Think about your favorite product, store, or service. Now think about what caused your initial awareness and attraction to it. Did you discover it through a need or a want? Why did you ultimately make a purchase? Are you an advocate for it? What is customer service like when you have a problem? All of these interactions add up to an overall experience. The customer experience.
Those of us in marketing and advertising have used and thought about the customer experience (or CX) for years. But it has gained popularity because of the powerful results that a customer-centric approach can yield when applied to a company’s culture and marketing strategy.
“Customer experience leaders grow revenue faster than CX laggards, drive higher brand preference, and can charge more for their products,” says analyst Rick Parrish of Forrester in U.S. Customer Experience Index, 2016. Organizations that go through the exercise of mapping the customers’ journey and plotting their experience create a culture that is hard to build without it. The payoff is not only higher customer satisfaction, but higher employee satisfaction too.
If you’re new to customer experience or haven’t thought about it in a while, keep these five things in mind when getting acquainted with the process.
To define the experience, know the journey.
You can’t define your customers’ experience without first knowing what their journey is. Journey mapping can be a huge undertaking, and it can take years to perfect. But it allows organizations to determine the key touch points that shape their interactions with a client.
Customer service ≠ customer experience.
Becoming an expert in your customers’ experience is more than just being nice when the opportunity arises. Customer service is subjective and often reactionary, especially in response to a product or service problem. Putting a new customer service initiative in place can create a better customer experience, but it accounts for only a small piece of the puzzle.
Put up a united front.
Select a dedicated team for journey mapping and developing the experience. Not every department in your organization can own the customer experience because disjointed experiences are bound to surface. Your sales team will likely have a much different outlook on a client’s experience than your production team. Make it collaborative on the front end to maximize the efforts put into the process.
Match up your goals with the customer experience.
Your organization’s goals should align with your customers’ experience. When you acquire a new customer, is there an ongoing relationship, or does it end once someone makes a purchase? Your goal should be to attract customers and make them feel good about their interactions with your brand throughout the journey.
Open your ears to feedback.
Regularly listen to what your clients are saying about you through satisfaction surveys, social media, or word of mouth. Integrate those insights into your customer experience, and be open to changing direction based on what you learn, rather than relying on personal belief and bias.
Want to learn more about CX and how to apply it to your organization? We’d love to hear from you. Contact us to see how we can help you.