Customer experience (CX) has been something of a buzzword in 2016, with an increasing focus on customer satisfaction management and measurement. Gartner recently found that by 2017, 89% of marketers expect CX to be their primary differentiator. As it becomes harder to differentiate by product alone, the commercial success of companies increasingly depends on customer service and satisfaction. After all, happy customers remain loyal for longer, make greater and more frequent purchases, are willing to pay higher prices, and are happy to recommend companies and their brands and products.
But how can companies kindle this customer enthusiasm at every touchpoint along the entire customer journey? One answer is an efficient CX management system. This can help companies achieve these customer goals by intensifying and improving individual relationships through measuring and analysing aspects of a journey - even those that cannot be identified by the human eye. But as with many business objectives, the ambition cannot be achieved through technology deployment alone. To help combat this, organisations should consider 5 crucial steps to maximise the introduction of new tools and platforms.
1. Manage customer satisfaction rather than just measuring it
With the new era of CX it is of essence to first create a fundamental change: Companies should transform their outdated customer satisfaction programmes into effective CX management programmes that are linked with concrete operational objectives and that contribute to business success in a way that is both demonstrable and measurable. Instead of traditional customer surveys, the supporting analysis of operational data must move along the customer journey – it is from these that the feedback from various touchpoints and sources can be continually processed. The aim is then to be able to take immediate corrective action in real time while the customer experience is still ongoing.
2. Didn’t receive any feedback? Forecast it instead!
The realisation that more and more consumers are growing weary of answering endless survey questions is widely recognised. New software solutions can use the responses from customers participating in surveys to derive the behaviour of non-participating customers as well. Using customer data from almost every source, combining survey findings with operational customer data and analysing them will provide a view at an individual customer level. This collection of ‘Big Data’ provides relevant insight into individual transactions, revealing opportunities that may arise from customers in advance, and risks that organisations should be aware of.
Using this process companies can identify when customers are drifting away, even before the customers realise this themselves. Organisations can draw on the same level of precision to determine the behaviour of customers whose loyalty is particularly important for them.
3. Forget data silos. Use information from all data sources systematically
It’s already possible for companies to obtain additional information about each individual customer through ongoing customer satisfaction tracking, social media monitoring, online communities, transaction data, sales data, and CRM databases. It is important, however, not to view these streams of knowledge as separate entities. Companies instead should strategically link the different information from various data sources with one another; it is essential to replace previously existing data silos, with state-of-the-art CX programmes that use suitable software, structured synthesis of relevant data, and an automated analysis. Only in this way is it possible to use existing data efficiently to gain insights, for instance by analysing unstructured data such as open comments, call center interviews, customer email, or social media postings and to combine them with one another.
4. Make customer data available to all staff
There are still many major difficulties associated with implementing customer feedback throughout an organisation. The most important points of criticism – particularly from frontline staff – are not only the inadequate integration into the development of CX programmes, but also the lack of background information and extremely poor level of hands-on knowledge.
By contrast, with a successful CX management system, companies receive pertinent findings that they can make available to all relevant staff within a matter of seconds. From top management to frontline customer service, everyone receives the data that is relevant to them exactly when they need it and in an easily digestible manner. This in turn results in greater insight gained, a better overview, and a chance to take faster and more effective action.
Employees throughout organisations are then in a situation where they are able to set the right priorities; process improvements can begin and personal responses to customers can be handled instantly. This is the only way that individual cases can be treated individually.
5. Make your CX programme unique
It is essential for organisations to have a unique CX management strategy that mirrors their company and customer needs. Looking for inspiration from competitors is encouraged, but learn from what you are observing rather than simply copying a CX management concept. The brand experience that your organisation is presenting to customers should positively stand out compared to those of your direct competitors; if your CX management strategy is specific to your organisation then the customer should not be able to get the same experience anywhere else.
All touchpoints along the customer journey should be personal points of contact with your customer that reflect your brand. Develop your marketing and CX strategies specifically for each individual touchpoint, making each interaction relevant for each customer in a personalised way. For this, leverage the insights available from all the customer data available across your entire organisation.
By Stephan Thun, CEO Europe at MaritzCX
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