The solutions and data developed to enhance CX enable the organisation to deliver more relevant personalised offers at the right time, helping to better capture customers’ interest with the right products at the right moment.
As the choice of competing products becomes larger, and consumers ability to compare them becomes faster and easier, providing a unique and beneficial customer experience becomes a better way to stand out from competitors and improve brand reputation.
Improved CX outcomes support better customer acquisition and retention, and stronger customer loyalty and engagement.
CX improvements can reduce the overall costs of serving and supporting customers, as well as positively improving overall growth, market share, sales, and revenue.
The value of organisations is not just in their products, services, prices, or branding. The experience delivered to customers brings further benefits to the organisation, which should be considered when determining the related effort and investment in customer experience initiatives.
Customers are after a fast and straightforward way to progress through each interaction. They will also want to connect on the channel and device that suits their needs in the moment. Points of friction in the customer journey need to be identified and removed, while self-service options provide the customer with choice and time saved.
Every interaction has the potential to strengthen or weaken the bond between the organisation and the customer. Create smooth and efficient customer interactions, while providing staff with the tools and data that well help them better understand and assist the customer.
Customers already provide a lot of personal data, and that data should be used to present the right options and offers at the right time. From marketing communication to website navigation, every interaction is an opportunity to demonstrate to customers that your organisation is providing additional value to their relationship.
Don’t oversimplify our understanding of people: What people need, and their emotional reactions, can change based on their current context and the external forces that are present. Everyone’s priorities can continue to change, and many people are continually re-evaluating what is important to them.
Many of the fundamentals of customer experience are now widely used by many different organisations and customers’ expectations have shifted accordingly. Meeting basic CX expectations won’t provide major differentiation, and failing to meet them will send customers looking elsewhere.
Regardless of how the organisation operates, the customer’s perspective is that they are dealing with one organisation. The silos of a traditional organisational structure can deliver inconsistent customer experience due to a lack of shared insight and shared responsibility.
An initial focus on customer facing platforms, CRM solutions, and similar is understandable. However, improving only those systems may see many failures in maintaining customers’ expectations when issues with the back-office systems cause delays, mistakes, and other undesirable outcomes.
Each organisation will have their own solution options, priorities, budget drivers, and other considerations when determining how to improve customer experience. That’s why the additional practices which complement the improvement of customer experience are very important. They will help to provide a better understanding of the current customer interactions, develop a strategy to guide decision making, and establish methods to ensure that technology changes are complemented by the organisational changes to embed and continually evolve how the workforce delivers on customer experience outcomes.
As these practices are used when delivering many other types of solutions, such as Digital Transformation and Intelligent Automation, we describe them as being Shared Practices.
Journey mapping is a collaborative tool to gain a better shared understanding of how different customer personas interact with an organisation across either a linked set of interactions or a broader relationship timeline. It also helps you to understand their challenges and emotions along the way, and it’s also especially useful as input to broader process maps that span multiple departments and systems.
Journey maps provide the understanding needed to design a better experience and to evaluate the different options that may be available. They can pinpoint many of the bottlenecks and barriers within the organisation that need to be removed, as well as highlighting any gaps that need be addressed.
Human-centred design (HCD) is a design framework that focuses on the human first, in particular meeting the specific needs of people through creative problem solving and measuring changes in behaviour. It is the foundation of customer experience as well as user experience (UX) and service experience (SX). Understanding and emphasizing with the perspective of the intended audience is a major focus, as is considering a range of different people in the audience beyond the most obvious.
The primary objective of HCD is to design and create solutions that people will want to use because they are intuitive, natural, and easy to understand. Depending on the situation, the benefits to those people may include better accessibility, efficiency, comfort, or engagement. These could also flow into organisational benefits such as improved productivity, greater growth, or reduced support and training costs.
HCD can be applied across the entire range of customer experience initiatives and for that reason may not be considered an initiative in its own right. Conversely, applying the HCD framework and principles to solve or improve a specific set of scenarios could be considered a CX initiative for the organisation. Given that many of the other frameworks and models used in IT are focused on systems and processes, using HCD as an additional approach can contribute to a broader and more complete view of a solution.
Customer experience and relationship management software can provide organisations with a more complete view of their customers through the improved management and collection of customer data. From early awareness and purchasing research through to post-purchase support and repeat buying, customer data capabilities can provide better insight into customer behaviour, emotions, and intent.
With an increasing focus on consumer rights and more frequent occurrence of cybersecurity breaches, organisations also need to be more transparent and mindful of how they manage and use customer data and personal information. Customers are becoming increasingly more selective in who they want to share data with, and losing a customer’s trust can severely undermine any attempt to improve CX. Communicating to customers how they will benefit from sharing their data and effectively managing their ongoing consent will be essential to organisations that want increased visibility across each customer’s entire journey.
To better understand and support customer journeys as full experiences, and not just smaller disconnected interactions, also requires an effective and seamless transfer of data from a combination of systems and departments. Gaps in the customer journey make it harder to implement effective exception management and leave the organisation being reactive to problems after they are raised. Lags in combining and consolidating data, such as only using the traditional end-of-month reporting approach, can prevent the organisation from gaining real time insights and taking timely responses.
Customer experience is much broader than customer service and every department has an important contribution to make. However, as part of a broader approach to CX, reviewing how customers are supported during and after their primary interactions is an obvious area for potential improvement. In particular it’s worth considering how well the core customer systems are integrated and sharing relevant data. Knowing that the CRM and Service Desk solutions function well together is a good starting point in providing a more complete view of any customer and their current priorities.
With better customer data available, solutions can be improved to provide better personalisation and secure self-service features. The suitability of options shown to customers as well as their search results can also be improved based on having the right customer data available.
Beyond using customer data, solution features can also be made more accessible, efficient, and engaging. By applying the frameworks like human centred design and learning from the results of customer journey mapping and similar research, solutions can be developed that better meet the needs of customers and their ideal customer experience.
It’s also important to consider how systems that are not customer-facing or focused on customer data contribute to overall customer experience. If an organisation improves only their customer facing platforms, they may fail to meet the promises they make to their customers through issues in purchasing, distribution, payments, or other supporting functions. The orchestration of how processes and data traverse all the systems in the organisation and its partners is an important understanding for improved CX.
Collecting and managing customer data has been covered above, but this data also provides the foundation to support improved analytics and automation in supporting customer experience outcomes.
Analytics can improve the organisation’s ability to gain customer insights, by making it faster and easier to monitor and analyse the real time collection of large customer data volumes. Predictions about customer value and the satisfaction of their needs can also be made as input into further ongoing customer experience improvements.
Automation and AI can assist in streamlining tasks that have predictable triggers, interpretation rules, and outcomes. Customers can receive faster responses to known issues and requests, the workforce can redirect their effort into less repetitive activities, and all parties can benefit from quicker identification and notification of issues.
The team from Diversus bring their experience and expertise from helping many other organisations pursue a wide range of different customer experience initiatives. Our clients have been able to offer more personalised options, attract more customers, more effectively differentiate their organisation, and improve their overall business performance.