Everyone’s talking about Customer Experience (CX) Strategy. But is it just another buzzword that’s going to make the rounds and disappear, or should you sit up and listen?
Do you even need a whole CX Strategy? Especially if you have already crafted brand guidelines, have rules of engagement for customer service and other brand-anchoring practices in place…
Here’s the thing: Even if you do absolutely nothing and pay no attention to building a strategy, your customers will still have an experience. You cannot control the event occurring, but you can certainly control how it plays out.
Simply put, customer experience is your customer’s perception of all their interactions with your brand and your product. This ranges from a social media post all the way to how they feel using your product for the hundredth time.
The key part of that definition is that it is the perception.
This perception is influenced by what your customer may have read before deciding to purchase your product, whether that was a review from a stranger or a recommendation from a trusted friend. It is definitely impacted by any after-sales interaction they had as well. This could be a standard follow-up message, or the service received when making a complaint.
User Experience, Customer Service, Branding, Content Marketing and Social media management all contribute to the customer experience.
But where should you start?
Creating a cohesive customer experience requires different actions depending on the size and structure of your team. However, there are a few key elements that are needed in any strategy.
1. Create goals, plans and metrics that keep your customer and their needs at the core
How will your customers discover you?
How will you gain their trust and loyalty?
What needs do you want to meet and to what extent?
How can you make it easy for them to buy from you?
2. Ensure that everyone in the team agrees on who the customer is
This may seem like a given at the start, and something that requires little to no work, but as you scale and your team grow, making sure there is a single source of truth for this is vital.
This customer may also change as you learn more about them over time and you need to keep this document adapting to that.
Customer Personas, User Stories and User Journey Maps are all excellent sources of information that can be created to do this.
3. Create platforms for customer stories to be shared internally throughout the organisation
Online reviews, social media engagement and customer queries or complaints are gold mines at helping you understand how your customers are reacting to your brand, service or product.
But all too often, those stories get limited to the individual team (or even person) responsible for resolving them. By creating opportunities for the different teams to hear these perspectives, their views are broadened. They will gain a far greater appreciation for their role in the overall journey rather than seeing a siloed perspective.
4. Communicate and manage changes mindfully
If a particular journey has always worked in a certain way, and you change it, even if it is for the better, you need to let your customers know.
The magnitude of the change determines how best to communicate it. A tiny change to a website could be managed with a bright pop up, whereas a total overhaul of a process may need a video or email explanation.
For those big changes, make sure all customer-facing teams are also up to date so that there is no mixed messaging or confusion. The more clarity your teams have, the better they can manage the customer experience.
Having a strategic approach to customer experience is a great way to unite the organisation behind a common purpose. If your business has been around for a while, it can take a lot of work, but know that it is worthwhile. And for those of you just starting out, it is a key step in laying a connected foundation for all major decisions.
Do you have any questions around building a CX strategy? Leave them in the comments!