Businesses in the digital age are investing heavily in customer experience (CX). This is no accident. Delivering an excellent customer experience has enormous benefits for those businesses that get it right. Delivering a strong CX has the potential to improve your reputation, improve the quality of your operation, help you gain new customers and keep existing customers, and help your business secure a greater market share.
This all sounds great, right? But how do you get there? What’s the best customer experience strategy for ensuring success for your business? The exact strategy will differ depending on your business and which industry you operate in, but here we aim to provide some useful tips for creating a winning CX strategy. Let’s take a look.
From ROI to ROX
Return on Investment (ROI) is a common business metric that most people are familiar with. It’s been a part of business discussions and metrics for decades at this point. ROI s a performance measure used by businesses to evaluate how efficient an investment is. You calculate the ROI by taking the return of an investment and dividing it by the investment cost. This will then give you a percentage or ratio of how efficient that move was. Businesses have been using ROI for countless years to determine which investments are worthwhile, and which aren’t.
However, ROI can only take us so far. In the digital age, many companies have found that it can be incredibly difficult to calculate the ROI of the digital aspects of business like social media and other digital marketing. Additionally, in 2020, businesses are more focused on selling experiences than they are on selling a stand-alone product. Customers care about experiences. They care about what their products and the companies who make them represent in the grander scheme of things.
Patagonia doesn’t just sell outdoor wear; they sell sustainability and environmentalism. Rolex sells opulence, luxury, and prestige. Apple sells style. Volvo sells safety. Whole Foods sells health and eco-friendliness. Other companies may offer similar products, but customers don’t get the same experience from those other companies.
This is why ROX was born. In their 2019 Global Customer Insights Survey, multinational professional services company PwC recommended that companies should start tracking ROX. They determined that ROI doesn’t successfully capture the value of customer experiences and the impact these experiences have no shaping the success of a company.
PwC recommended six ways to improve your customer experience and focus your attention on ROX. Let’s take a look.
1. Focus on Employee Experience
Put simply, engaged and happy employees become your best brand ambassadors. Above all else, happy employees perform better at their jobs. Several studies have found that happy sales agents sell more than unhappy sales agents. The same is also true in customer service roles where happy employees are more attentive and friendly towards customers than unhappy agents. Being happier also has a positive effect on your decision-making abilities, focus, and ability to innovate. Here are a few ways you can improve the employee experience:
- Invest in the wellness of your employees. Wellness can mean the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health of your employees. You can offer competitive sick pay, paid vacation days, have generous parental leave policies, have an on-site gym, run health programs, have a mediation room, and provide healthy snacks.
- Have a solid onboarding experience. Make sure your employees feel equipped to start their role from the moment their training ends. Don’t rush through training by only providing the bare minimum just so you can get them in their seats sooner. If you do this, it will be reflected in their performance.
- Create a cohesive and strong company culture. Your company should have a strong internal identity that your employees can feel a part of. Internal communication is a key part of building your employee culture. Employees should always be kept up to date on what’s going on in the company and praised for their role in it. Fun is also an important part of building employee culture. Don’t make everything about data and metrics, but also inject some fun into the workplace with games, team bonding exercises, and work socials.
- Give them the right tools for success. You can implement workplace tools that make their job easier. For example, chatbots can take the bulk of simple customer service queries. Similarly, an omnichannel platform allows for a more streamlined and efficient working environment.
- Reward and praise. Reward excellent performance with praise and prizes like money, tickets to events, a pay rise, and so on.
2. Create Purposeful Communities
This is where social media and influencers come in. You want your company to be known for more than your product. Is it the role you play in the community? Your focus on sustainability issues? Your humor? Your style? Whatever it is, you need to sell more than your product and ensure that your customers know this. You can build your tribe by following these tips:
Build Respect and Authority
If you pledge your support to something, do it with your actions. If you care about sustainability, then conduct research and reports to this effect. Alternatively, you can share news and posts about the projects you support. You should set clear goals about your passions or your convictions and make these known to your customers. Teach them to respect your position and see you as an authority on this issue.
Rituals and Rhythm
A ritual can be as simple as how often you post or hold a particular event. For example, every week you deliver a newsletter, or every year your CEO does a Q&A on social media. Set expectations and deliver on them. Let your customers know they can count on you to deliver quality content regularly.
3. Build on Moments
Every point in the customer journey is an opportunity for you to connect with the customer and improve their experience. Does your data suggest that they would benefit from a complementary product? Tell them. Is there a more convenient option for your customers than the one they are trying to use? Tell them. Try to solve customer problems before they arise or solve problems they didn’t even know they had. This is how you leave them with a positive emotion.
4. Understand Customer Behavior
It’s 2020 and we now have a wealth of customer data available at our fingertips. You should be using this data to understand your customers on a deeper level. Build customer personas, segment your customers, and create customer journey maps. The key is to understand who buys from you and what those buyers want. If you understand this, you’ll know how to market to each type of customer and how to deliver exactly what they want.
5. Respect Customer Data
In today’s world, data is the new oil! Data is extremely valuable, and customers know this now more than ever. This is why you must respect their data and give them something valuable in return for their data. When you get customer data, use it to create more personal and convenient experiences for them. There’s another element to this, and it’s showing your respect through how you handle their data. Ensure that you have robust cybersecurity measures in place to protect their data from being exposed in a data breach. Also, be very careful about how you share their data and who you share their data with. Customers are becoming increasingly concerned about privacy due to the alarming amount of data breaches happening every day and the almost creepy level of data companies hold on us. Customers are much more likely to refuse to share their data if you sell it on to third parties or have poor cybersecurity practices.
6. Consider the Entire Customer Journey
Your customers want the complete package, so this should be your focus. Your customers should have a consistent experience no matter how they interact with your company. There’s no use having an incredible website that exceeds customer expectations if your customer service operation is performing poorly. Assume that all customers will interact with every part of your business and consider how you want them to feel. From the moment they land on your website to the moment they receive your product to their front door; the experience must be excellent.
Tips For Designing the Best CX Strategy
Determine how you’re going to listen to your customers. You can’t just rely on your ideas, instead, you should ask customers what they want. You can do this through customer satisfaction surveys or longer, more detailed questionnaires. Decide how many of these you will create and how often you will ask customers to complete them.
Understand What Customers Don’t Want
Here is a quick list of things that result in bad customer experience. You should focus on reducing or eliminating these factors.
- Long wait for response times.
- Rude, angry, and unfriendly employees.
- Resolved customer service tickets.
- Not enough human contact or too much reliance on automation with no way to contact a person.
- Lack of personalization.
- Employees who don’t understand customer needs.
- Unresponsive or poorly designed websites.
- A lack of communication channels.
Before you create your strategy, prepare by conducting research and understanding the reality of your business and your customers. You can do this by creating customer personas, creating empathy maps, creating customer journey maps, and creating stakeholder maps.
Set Clear Goals
After you’ve done the preparation, it’s time to set clear and actionable goals. These goals should be both short term and long term and they should be measurable. Consider the reasoning behind each goal and clearly define it. Sometimes we forget to define our goals and their reasoning because they seem obvious. However, if you clearly define your goals you’ll be much more focused on delivering them.
For example, let’s have a look at a poor example of goal defining as well as a strong one.
Goal: Get more customers.
Goal: Increase customer acquisition.
Why: To increase profits.
How: demonstrate the value of our product through testimonials, social media marketing, and ad campaigns. We will also incentivize existing customers to bring new customers in by offering a discount on products for referring a friend.
The second example is much better because it gives you a way to track your success and hold yourself accountable for delivering the goal.
Brainstorm customer experience strategies with teams from all over the business. Everyone will have something valuable to offer, no matter their position. Sometimes we struggle to put ourselves in the mindset of our customers and the best way to do this is to talk to as many people as possible. Your customers come from a variety of backgrounds, so variety is key when planning your strategy.