While customer experience (CX) isn’t a new concept at all, digitization has introduced newer possibilities and redefined CX dramatically. For starters, the customers have changed—their expectations and demands have evolved and are more aligned with the current era.
Likewise, the customer journey has grown progressively intricate, with a proliferation of options. It’s about effectively catering to a multitude of providers’ end customers that include internal customers, enterprise-end customers, and partners.
What is customer experience (CX)?
In simple terms, CX refers to how a business engages with its customers at every point of their buying journey—from marketing and sales to customer service and everywhere in between. It encompasses all the interactions that a customer has with a brand.
Most companies wouldn’t simply define customer experience as just a set of actions; it is also about the feeling that customers or prospective customers have about the brand. Hence, every customer touchpoint is critical to the brand image, and the decisions made at every touchpoint influence how successful a business will be.
For companies that offer CX solutions, the customer is the Communications Service Provider (CSP). Within this, internal customers can be from customer service, finance, sales, or network operation departments. It can also include third-party partners and entire ecosystems that require management and service.
CSPs also have their end customers, which can be a combination of residential and enterprise customers that have their own end customers to serve. This paints a clear picture of how interconnected and multidimensional customer relationships can increase the complexity of the customer experience — A single error can result in a cascading impact on CX.
The benefits of re-evaluating CX strategies annually
Updating an existing CX is what will differentiate a business from others in the market. Oftentimes, what companies think the customers want doesn’t actually align with the customer’s perception. That’s where a clear and well-planned CX strategy serves as a roadmap to ensure a positive experience at each touchpoint of the customer journey from start to finish.
Here are some factors that can make a significant difference in the customers’ perception of a brand:
- Marketing campaigns that address customer requirements and expectations
- E-commerce site that is easily navigable and provides guidance and assistance to visitors along the way
- Strength of the sales and service strategy when serving B2B or B2C customers
- Easily accessible and readily available customer information, eliminating the need for repeat conversations about the same matter throughout various escalations
- Clearly defined CX goals
- Executive and C-suite buy-in
- Integration across all front- and back-office systems
- Customer/employee feedback and data
- Digital tools and the ability to track a customer’s digital journey
- The mindset that all employees are customer-facing employees
- CX analytics and CX metrics
- A data-driven mindset
Once a CX strategy is put into action, businesses should actively send out CSAT surveys to measure and monitor its effectiveness. Evaluating a current or assumed CX strategy identifies all aspects that are performing as predicted and the areas that need improvement.
If a brand gets its CX right, it’ll be the company to beat.
The benefits of simplifying customer interactions
Customers don’t care about complexity; in some way, their expectations remain the same, i.e., an easy and enjoyable experience. They want an easy purchase of a quality product or service at a place and time of their convenience. Customers prefer to have choices and feel valued. If issues arise, they want them proactively addressed and rectified in the shortest time possible.
As simple as it sounds, customer interactions can also reflect this type of simplicity that can be a catalyst for engagement without compromising the quality of service. Every interaction counts, and by simplifying these interactions to the bare essentials, businesses advocate for creating experiences that are effortless and meaningful.
“Simplify your CX with the minus mindset: Subtract from your CX instead of adding to it.”
Simplicity can be in an e-commerce website that incorporates easy-to-use navigation menus and intuitive search functionalities or an app that adds a touch of playfulness through clicks and swipes to an otherwise mundane task, providing a delightful journey for the customers. The possibilities are endless.
When it comes to determining the success of a CX strategy, there is not a succinct list of the top KPIs. It depends entirely on the business, customers, and industry. But as CX is designed to increase customer satisfaction, there are some general KPIs that are inclusive:
- Revenue growth
- Customer retention/customer churn
- Number of cross-selling and upsell
- Customer service costs
- NPS change
- Digital metrics like pages visited, time spent on-site, conversion rate
It is imperative for CX initiatives to align with business goals and outcomes, highlighting their strategic value and making them more likely to receive executive support. Keeping that aside, the CX projects that need to be prioritized first are the ones that will:
- Serve the best for the greatest number of customers
- Serve the business in the best possible manner — specifically, revenue and profitability
If CX leaders are aware of the projects that will achieve the above two, then the only thing left to do is to assess the feasibility and risks involved.
The role of technology in CX
To foster a simplified approach to CX, technology is at the forefront that helps achieve an accelerated customer journey:
- Automation: Streamlines the customer journey
- Proactive personalization: Uses customer information to deliver a tailored CX.
- Contextual interaction: Guides customers to the next set of interactions in their CX journey.
- Journey innovation: Finds new sources of value for the customer and the brand through data analysis, customer insights, open-ended testing, and frequent prototyping of new services/features.
It is important to remember that CX is purely based on customer perceptions and, subsequently, equates to quantifiable financial outcomes. Thoughtful engagement and customer-focused marketing campaigns reflect the brand’s commitment to the customers’ needs.
From research to purchase, all parts of the customer experience matter, and therefore, customer journeys need to be comprehensive, flexible, and faultless. Assess your current CX strategies to see where you can subtract to enhance.
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