Customer experience (CX) is the new marketing battlefront.” These are not the words of me, Stephen Pappas. That’s Gartner talking.
That’s right—the research and advisory leader is advising you to raise your CX game. They lay out the trend in their key findings article: “More than two-thirds of marketers responsible for CX say their companies compete mostly on the basis of CX, according to the 2017 Gartner Customer Experience in Marketing Survey. And in two years’ time, 81% say they expect to be competing mostly or completely on the basis of CX.”
I’ve helped scores of companies improve their customer experience, and I can tell you the handful of mistakes that were tripping them up. They had failed to follow these seven rules:
1. Know your customer.
Develop multiple personas to better anticipate your customers’ needs and wants. Part of knowing your customers is to map their journeys and map the channels customers are using to find you.
List and rank your organization’s departments based on how they interact with customers, and how often. Then analyze performance gaps and examine the top 10, 15 or 20 calls you take and how important each is to the overall customer experience.
2. Be where your customers are.
Allow customers the choice as to which channels they prefer to interact with your brand. An omnichannel approach allows customers to interact and transact as they wish, even if it’s to chat with a bot at 2 a.m.
3. Develop a single source of truth.
Develop a central knowledge and guidance system so you can bulldoze all your multiple silos of information. A single source of truth is a repository of all the policies, procedures and instructional guidance employees need to know exactly what they need to do, say or navigate (in apps) for the benefit of the customer. Exceptional CX is based on making sure the information needed for the transaction is accessible, in the proper format.
4. Empower your employees.
Train and manage employees to be part of the CX solution, because they are closest to the customer and know best how to improve the customer experience. Customer experience has to be something that can be not only given into the hands of every employee but given in such a way as to make that employee part of the overall CX solution.
5. Guide employees in the delivery of superior CX.
Use guidance technology to have all employees continuously improving the overall experience. Just as technology exists to organize knowledge, technology exists to feed the right knowledge at the right time.
6. Create a visible customer feedback loop.
Enable easy and near-real-time course corrections and be more sympathetic to changes in customer behaviors. For example, the Panviva platform encourages continuous improvement in two ways:
- Users put their own notes on it, such as: “Remember to call Steve at extension 1234 before doing an international wire.” The admin sees such notes and can harvest that tribal knowledge for a better process.
- The feedback button enables user to rate processes and alert the Panviva admin of an issue. For example, a user may notice they get a better response when they ask for an address before asking for a Social Security number.
Armed with that insight to improve performance, the admin can revise the Panviva guidance to reflect that improved sequence.
7. Make CX central to your culture.
Move to a more customer-centric model for your business. Culture is a top-down phenomenon. When senior leadership includes CX among its reward criteria, the whole organization follows. It’s not simply a matter of better technology.
CX Is an Evolution
Remember, CX is not a one-and-done process. It’s an evolution. No one gets it perfect the first time. It is a refining process with constant feedback and input to make the experience better.