In today’s competitive landscape, businesses are increasingly realising the vital role that customer experience (CX) plays in their success. A well-crafted customer experience strategy serves as a blueprint for creating exceptional interactions that leave a lasting impact.
Are you on a fired-up mission to enhance customer experience, but haven’t got a clue where to start? You’ll be pleased to hear that there’s no need to scrabble about piecing things together to make sense of it all, we’ve got your starting blocks right here.
In this blog, we’re stripping it back to basics by getting to grips with the terminology and uncovering some of the key components of a first-rate CX strategy.
When tackling a new concept, we find it’s always best to start at the beginning. So, let’s quickly clear up what customer experience really means, then you can get to work deciphering what it looks like for your company.
CX is the customer’s overall perception of your company throughout their journey with you. It encompasses all the customer’s touchpoints, like their interaction with products, adverts, services, employees, and systems, which together shape their opinion of your business. As an example, this could be the customer’s overall view of your company when they’ve responded to an ad, purchased a product on your website, called your support team for advice, or maybe even received a particular service or the delivery of a product.
What’s the difference between CX and UX then?
Whilst CX and UX (user experience) both aim to improve customer satisfaction and are closely intertwined, they are most definitely different.
The term UX has been knocking about since the ‘90s, so you might be a bit more au fait with this than CX. UX focuses entirely on the experience of a customer or ‘user’ in relation to a single product or interaction. In contrast, CX looks at the big picture, considering each of the customer’s different interactions and their view of the company that has developed as a result.
UX plays an important part in a wider CX action plan that aims to improve overall customer service and create a solid brand. Without an overarching CX strategy, the UX goals for individual products wouldn’t be able to tie into the customer’s whole experience.
What’s involved in creating a CX strategy?
Crafting an experience strategy that is designed to evoke a positive customer experience involves planning a way to deliver seamless, personalised, and memorable experiences. The aim of working up a strategy and putting it to work is to meet or even exceed your customers’ expectations, foster their loyalty, and create brand advocacy.
It might seem like a pretty daunting task, but if you’re thinking of taking the plunge to improve customer experience, this is where PMW can step in and make it manageable for you. Whether you choose to work with us so that we can lead you on your CX transformation, or want a go at doing it solo, we think it’s vital to consider these key points to build your strategy and ultimately enhance customer experience.
Steps for success – how to build a customer experience strategy
Start with an audit of all the different interactions a customer has with you to identify what might be holding you back from giving the best possible customer experience.
Take the time to really get to know your audience by collating feedback with surveys and personal conversations. If you’re in retail for example, this might include reviewing the UX of all your products, analysing interactions that lead to a transaction, and understanding what happens to the customer after they have completed their purchase.
These processes are likely to highlight problems and give you a basis on which you can form your strategy upon.
Consider the end game.
The audit process might be a little disheartening or overwhelming, but you can utilise all this valuable feedback to help you clarify your long term CX objectives. It’s time to distinguish how you want people to feel about your brand and their experience with your company – think about what success would look like to you.
You might have a brand policy that can help you determine the type of experience you want to provide your customers with, or perhaps it’s worth rallying employees to weigh in with how they feel your brand should be represented and the type of journey your customers should experience. Of course, you might also want to talk to an esteemed full-service marketing agency about the best way to feed your brand guidelines into an effective CX strategy, *cough cough*.
Map out your vision.
Whether it’s multiple sticky notes, flipchart paper or a colourful excel flowchart, find a way that works best for you to map out your ideal customer experience. Take every single interaction into account, from the moment they discover your business with a funky brand ad, to communications that aim to keep customers returning again and again.
With your new roadmap in black and white, it will become clear where the gaps in your current CX are, which is where you can focus on improving. Your visualisation for the perfect customer experience, along with these gaps and opportunities for improvement, will form the foundation of your new CX strategy.
Make it happen.
With your objectives now in sight, you can set about how you’re going to accomplish it all. To help turn your ideas into reality, you might find that bouncing creative concepts off colleagues could help you find innovative and fun ways to solve problems. Working out how to apply these resolutions to the current pain points of your existing customer experience, will give structure to your strategy and get you closer to achieving your goal.
Solutions could include finding ways to reward loyalty, introducing a new channel for customer communication, launching a glossy brand ad campaign, personalising customer experiences, implementing automation for order tracking or appointment reminders. This will give your staff the tools they need to solve recurring issues, or even result in running new ideas and trials past existing customers. When you’ve decided on your different plans of action, it’s time to get the ball rolling and book training in for staff. For example, this could be turning personalisation projects into digital workflows.
- Measure, learn and evolve.
Having dedicated the time to get this right, you’re going to want to know if your strategy was effective. When it’s time to analyse the impact of your hard work, use the long-term vision for your customer experience that you’ve set out, alongside your sales or performance statistics, and results from follow up surveys to customers, to measure your CX performance.
To ensure that your CX strategy evolves with your company over time, it’s important to delve into your results, learn from them and continue to develop so that you can generate the recognition your brand deserves.
If you’re reading this and are doing a smug little dance knowing that your CX is in tip top form, then we probably don’t need to tell you that happy customers lead to an excellent brand reputation, more repeat custom, and a profitable business. However, if you know you’ve got to improve but taking this on yourself feels out of your comfort zone and you want some guidance, then why not schedule a chat with our experts? Bursting at the seams with brand know-how (and a shed load of practical experience to back it up), we can help you shape the future of your customer experience and skyrocket your business to meet your vision.