A a well-executed customer experience strategy can help increase customer satisfaction, reduce churn and skyrocket your revenue. What do you think is the best way to improve CX strategy?
In order to deliver the very best customer experience, it is imperative that you gain executive buy-in and, beyond that, executive ownership of the customer experience. Indeed, according to the findings published in the CSO Insights 2018 Customer Experience Study, there is a link between this approach and CX success.
The study itself divided organisations into two groups: ‘leader’ organisations, who had experienced an increase in customer satisfaction over recent years, and ‘laggard’ organisations, whose customer satisfaction levels had either remained the same or declined in the years prior to their participation in the study.
Among the ‘leader’ group, 73 percent stated that their senior leaders viewed customer loyalty as the core to business success and 56 percent said their leaders budget the money and resources needed to improve the customer experience. Among ‘laggard’ companies, these figures were 56 percent and 26 percent, respectively.
It is only when executive ownership exists that a truly cross-functional approach can be adopted. The CSO Insights study also found that among organisations with a CX owner at executive level, who budgeted money and other resources, and with a cross-functional team in place, 85 percent improved customer satisfaction in the past year.
Another of the most important best practices is to create a brand promise – essentially, the experience that you promise to deliver your customers each time they interact with your business – and model your CX strategy to ensure that you live up to this promise consistently.
In total, 65 percent of businesses classed as ‘leader organisations’ have a clearly defined and well communicated idea of what the ideal customer experience looks like. By comparison, just 38 percent of ‘laggard’ organisations say the same. Establishing a brand promise and aligning CX to this can help to provide greater clarity.
In addition, the aforementioned CSO Insights 2018 Customer Experience Study found that 63 percent of leader organisations deliver a consistent experience, which lives up to their brand promise.
As an additional incentive to achieve this, the CSO Insights 2017 World-Class Sales Practices Study found that organisations who had a brand promise in place and felt they consistently lived up to it saw higher win rates, quota attainment and revenue results than organisations who did not feel this was the case for them.
The next customer experience best practice that was highlighted in the study was the need to implement a robust ‘Voice of Customer’ programme, which involves consistently gathering feedback and opinions from customers, so that you have the information necessary to understand the experience you are currently providing.
Even among ‘leader’ organisations, only just over half (52 percent) have a Voice of Customer programme in place, which they say effectively gathers information and allows them to understand their experience. With that said, this is double the number of ‘laggard’ organisations who report the same, but it shows room for improvement.
CSO Insights also found that 52 percent of ‘leader’ organisations say that they use VoC data to continuously improve their business practices. However, among ‘laggard’ organisations, that number is only 23 percent.
When organisations become effective at collecting VoC data consistently and using it to inform their business practices, they can take steps to improve customer service skills through activities like customer service coaching, using insight from the people that really matter – the customers – to inform their strategy.
One of the most effective ways to improve the level of customer experience your organisation is providing is by taking the time to plot out all of the key touchpoints a customer can go through on their journey towards making a purchase and remaining a loyal customer. Then, create a comprehensive journey map.
Within the process of journey mapping, you should not only gain a clear idea of what is happening at each stage of the customer experience, you should also gain genuine insight into how your customers feel about the ‘defining moments’. This will allow you to understand what customers’ impressions are and when they are formed.
Once it has been created, the journey map can be used to help to align different departments, so that collaboration is enhanced, and to tailor your customer service coaching efforts, so that customer service reps, marketing reps and sales reps are receiving the most relevant information and advice for improving the CX.
At present, however, even ‘leader’ organisations are not especially great when it comes to journey mapping. Nevertheless, it was the area of CSO Insights’ 2018 Customer Experience Study which saw the biggest disparity between ‘leader’ and ‘laggard’ organisations – a 28 percent difference in adoption.
Today, you have at your disposal dozens, if not over a hundred, of customer experience software solutions that span the range of marketing, sales and support processes.
So what are we looking at here? Mainly, CRM, help desk and marketing automation solutions. Together, these apps give you a 360-degree view of customers throughout their journey, lending context to customer conversations at each stage of the buyer’s journey.
Specifically, here are the key functionalities that help you roll out CX management end to end.
Lead nurturing. Nurture and qualify prospects and convert them into leads.CRM. Track deals across the sales pipeline and close them, create opportunities for repeat sales.Help desk. On board customers, track and resolve issues and increase customer satisfaction.Omni-channel. All your customer engagement channels — email, social media, live chat, web forms — are managed in one centralized location.Mobile. The ability to access customer data and interactions from your smartphone or tablet; conversely, customers can conveniently reach you from their mobile device.Predictive analytics. Uses data mining, AI and advanced algorithm to analyze, anticipate customer needs and personalize service.
You have two ways to approach technology for customer experience. One is you get a toolkit of different apps for sales, marketing and support and hope they integrate with each other. You will have to deal with different SLAs and varying degrees of support, which may lend inconsistency to your day-to-day business. And critically, you lose leveraging volume order and fail to merit discounts or deals when you deal with multiple vendors.
Two, you build a technology stack for marketing automation, CRM, salesforce automation, help desk. This is the better option because it ensures smooth customer data processing throughout the buyer’s journey. Remember, one of the most important things in CX management is context so all team members can follow the customer’s journey. Having a single stack of native apps means data is shared across platforms and its integrity kept intact. This makes endorsement between agents or teams efficient; in the process, customers experience continuity and consistency from you, even if at the backend, different teams are handling CX.
Just like with any project, your CX strategy needs to be evaluated regularly to measure its outcomes. It will also evolve through the years based on your customer needs; hence, you need to keep tab of the KPIs. This ensures your CX process adapts to changes and provides long-term ROI.
Measure the right CX metrics. KPIs vary per business, but the general metrics include customer satisfaction rating, churn rate, monthly/annual revenues and repeat sales.Benchmark goal vs. outcomes. Once you have your KPIs neatly pressed, mash them with your original goal. This tells you if the strategy is a success, needs improvement or failing.Analyze internal controls. This means analyzing the processes in each department and measuring how much each team contributes to the overall CX value.Run periodic analytics. Regular reporting enables data-driven decisions, helping you to steer your CX strategy toward the right direction. For example, if customer satisfaction is falling at the same time as ticket volume is increasing, maybe it’s time to expand the support team. A robust help desk like HubSpot Service Hub equips you with reporting tools that capture critical insights at once and help you put the KPIs on track.