The proof is in the pudding: How to navigate to CX excellence
What makes the customer experience (CX) at some businesses better than others, you might ask? The answer is an intimate understanding of customers as individuals rather than a collective.
The customer experience is how the customer feels toward your brand at every stage of their customer journey. Every interaction with your organisation presents the opportunity to improve or hinder that emotional connection. For this reason, understanding and improving on any feelings that your customers have should be a constant focus for any organisation.
Investing in analytics is key to customer engagement
The most efficient way to improve the customer experience is through investing in analytical technology. Freshwork's research, The New CX Mandate 2020, says that 79% of global customer service leaders are investing 31% more in measurement and analytics. Companies are reported to be investing more heavily in consumer data platforms that automate data collection, analytics, decisioning engines and real-time contextual communications.
Further, the research also found that 38% of respondents confirmed that cloud-hosted customer service software, such as SAS cloud services, is critically important for maintaining customer experience.
In saying this, investments in analytics alone will not provide the necessary return in terms of improved customer experience. To deliver this, it is essential business investments are part of an overall strategy. This means a solid understanding of how the tools will be used – and a real appetite for their use across the company.
Technology alone does not make a CX champion
On a similar note, there is no purpose in committing to random acts of technology. To begin obtaining CX excellence, organisations need to invest in technology wisely. Businesses need a genuine understanding of the technology itself, how it will be used, and its rollout within the company for correct and effective use.
Each new piece of technology must be part of a clear and consistent strategy and tech stack. Tools and technologies are only enablers of change. Creating value from investments needs a proper strategy based on understanding individual customers and designing the customer experience around their needs.
Positioning CX as an enterprise-level strategy takes effort
It must be seen as a whole-enterprise effort – which means integrating the technology into the organisation's culture. There's no benefit in only handing the responsibility to one or two people per team. There is a need for enterprise-level goals and KPIs to be put in place. Having these will spread awareness and interest through the organisation. Ideally, CX should align with the overall business strategy, which includes the strategy for digital transformation. This involves the CEO being just as focused on improving the customer experience as the rest of the team, equally driving improvement throughout the organisation.
Teamwork makes the dream work: CX champions have pointed leadership approaches
There are some significant differences in leadership style and approach between CX champions and other businesses. CX champions value skills associated with distributed leadership, especially "soft skills" such as communication. This contrasts with followers and laggards in the CX space, who tend to value "tougher" skills, such as decisiveness.
The environment is also more empowering for CX champions. In practice, you might see flatter hierarchical structures, especially in customer-facing departments. This can improve accountability for customer experience, as well as increase empowerment of front-line employees. Overall, the responsibility for customer experience is spread across the organisation. It is reflected in every aspect of the business, and everyone takes responsibility for it.
Improving customer experience has a ripple effect
There is likely to be a high level of correlation between being a CX champion and being proactive and innovative in other areas of business. There is no question that CX champions are leaders, not followers – and not afraid to disrupt business. When you couple this with customer-centricity, you have a real recipe for success. An innovative, customer-centred culture is the key.