Why? Because providing satisfying customer experiences has a real impact on the bottom line:
- Forrester estimates that improved experiences can drive from $46M to $1.7B in increased revenues, depending on the industry.
- Bruce Temkin conducted a survey that showed that experience leaders exceeded laggards by roughly 15% in terms of their customers’ willingness to buy more, reduced likelihood to switch, and likelihood to recommend.
- Aveus conducted a research study and found that “organizations that have a well-understood definition of customer experience are twice as likely to beat their profit targets than those who do not.”
Results like these get noticed, and more and more clients are asking about for digital tools that provide “an ideal digital customer experience.” However, few fully understand what it takes to develop, deliver and continually optimize one digital channel (i.e., web), let alone a collection of interconnected channels (web + mobile + social + email). They also don’t always know where to start; for example, customer experience management should ideally focus on improving each and every customer touchpoint and interaction. Most businesses, however, simply don’t have the time and resources needed to make a wholesale change to the way they interact with customers via their marketing, sales, and customer service systems.
So the real questions are:
- Where is the best place to start developing and maturing your experience management capabilities?
- How do you develop a realistic roadmap forward for developing and maturing the technology, people and processes needed to execute and optimize an integrated multichannel customer experience that delivers business results?
Having spent a number of years as both a company executive and consultant, I’ve been on both the strategy development and implementation sides of the equation, and I know that the answer to each of these questions will be uniquely different every each company or organization. That said, in my experience, the process of determining where to start – and the roadmap forward – are similar no matter what the size or complexity of of a business. In the coming days, I’ll be working to develop each of these steps in detail in separate blog posts. For now, here are the basic steps as I have seen them play out time and time again:
As the tag on this blog implies, “the customer is always right”. Any committed effort to develop and expand customer experience capabilities starts with understanding what your customers value, both subjectively and objectively, about your brand, company, products and services.
Step 2: Align Business and Brand Objectives with What Customers Value
This is perhaps the most critical step as well as the most difficult, particularly if what your customers value about your brand, company, products and services is significantly at odds with a company’s stated business and brand objectives. It takes real courage for a company to confront and take steps to close significant gaps between what customers value and what the company is currently providing, but the rewards for realigning are significant.
Step 3: Develop Ideal Customer Journey Maps
Once the challenging work of alignment is completed, it’s time to map out what an ideal customer journey might be for your audiences, such as prospects, returning customers with intent to purchase, returning customers in need of service and support, etc. This is trickier than it sounds, as search, social media, and online peer communities have radically altered the way that consumers seek out information about a potential purchase; the moment of truth has moved out of a physical location, such as a store or car dealership, and the sales process in many cases may never involve a salesperson.
Step 3: Map Current Customer Journeys By Key Audience
Another sometimes difficult but often very enlightening step is mapping the actual customer journeys that each of your key audiences take now. More often than not, companies find that customers are gathering information and interacting with their brand, company, products and services in more varied and nonlinear ways than they predicted.
Step 4: Identify Gaps Between Current Journey and Ideal Journey
Nothing magical here; put the ideal journeys side-by-side with the actual journeys, and identify the gaps.
Step 5: Develop Prioritized Roadmap for Closing Gaps
Not all gaps are created equal; evaluate which gaps when closed will return the best results the fastest, and start there. Note that “best results” in this context does not necessarily mean “highest revenue potential in the short term”; the quality of the customer experience must be balanced against the revenue potential to ensure that what might drive short term profits does not end up alienating or offending a customer in the longer term.
Step 6: Develop ROI and/or VOI of Roadmap Implementation
Closely examine your highest priority gaps; are there existing metrics or key performance indicators that would improve if the gaps were successfully closed? For example, if your journey map shows that many existing customers are sidestepping self help on the web site because of poor web design, what would the value be of a web redesign that reduces customer support call center calls by 15%?
Step 7: Develop a Roadmap for Closing the Gaps and Creating High-Value Customer Experiences
Develop a roadmap that includes the people, processes and technology needed across time to close the the gaps and create the kinds of experiences that have the most meaning and value to your customers.
The above is easy to write about, but in reality much harder to do. That’s why in the coming weeks and months I’ll be writing posts about each step complete with best practices, lessons learned, and practical advice for starting and completing that particular step.
Lastly, I’ll touch on a some other areas that need to be considered, such as Culture & Leadership support, Marketing Maturity Level and Integration & Collaboration (the trinity of the CMO, CIO and CXO).
More to come; meantime, I welcome your comments.
- Customers First : The Role of UX in Interactive Customer Experience Management (cxmgmt.wordpress.com)