Transforming the customer experience in 5 steps
Last month’s Gartner Customer Strategies & Technologies Summit provided a perfect opportunity to review where the customer experience market currently is – and to look forward at the next challenges and opportunities for companies.
One of the key points raised is that while senior managers now understand the importance of customer experience, many are unsure where to start when it comes to improving what they offer to consumers. To assist with this Gartner’s Ed Thompson set out the five steps that brands need to take to transform customer experience in one of his presentations. In this post I’m going to talk about each of them based on Eptica’s own experiences of working with customers across the world.
1. Prove the value of a better experience
To gain senior level backing for your CX project you need to build a strong business case that supports the objectives of your organization. Therefore take the time to understand what your company is aiming to achieve and look at projects that can support this. Do you want to increase efficiency? Improve retention rates? Bring in new customers? By focusing on particular areas, and using examples of where other organizations have benefited you can build a business case that resonates and justifies your investment.
2. Audit CX projects and technologies
Once you have decided on the need within your organization and built a business case you need to see what is already in place. What can be built on and what new solutions will you have to deploy? When choosing new technology look at the impact it will have (backed up by metrics), frequency of use and applicability (the range of uses it will have). In my experience technologies that can be re-used, such as a central knowledge base that can be deployed as part of web self-service systems and used by agents when handling emails, social media and phone calls deliver a high return on investment and can therefore underpin your customer experience transformation.
3. Decide what will be measured
How are you going to demonstrate the success of the project, and unlock funding for future initiatives? I recommend agreeing the metrics early and also ensuring that everyone agrees how they will be measured. For example, CSAT scores show customer satisfaction while Net Promoter links to advocacy and brand reputation. Do also ensure that you measure levels before the project goes live in order to validate your targeted improvements.
4. Build a roadmap and pick a start point
Companies are at different stages of customer experience maturity, meaning that no two organizations will start in the same position. Understand what you have in place already, where you want to get to and then create a plan that will move you forward in a focused, step by step manner. Bear in mind your current capabilities and don’t be over-ambitious, particularly in the early stages of projects.
5. Create the organization to effect change
As CX is a relatively new concept, responsibility for it varies from organization to organization. Some will have a Chief Customer Officer with wide-ranging powers, while in other companies it may fall under the marketing department’s remit. Customer experience is now part of everyone’s role within a company, meaning that for transformation to be solid and long-lasting you need to gain buy-in across the organization. Look at structures such as customer hubs which bring together staff from different departments with multiple skills in order to focus efforts and eliminate potential silos.
Now customer experience is recognized as critical to company success, organizations need to ensure that they focus on delivering what customers want, today and in the future. Following a structured plan built on a strong business case and setting measurable objectives should therefore be the start point for your successful CX transformation.