In the age of high consumerism, customer experience (CX) is one of the biggest contributors to customer loyalty. For businesses in the e-commerce, airlines, telecommunications, banking & finance sectors, keeping customers loyal has become increasingly difficult as industry competitors fight to retain every customer in the midst of a struggling economy.
Therefore, in order to ensure your CX strategy yields positive outcomes for today’s customers, it is important to avoid common CX project failures, including: a lack of senior management sponsorship, failure to fix business processes that hamper CX, the lack of a customer-centric approach, and poor collaboration and cooperation across departments.
In this article, we identify four main areas companies should focus on to avoid common errors, achieve CX excellence, catalyse excellent feedback from customers and build long-term loyal customers.
1. A Customer-Centric Work Culture
Building a customer-centric work culture means adopting a mindset that is focused on creating the best experience for customers throughout their journey. As previously pointed out, a lack of senior management sponsorship or “buy-in” can lead to CX project failures. From C-level to senior management, right down to customer agents, every employee should be aligned to provide each customer with excellent care.
Why is customer-centricity so important? Simply speaking, it keeps customers loyal. Repeat customers are often long-term customers that invest in a brand frequently, and are one of the most important sources of revenue for most companies.
We have identified two main drivers that create a customer-centric work culture – people and processes.
As the diagram above shows, the People driver requires a customer focused leadership and empowered customer service agents who have adopted a customer-centric mentality.
Furthermore, to ensure that Processes within the company remain customer-centric, teams should design an optimal customer journey, collect metrics that matter, and continuously collect and use data to improve CX.
2. An Optimal Customer Journey
The first step to creating a customer journey that meets customer expectations and delivers results is to put yourself in the customer’s shoes. What is the customer trying to accomplish? What expectations do they have? How do they feel about your brand? As outlined above, part of the reason why a lot of CX projects fail is that interactions aren’t planned with a customer-centric mentality.
Customer journey mapping is a reliable way to get a bird’s eye view of what the customer is doing at each stage of their interaction with a brand. This helps to identify and eventually streamline business processes that can hamper an ideal customer experience.
There are four journeys a customer can take when dialling into a contact centre:
- Onboarding – creating an account, buying an insurance policy
- Maintaining – technical help, account changes
- Using/Owning – buying a product
- Renewing– renewing services such as utilities, car, house, etc.
Depending on a customer’s journey, an agent should determine a customer’s actions, motivations, questions, and barriers at each step and have series of prepared responses planned. At the same time, first contact resolution (FCR), durations of calls, and IVR trees should be scrutinized to see if call inefficiencies exist for any reason.
The more a contact centre tweaks and optimizes its’ customer’s journey, the more the customer will feel like the brand understands and relates to them – which is the main driver for building long term customers.
3. A Uniquely Personalized Interaction
Research from Epsilon showed that 80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase when offered a personalized customer experience.
Personalized CX is when the CX agent is able to customize their interaction with the customer based on data such as past purchases and call history. The more a customer feels like the agent knows them, the stronger the bond between a brand and a customer.
However, personalized CX is not a one-off task that can be implemented and forgotten quickly after. Instead, it is a continuous process of deeply getting to know your customers over time as well as a reliable approach to creating a customer-centric culture that truly values customer input. Therefore, the collection of demographic and personal preference data should be a process that never ends.
How do you incorporate personalized interactions in your overall CX strategy? Try these steps:
- Capture data at every touchpoint (omnichannel)
- Personalize agent responses based on data
- Use past purchase history to offer recommendations
- Store collected data in one place, for better security
4. An Empowered Workforce
No one in a company, not even the CEO, knows their customers better than the frontline workers who interact with them each day. That is why customer service agents are in the best position to know customers on a deeper level than what’s on paper.
When managers ignore feedback that agents have collected and analysed through interactions with clients, agents lose motivation and can eventually become less invested in their work.
Instead, empowering CX agents to voice out their ideas, opinions, and concerns fosters a beneficial ecosystem whereby customer feedback is being examined through not only basic demographic data, but also first hand responses that can only be acquired through support interactions. Furthermore, it keeps agents focused on the needs of their customers, which is a key element of a customer-centric culture.
The best way to show agents that management takes agent feedback seriously is to implement their feedback, when applicable, and let them know their feedback was a valuable part of the CX initiatives undertaken.