Most companies have adopted the language of customer experience by now. But often there is little thought to what’s driving the customer experience. Whether you have a clear strategy or if you’ve never really built one, now may be the time to re-evaluate and possibly reinvent your customer experience. Here are five things you can do to drive a positive experience.
1. Reconnect with corporate strategy and goals.
What is your company’s mission and vision? Are they clearly articulated? Who are your customers today, and do they differ from target customers in the future? Has your customer population changed in the past several years? For example, mobile phone providers are dealing with a more diverse customer base as older demographics adopt the technology. Revisiting the customer experience ensures that all users are served appropriately. What does the competitive landscape look like for your company? Has it changed recently and should your customer experience change accordingly?
2. Understand what your customers experience today.
Here’s where you step into your customers’ shoes and engage with your company through all the methods and channels that they use. Develop customer experience journeys, map out what steps customers take to accomplish common tasks. Analyze channel usage to understand customer preferences, most used applications, where users stumble, and task completion rates. This data can provide a baseline for any improvements you make. Also look at consistency across channels – are the look and feel, the language, and common transactions similar across channels? Gather all voice of the customer feedback and surveys to understand key elements of the customer experience. Spend some time observing interactions in your contact center. If you don’t have a budget for customer research, pull together a group of contact center agents to discuss what they hear from customers and how they would change the customer experience.
3. Map customer lifecycles and key moments of truth.
If you haven’t created customer lifecycle maps that identify key moments of truth, start now. At what points in your customers’ lifecycle do they reach out to you – is it for help or to complain? Clearly articulate how you deal with these moments of truth for all channels. Anticipate customer contacts and design proactive methods for reaching out to them.
4. Evaluate channels and identify opportunities.
With the wealth of channels customers have available, it’s critical that we create a common customer experience regardless of channel. It’s also important that the channels we promote reflect corporate goals. For example, if you manufacture very complex medical equipment, a sophisticated website can demo the features of your products to prospects with 3-D views, videos, and wizards that check compatibility with other products. And you’ll need very knowledgeable agents (with great knowledge tools) to handle very technical, or medical questions. You may have experts on Facebook (News - Alert) or LinkedIn, or expert user group forums for your customers. or customerse our goals ar areomprehensive self-servicevider, On the other hand, if your goal is to be a low cost provider, your focus will be on creating comprehensive and easy to use self-service.
5. Create measures of success that reflect your strategy.
A critical part of putting together any strategy is establishing measures of success. Focus on your goals at a high level and then drill down to the details. Make sure to orient them toward business results, not traditional contact center metrics (though you’ll still need these). Your measures of success are derived from your strategic goals – so measures for a company that focuses on customer intimacy may include increased wallet share, lifetime value, or willingness to recommend. Make sure that measures are important to your customers, understood by your CEO, and that they drive real business results.
Elaine Cascio is a vice president at consulting firm Vanguard Communications Corp. (www.vanguard.net).
Elaine Cascio is a vice president at Vanguard Communications Corp. (www.vanguard.net), a consulting firm specializing in customer experience, self service, contact center processes, operations and technology.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi