Customer experience (CX) shapes loyalty, profitability, and ultimately, a company’s long-term success. But what does CX look like within your organization today? Who has defined it?
Multiple studies – of consumers as well as marketing leaders – confirm that CX is no passing phase. It’s here to stay and growing exponentially in its importance to brand survival. According to a recent Garner Customer Experience survey of marketing leaders responsible for CX, fully 81% of companies will be competing mostly or entirely on a CX basis by 2020.
Here are 5 of the worst (but surprisingly common) customer experience mistakes to avoid:
Why you need a Vision Story and a Value Story
The best sales people and the best content marketers are often great storytellers. They have the ability to craft compelling narratives that persuade their potential customers to want to buy.
But can the same story architecture work at both the macro (market-wide vision) and micro (specific customer value) level? The two story types clearly need to be related but my experience suggests that there are some important differences…
Your vision story is a consistently-communicated message that is intended to resonate with your target audience, and to articulate how your approach to solving that market’s most common challenges sets you apart from their other options. It is intended to attract suitable prospects, and to make them want to engage with you.
Your value story, on the other hand, needs to be tailored to the particular circumstances of specific prospects, and can only be effectively told after you have undertaken one or a series of discovery and validation conversations. It is intended to confirm how you intend to deliver specifically relevant value to them via your solution.
Let’s look at the structure of these two story types:
1. Making CX a Lower Level Responsibility
Who owns responsibility for driving and sustaining superior CX? If you’re tempted to say, “everyone,” you’re right – in a way – because sure, every employee’s actions does impact the way your customers experience your brand. Collaboration across the organization is critical to making CX initiatives successful.
But to paraphrase the old saying: when everyone owns responsibility, no one does. Increasingly, marketing leaders are recognizing that simply adding CX responsibility to their portfolio isn’t enough to keep up with consumer demand and win the CX battle. In the Gartner study, more companies who do plan to be competing on CX are creating CXO (Chief Experience Officer) roles and having them report directly to the CEO or COO.
2. Failing to Set ROI Targets for CX Goals
If your CX strategic plan is chock full of feel-good goals that can only be measured anecdotally, you’re probably struggling to get sufficient funding or senior executive support for the CX vision. If you want investment, you need a budget. And if you want that budget funded, you need be able to articulate the strategy, processes, and technology funding required – and the ROI you expect to deliver.
3. Excluding Customer Input
Ironic, right? If you’re committed to improving customer experience, you should probably listen to what they want, what’s working for them and what isn’t. But you can’t do that if you don’t have useful mechanism for generating that input, capturing it, interpreting it, and acting on it. Often, this is where CX initiatives fall down. It’s no longer enough to conduct back-end analysis after customers stop buying or leave altogether. Surveying is a critical part of gathering feedback input. In addition, growing numbers of organizations are investing in more comprehensive Voice of the Customer (VoC) programming, designed to gather in-depth data to drive CX initiatives. Even if your budget isn’t yet robust enough to launch VoC, check out the concept online to see how it’s being applied across industries.
4. Undervaluing the Role of Your Employees
Your marketing team might have loads of data and analysis to share about customer behaviors, feedback, and profitability. But don’t forget to layer in the observations, perspectives, and anecdotal feedback of your customer care team. They’re your front line intelligence gatherers and the source of innovative ideas on product development and process improvement. If asked, they can share priceless information about what customers love, hate, want and need.
Customer experience is also closely correlated to employee experience. Unhappy employees are often less productive, turn in lower work quality, and negatively affect the morale of the entire team. More significantly, when they’re not happy, it’s virtually impossible for them to make your customers happy. Ignore them at the risk of your CX initiative.
5. Getting Caught in the Complacency Trap
When sales are steady, it might seem harder to justify a more comprehensive CX strategy. But you’re operating in an age of rapidly changing technology, ever-shifting wants and whims of the marketplace, and competitive disruptors wooing your customers at every turn. Your sales numbers are lagging measures of customer satisfaction. By the time the numbers have dipped, those customers have left and will be harder to re-earn than they would have been to keep.
Your CX strategy is the key to building greater customer loyalty and more profitable customer relationships. If you’ve been making some of these common mistakes, it’s time to start investing in change.
by Bobby Matthews
Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing
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