For the modern customer, the experience a business provides has become a top brand differentiator. With PWC reporting 65% of U.S. consumers find a positive CX to be more influential than advertising and 75% of consumers around the world desire more human interaction, customer experience remains a key element of business success.
Yet, while a customer experience strategy holds a great deal of value for a number of verticals, there are a lot of businesses who still struggle with its implementation.
In this article, to help you get started on designing your customer experience strategy, we’re outlining all the necessary steps to build an effective customer experience strategy that promotes long-term, company-wide growth.
Step 1: Understand Your Business and Customer
Before you jump into designing a customer experience strategy, some background knowledge on your businesses, it’s position in the market, your current customer base, and your target audience are essential to ensure your goals and strategy are designed effectively.
Designing an effective strategy starts with understanding your business first, because having a fundamental understanding of operations and service is critical before making any big changes.
To start, review some of the data you have at hand to understand where you are today. How has performance been over the last year? What is the inventory to sale ratio? Has service quality gone up? How timely is service? Do team members feel appreciated at work? You might want to review your performance over the last year, whether or not service quality has increased or decreased during this period, the timeliness of delivery, and survey employees to understand if they feel appreciated at work. . Knowing the answers to these questions will help you understand the areas could affecting the customer experience, how to improve, and help support your argument for adopting one to stakeholders.
Your Position In The Market
Today’s competitors are a different breed. They’re never short of new ideas, lower prices, and unique product/service qualities – so knowing what they’re doing can help you stay agile and forecast future trends for your strategy.
In order to get a sense of the competition and where you stand in relation to them, take a look at online reviews, talk to customers, and do your fair share of market research. Knowing what competitors are offering and the tactics they’re using can help you gain an understanding of what customers want when it comes to your industry.
Current Customer Sentiment
Knowing what it is about your business that customers love is critical. As is knowing what your customers feel needs work. Your current customer’s sentiment is one of, if not, the most important aspects to take into consideration when creating your customer experience strategy. Without it, you won’t know how to tailor your product/service and improve team performance.
In order to start measuring your customer’s sentiment, try sending surveys in real-time or immediately after their experience or hold interviews on a regular basis. By prompting a customer with questions close to the time they’ve engaged with your business about service quality, cleanliness, employee attitude, and more can help you gain better insights into your performance.
Developing a customer persona (or buyer persona) is a pivotal aspect of not just your customer experience strategy but also your marketing strategy as a whole. With it, you can understand the most prominent types of customers in your business so you can better tailor your products, services, or messaging.
We recommend starting with 3-5 personas. Each of these customer personas should be tailored to the individual, which means you should be identifying things like the customer’s background, pain points, interests, goals, and of course – demographic details.
In order to obtain this data, like any business project, you will need to do some research. In most cases, one-on-one interviews are conducted or customers are asked to fill out more qualitative-based questionnaires. It’s important to keep in mind when planning interviews or questionnaires, the questions or statements should be constructed with the persona profile in mind and the results should ultimately summarize your persona.
Step 2: Plan The Customer Journey
Determine a Goal
In any sort of new business venture, a goal is a necessity. Using the research from Step 1, it’s time to sit down and identify common trends to determine a favourable goal that is both realistic yet ambitious enough to engage team members and propel growth.
By creating a goal before you plan your strategy, you are able to measure your success and see your progress every step of the way. Whether you end up exceeding expectations or falling short, a goal is a great tool for stakeholders to visualize your objective and to motivate teams.
Draw Out Your Plan
Using the goal you’ve constructed, develop a plan to get there. Use the end to end customer journey as your starting point and fill it in using details like the typical customer’s preferences, their barriers, their opportunity, and so on.
When drawing out your plan or writing down what you want to see happen, don’t be afraid to get innovative on how you can elevate the experience. In addition, each persona that you created earlier should be a consideration in devising your plan.
Step 3: Implement Customer Experience Strategy
Once you’ve gone through the research phase, determined your goal, and built out a plan, it’s now time to implement. This includes informing your high-level teams of goals, objectives and measurements, in addition to training your customer-facing teams to follow your new strategy.
Step 4: Consistently Measure
Monitoring and measuring your progress during and after your strategy has been implemented is both the last and most important step to the overall success of your program. With it, you’ll be able to see just how realistic your goals were if team members are putting in their expected work, and how customers are taking to your new strategy.
To measure effectively and ensure you’re not missing critical aspects of the customer journey, we highly suggest adopting a customer experience management solution. With a dedicated technology solution, you can access customer insights, determine trends, and identify issues in real-time, by hour, day, shift, and more. What’s more, with innovative natural language processing and rich reporting capabilities, you can identify trending topics of operational concern to continuously optimize the customer experience.
By designing a powerful customer experience strategy, you ensure that the time and resources put towards delivering an incredible customer experience are actually drawing a favourable outcome. By following our 4 steps, in particular, you’re well on your way to creating a customer experience strategy that differentiates you and promotes company-wide growth.