CX Blog Series: Creating the Ideal Customer Experience, Part 2

Building a successful customer experience (CX) program is a complex task involving all areas of a business. While it is not uncommon to find early success with quick wins for a CX program, the long-term success is more difficult to find as there is no ‘formula’ for ensuring CX success. However, in the efforts covered over this two-part blog series there are several commonalities that CX leaders routinely deploy to their advantage.

In part 1 of this series, we covered the key efforts associated with creating an ideal customer experience, including; how you can eliminate resistance, attain organizational support, identify necessary resources, and integrate tech and people. With the first half of necessary efforts completed, we will now move onto the second half of key baseline efforts that will help any marketer plan a successful CX program.

Effort 5 - Setting Clear Goals

Along with sponsorship across all levels of the organization, the goals for each level of management should be clearly defined, documented, and communicated. These goals should include at least one high-level goal as well as what is expected from the CX program over both one and five-year timelines. Defining and communicating clear short and long-term goals throughout the organization will act as a compass for your CX program, constantly guiding it toward success.

A quick PSA about setting goals: all goals should be clear and well-defined. Vague or generalized goals do not provide sufficient direction. They should be both measurable and attainable to provide sufficient value while also able to measure the degree of our success, so there should be a specific CX metric we are measuring our goals by. It’s also important to make sure the goals set are attainable; if the goals have no hope of being attained, they will simply serve to demoralize and erode confidence in the program. Lastly, the goals should be time-bound. All goals must have a specific deadline by which to measure, and celebrate, your success.

Effort 6 - Managing Expectations

While CX is arguably one of the most powerful transformations any organization can make, unrealistic expectations often derail these programs before they have a chance to mature. Any CX program should be viewed from a long-term mindset-- investments made in CX today pay dividends commensurate with the effort expended tomorrow. As any investor knows, the power of compounded dividends/interest is a powerful thing over time, but may not appear as such when taking a short-term view. To reap the rewards of CX, you must invest consistent effort over time. Seemingly insignificant things done today can have a substantial impact on your business down the road.

By setting realistic expectations early on in your program, you are ensuring the long-term continued success of the program. The organization, as well as the individuals involved in the program, must understand what is expected to formulate a strategy to achieve those goals. In my experience, CX technology vendors have a habit of telling customers their solution will do everything, including make them dinner, and all they have to do is install it. While CX solutions can be very powerful when run by the right people, I will tell you now, they won’t do squat without quality analysts running the tool. Bottom line, set realistic expectations for your CX program, commensurate with your goals and people. Don’t let outside influences, or sales pitches, cloud your judgment and artificially inflate your expectations.

Effort 7 – Targeting Quick Wins

As we have mentioned earlier, the benefits of any CX program materialize over time, with persistent and concerted effort. The long-term benefits such as increased profits, conversion, loyalty and repeat business compound over time into something very material and significant but, generally, do not improve over night. Providing quick wins through your CX program helps reinforce the decisions made by top management and motivates the organization to continue supporting the project. These quick wins are important for validation and long-term support.

Regardless of the maturity of your CX program, there should be some low-hanging opportunities available to provide some quick wins. Start with known issues, or issues that have been identified by the organization, but have yet to be fixed. These issues are prime for CX programs to quickly show their value and ability to identify root-causes that lead to actionable insights and resolution.

This is also a terrific opportunity for the CX program to show off by demonstrating its power and flexibility. Being able to help other areas of the organization resolve some of their nagging known issues is a terrific way to show value and build relationships across the organization. Use these quick wins to solidify the CX program in the minds of the business, flex your CX muscles, and show how CX can be used to solve those difficult, hard-to-resolve, issues throughout the organization.

Effort 8 - Measuring Progress

You must be able to measure the success, or failure, of your CX program to understand where you were, where you are, and where you need to go. Analytics is about the iterative process of quantification, monetization, prioritization, and resolution of issues adversely impacting the customer experience. Quantification and monetization allow us to understand the impact of an issue both numerically and financially. Prioritization ensures we are focusing our attention on the most impactful issues. Finally, resolution closes the loop, hopefully resulting in increased customer satisfaction. 

Measurement provides critical information on the outcome of your actions, and provides your business with a means to justify continued investment in the CX program. CX is ultimately about managing and meeting your customer’s expectations. Great CX occurs when you exceed customer expectations in a meaningful way, while poor CX occurs when you fail to meet your customer’s expectations. Without measurement, how do you know?

Net Promoter Score
There are many ways to measure the impact of your CX program, the most popular being the Net Promoter Score (NPS). This metric is the percentage of your customers who would, or wouldn’t, recommend your company to their friends, family or colleagues. A simple survey ranks your customers as Detractors, Passives or Promoters and derives your NPS score from these values. The higher the NPS score, the better you are doing. While NPS does have its critics, I like its simplicity and ease of deployment to measure customer loyalty.

Customer Satisfaction
Customer satisfaction (CSAT) is the average satisfaction score that customers rate a specific experience they had with your organization. CSAT is measured by sending customers an automated survey asking them to rate their level of satisfaction with the interaction on a scale of “Not Satisfied at all” to “Very Satisfied”. This metric is great to understand what your customers think of a specific product or service, but does not provide an overall metric like NPS. 

Customer Effort Score
Customer Effort Score (CES) helps determine the effort required by customers to accomplish a task and is typically measured by sending customers an automated post-interaction survey. Like CSAT, capturing this metric should be done near the customer interaction to ensure you are capturing the ‘real’ feeling and measuring a specific interaction.

Customer Churn Rate
Churn rate is the percentage of customers who either don’t make a repeat purchase (for transaction-based businesses) or cancel their recurring service (for subscription-based businesses). This metric can be calculated by dividing the total number of lost customers by the total number of active customers for any given period. While traditionally used by businesses relying on recurring revenue, many e-commerce businesses are also adopting this metric.

Ultimately, every business is different and no single metric will work for every organization. NPS is a great way to start measuring the success of your CX program, and will provide a high-level metric to gauge your CX efforts. Once you have a baseline metric in place, start adding additional metrics to help track the issues that are most important to your customers.

Conclusion

It’s true, you must learn to walk before you can run and this is no different for customer experience programs. These building blocks will provide any organization with a solid foundation on which to build a successful CX program and help transform your organization into a customer-centric, competitive force. Spending the requisite time and effort to put everything into place before embarking on your CX journey will allow you to be rewarded handsomely for your efforts at the end.

 

Want to learn more about setting up a successful CX program?
Reach out to us at info.US@ebiquity.com.

 

 

 

By John Butler
About the Author:

John Butler is a Customer Experience Team Lead at Stratigent.

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