Customer Experience Strategy: The Do’s
JANUARY 13, 2023
About Customer Experience
Customer Experience (CX) encompasses the full customer journey from the viewpoint of the customer, in terms of the brand’s perception. CX is often confused with customer service for customer experience, with CS being just a subcategory of CX. Service comes into the picture when a customer encounters a problem or question and approaches the business. CX, on the other hand, encompasses all stages of the customer’s journey, such as the sales experience, product design and quality, ease of use, brand perception, quality of customer service, and more.
Although CX can be subjective, the following framework can help businesses better assess it through the 4 following components to retain their customers successfully:
- Tools and Technologies
- Points of interaction
About CX Strategy
Customer experience strategy is a set of solid actions and processes that help deliver a meaningful and engaging experience to customers throughout their buying journey. Senior leaders often develop CX strategy with directives from executive-level discussions. Leaders must review the various departments in an organization and plan how each of them can adopt a customer-centric approach. The goal is for the entire organization to act in harmony and not in silos when it comes to CX.
Why should you invest your time and money in a CX strategy?
Around 81 percent of organizations agree that CX offers a competitive edge, and 58 percent say it’s their primary differentiator, according to the 2020 Global Customer Experience Benchmarking Report by NTT. Also, companies that have high customer loyalty outperform their competitors by 2X on average, according to a Bain report.
Also, while sales and marketing are at the forefront of customer experience, your strategy must encompass other seemingly peripheral functions, such as HR, finance, and vendor management.
Despite appreciating the need for and benefits of a customer experience strategy, many companies struggle with its implementation. To give you a headstart, we have compiled a list of the best practices for a successful CX strategy.
- Make interactions easy for the customer. At all stages of the buying journey, the ease of transaction can make or break your customer’s decision to purchase. You can differentiate yourself from highly similar competitors with helpful support teams, simple and quick payment options, customized product options, useful product upgrades, and insightful solutions to customer issues. Also, setting up self-service portals with case studies and walkthrough videos that explain your product and its benefits is one way to make information easily accessible to customers.
- Build a community. Building customer communities, both formal and informal, is an extension of creating self-help resources, such as FAQs on your website. A community benefits from an actual loyal customer solving the problems or answering the questions of another. In a B2B world, customers tend to engage closely with product owners since such collaborations lead to a win-win partnership. For example, customer feedback makes the product better, which is beneficial for both sides.
- Leverage Artificial Intelligence and machine learning. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the second important factor reshaping the CX industry, and it’s gradually edging its way to the top of the list. The potential of AI in CX is vast — from chatbots and virtual assistants in customer service to customer analytics and voice and language analysis. AI tools help personalize products and services for your customers. You can also use AI to support your sales and marketing teams with a data-driven approach toward understanding buyer sentiment and being more sensitive to individual constraints.
- Personalize, don’t generalize. Buyers expect sellers to understand their unique needs. According to a report by Salesforce, 66 percent of business buyers expect sales reps to develop tailored solutions rather than pitch products, and 84 percent are more likely to buy from a company that demonstrates an understanding of their business goals. But, in reality, most sales interactions focus on products rather than solutions and feel transactional, as per the report. It’s not straightforward to get personalization right, but you can start by segmenting your customers and understanding their different personas. To get sharper insights into individual profiles, you can use customer analytics solutions. You can set up real-time data reporting that allows you to respond to scenarios quickly. Personalization applies to your sales and marketing strategies as well. In a 2020 report, 93 percent of B2B marketers say personalizing content has increased their organization’s revenue over time.
- Build an omnichannel experience. Most buyers engage in an average of eight channels before buying. They’re consuming content through email, phone, social media, mobile apps, online chat, in-person, and more — and they expect a consistent experience across all these channels. Yet, two-thirds of sales teams do not have a cross-channel strategy. You need to create a seamless omnichannel experience in which the context is carried over from one to another. As customers switch from one channel to another, they need to feel like they are continuing the same conversation and not starting over every time. To achieve this, you need to see a single 360-degree view of the customer, train your agents to speak in a cohesive voice, and empower them with systems that contain contextual data.
- Evaluate Customer Feedback Regularly. Gathering customer feedback in the form of surveys and KPIs (such as Net Promoter Score, Customer Effort Score, Customer Satisfaction, and Customer Churn) is crucial to your CX strategy.Feedback helps you understand what the customer is thinking at the present moment. When you have major inflection points, such as a pandemic or an economic crisis, a structured feedback mechanism is critical to understanding your customers’ needs. Identifying possible gaps also helps point out problems with the CX strategy and channel your investments accordingly.
- Focus on Customer Service. Service is at the heart of customer experience. A positive customer service interaction could build a loyal customer base — and worse, a negative exchange could result in customers switching to a competitor. All the effort you put into sales, marketing, and product could end up with nothing if, ultimately, your service is bad. Here are some of the key aspects of a great CS, ranked in order:
- Self-service tools
- Knowledgeable sales reps
- 24×7 service
- Accessible phone number
- Online returns processing
- Live chat with humans
The takeaway is that customers are looking for more than one solution. Sometimes they rely on websites and chatbots, but other times they seek live interactions. It’s therefore important to train your employees to offer consistent experience in all your service channels.
- Measure the ROI of your CX strategy. To make the case for CX transformation to your board, you need to estimate and measure the ROI of your CX strategy. This seems similar to getting customer feedback, but the goal of feedback is to answer the question, “Are our customers happy?,” while the main focus here is to determine, “Is our company getting value out of CX initiatives?” Value equals financial benefits or actual numbers in the form of revenues, profits, and stock prices. It means finding out answers to questions such as, “Have the marketing expenses gone down since we started this new CX program?”
Creating a linkage between data and money isn’t easy, but some reports give positive indicators. The NTT report, for instance, shows that around 44 percent of organizations have a structured voice of the customer (VoC) program. The VoC program has in turn led to a 50 percent increase in revenue/profits and a 38 percent decrease in costs.
- CX transformation must be thoughtful. While you need a sense of urgency around CX transformation, rushing into new territory will lead to stumbles that can be avoided with some forethought and vision. By putting the customer first and letting their needs change your culture at all levels of the organization, your CX transformation will most likely be successful in the long run.
To implement these CX best practices, you need contextual data, the ability to see patterns of customer usage, and solutions that enable simplicity and speed. Pobuca’s portfolio of products gives you the competitive edge you need in your CX transformation journey.
By integrating key components of CX, Pobuca enables sellers and managers across the entire revenue team to exceed customer expectations and accelerate deals, so you can spend more time on initiatives that matter. See how you can reduce time spent on administrative tasks, highlight successful sales activities, coach sales reps in real-time, and more.