Authors: Olga Potaptseva - European Customer Consultancy, Founding Director
The article was written for CMSWire.com
A CX program isn't a one-time deal; a solid foundational strategy can lead to long-term success.
Don’t underestimate the power of a CX program. A strong CX strategy attracts new customers and maintains the loyalty of existing ones.
CX is not a one-and-done project. Investing in your customers is a business discipline that leads to long-term success.
Work holistically to cover every base. No CX program can tackle every aspect of CX simultaneously, so a holistic approach often works best.
What do Amazon, Starbucks, Tesla, Airbnb and Zappos have in common? They’re big companies, yes, but they’re also guided by a customer-centric approach to business, which is built on a foundation of customer service excellence.
For example, Amazon's customer experience (CX) program includes personalized recommendations, fast shipping, easy returns and responsive customer service. Airbnb's CX program creates personalized and memorable experiences for guests through detailed property information, local recommendations and 24/7 customer support.
However, this type of superior customer experience doesn't happen by accident. It requires a deliberate, focused effort to continually assess, prepare, plan, deliver and reevaluate what you’re providing to your customers. Continual improvement in the CX space relies on customer feedback.
Creating an Effective Strategy
An effective CX program can enable organizations to reduce churn, increase customer loyalty, reduce the cost to acquire and serve and generate revenue. According to Gartner, CX drives over two-thirds of customer loyalty, representing more than brand and price combined. Additionally, Forbes notes that a whopping 83% of executives feel that unimproved CX presents them with considerable revenue and market share risks.
Many companies cannot truly grasp the concept of CX being more than a one-time project or fleeting strategy. In actuality, it is a comprehensive business discipline that needs to be integrated into the operating mode of an organization.
At a high level, many executives lack an end-to-end vision of the tangible and intangible results, operational structure and processes to enable a CX strategy and a roadmap of benefits that will be achieved from the experience changes. A CX program is an instrument CX professionals need to master in order to secure budgets and support for CX projects and strategies.
A CX program helps define how the organization will understand, generate and prioritize its actions against customer-centric opportunities, aligning with innovative approaches to improve experiences. At its essence, it is the system to create, prioritize, design, execute, manage and track CX initiatives and projects that provide the most impact and results.
6 Ways CX Drives Business Growth
There are several ways an effective CX program can facilitate business growth:
By establishing clear standards and processes, organizations can ensure every customer touchpoint is designed to deliver the same high level of quality that meets or exceeds customer expectations.
2. Customer insights
A CX program includes ongoing customer research and feedback gathering to provide valuable insights into customer needs, preferences, expectations and pain points. This informs product development, marketing messaging, service improvements and other organizational activities.
3. Continual improvement
A CX program is an iterative process that involves ongoing monitoring and measurement of the customer experience. This allows organizations to identify areas for improvement and make adjustments over time, leading to a constantly improving customer experience.
4. Increased profitability
Consistently acting on customer experience data and implementing customer-facing or internal changes will improve customer satisfaction, retention and loyalty. These improvements ultimately increase business profitability.
5. Employee engagement
A CX program that empowers employees to deliver excellent customer experiences can improve employee engagement and satisfaction. Engaged employees are more likely to be motivated and productive, providing excellent customer service.
6. Identifying ideas for new products and services
Collecting and analyzing customer insights as part of the CX program results in ideas that can be developed into new products or offerings, potentially generating new business lines.
While a good CX program includes a holistic CX approach, no CX program can tackle all CX interventions simultaneously. You’ll need to break it down into bite-sized pieces and action-oriented tasks. These types of smaller projects encourage continual improvement and are easier to implement.
The Building Blocks For Customer Experience Success
To ensure that a CX program is operational, effective and doesn't remain on paper or in meeting rooms, companies can follow these steps:
Define a clear CX strategy that aligns with the organization's overall goals and objectives. This strategy should outline the desired customer experience, the target customer segments and the value proposition that sets the organization apart from competitors.
Secure executive buy-in and support from top-level executives within the organization. CX initiatives require leadership support and commitment to drive change and allocate necessary resources. Engage executives by demonstrating the potential ROI and long-term benefits of a strong CX program.
Establish cross-functional collaboration across different departments and teams. Break down silos and foster a culture of collaboration where stakeholders from various areas such as marketing, sales, customer service and operations can work together toward a common goal of delivering exceptional customer experiences.
Identify key customer touchpoints throughout the customer journey where interactions with the organization have the most significant impact on customer experience. This includes pre-purchase, purchase and post-purchase touchpoints. Prioritize these touchpoints to ensure resources and efforts are focused on areas that matter most to customers.
Implement mechanisms to gather customer feedback and insights systematically. This can include surveys, feedback forms, social listening, customer interviews and data analytics. Collecting both quantitative and qualitative data helps identify pain points, areas of improvement and customer preferences to inform CX initiatives.
Provide training and resources to ensure employees understand the importance of delivering exceptional customer experiences. Encourage a customer-centric mindset and empower employees to take ownership of the customer experience in their respective roles.
Implement continual monitoring and measurement by establishing metrics and KPIs that measure the effectiveness of CX initiatives. Continually monitor and track customer satisfaction, loyalty, retention rates and other relevant data. Regularly review this information to identify trends, patterns and areas for improvement — then use these insights to drive ongoing enhancements to the CX program.
Make sure your CX programs are iterative and adaptable. Regularly assess your program’s effectiveness and make necessary adjustments based on customer feedback, market trends and business goals. Continually innovate and evolve the CX strategy to stay ahead in a rapidly changing business landscape.
Regularly communicate the progress and successes of the CX program across the organization. Celebrate achievements and recognize employees who contribute to delivering outstanding customer experiences. This creates a culture of continual improvement and reinforces the importance of CX throughout the organization.
By following these steps, organizations can ensure that their CX program becomes operational, effective and results-oriented. That way, both your organization and your customers will have a better experience.