What is your customer experience strategy?
What is CX?
Arguably, customer experience – or CX – is about taking the widest possible view of customer service. It refers to long-term customer relationship (or lack of!), taking in all transactions and potential touchpoints. In fact, CX includes every way in which a customer might interact with you and your brand – advertising for a product or service, purchasing it, using it, everything.
If you want to build a better customer experience for a sustained competitive edge, your CX strategy must focus on creating an optimal experience for customers at all stages of their relationship, or journey, with you.
The ingredients of great CX
The experience of your customers rests on three pillars:
- The customer journey (more on that in a moment)
- The touchpoints (any way in which the customer interacts with your brand)
- The environments (in which the interactions take place)
Under those broad headings, you can include advertising, website, product/service features, ease of use, the information provided, packaging, delivery, product longevity, and aftercare.
Bear in mind though that the customer experience is different for each customer, depending on their own values and expectations of your business. Therefore your customer-facing people need to pay attention during transactions, seek to understand what makes this customer unique so they can put a layer of personalised service on top of the basic model that you’ve worked out for your customers as a whole.
CX tips & tactics
Starting with the context of your business’s mission or vision, plus your marketplace data and research, and your customer information, consider the following:
- Through which channels can customers access your business? How are those channels used?
- How convenient is it to access your products or services? Is self-service an option? How about mobile access? What is required from the customer in order for them to feel satisfied?
- How easy and straightforward is to make a purchase?
- How customisable are your products, services and access channels? Can the customer enjoy what you offer in ‘their way’?
- In what ways are you not living up to customer expectations?
The customer journey
“You can’t transform something you don’t understand. If you don’t know and understand what the current state of the customer experience is, how can you possibly design the desired future state?”
– Annette Franz, CEO, CX Journey Inc.
One way to start answering the above questions is to use a customer journey map. From a specific customer’s point of view, a journey map is a timeline of interactions and contacts between you and that customer, including not only the facts of each interaction but also the feelings and motivations of the customer, both before and after. By working through real and detailed examples, the gaps in your CX become clearer.
“CXM (customer experience management) = The art and science of coaxing lifetime loyalty from daily transactions.”
– Steve Curtin, author