.
For guidance on how to start changing these five customer experience factors in your business, check out this next blog post, 30 Customer Experience Questions to Guide You Through the Jungle.
Exceptional experiences rest within your organization, ready to wake. By understanding your customers’ views and looking beyond one-off interactions, customers will rave about your customer experience and become long-term, loyal advocates for your brand.