3 Critical elements of a successful CX strategy

While research reflects that 75% of businesses admit that CX is important, less than half of those have achieved success in the CX arena. Is this because translating customer experience into bottom line profits takes time, or is it because companies are yet to clearly define and implement their CX strategies effectively?

True, customer experience requires a long-term vision, rather than a focus on short-term profits. Market leaders in customer experience, such as Amazon, have proved this. But is there something more that contributes to CX success? Let’s look at some trends shaping the customer experience in 2018:

The question of time and value

For years, companies focused on efficiency, theorising that if they saved customers time and effort, they’d have their loyalty. However, a good customer experience goes beyond this to understanding what’s most important to individual customers.

Personalisation is a big driver in customer experience and one cannot assume that people in the same demographic always want the same thing. So how do you know what your customers value most?  Dig into the existing customer data that has already been captured. Use that information to build customised experiences, and keep adding to the customer database so that the information is always up to date.

Today people are bombarded with an abundance of marketing messages, so connecting with customers requires a touch that is personalised and offers information that is relevant to them. As much as it’s valuable to know what customers want, it’s as important to know what they hate – repetition, waiting, having to sift through irrelevant information to find what they need. Keeping these elements in mind when developing a CX strategy will help keep you on the positive side with customers.

Embracing the digital and virtual

Part of what has ushered in the customer experience revolution is companies using digital technology to offer customers something more – a better experience than they would get in a store, added benefits, or specific information accessible as and when they need it. While some aspects of retail can’t be matched by online experiences, such as trying on clothes or smelling different perfumes, with virtual reality they can come pretty close.

Already, car manufacturers are using video calling and virtual reality apps to give customers the experience of what it would be like to drive their dream car. And customers are loving it, buying cars online without having ever seen or physically driven them. The same goes for home décor styling where a photograph of a space can be uploaded, and then augmented reality provides ranges of choices of what the space could look like according to various décor themes.

Digital technology is providing brands with an avenue to communicate with customers directly on a channel of their choosing. The more brands leverage this with the customer experience in mind and a focus on adding value, the more chance they have of winning over customers.

CEOs as CX champions

Customer experience is not only a long-term business strategy; it is also a holistic one that requires a buy-in from everyone in the organisation, from the CEO down to the receptionist. It’s also not enough to simply have the CEO’s support – everyone needs to be championing the cause.

While CEOs steer the direction of the business, they are also focused on reporting on profits and keeping shareholders happy. When CX investments don’t yield a short-term return (as they seldom do because they require a longer term to produce results), there will be a temptation to set CX strategies aside and focus on other avenues of profitability. However, customer experience has proven to be at the core of sustainable business growth. When shareholders are in doubt, it will take a strong CEO who believes in the long-term value of CX to stay the course.

CEOs, who are actively involved in listening to feedback from both customers and employees, will have more insights into how to improve business processes, organisational structures and company culture – which ultimately drive bottom line profits.

If innovation and creative problem solving is encouraged from the top and employees are given a voice, that’s when organisations flourish. Employees take their lead and align their values to those of the company’s leadership. A CX culture is embedded when everyone in the organisation becomes a customer champion, working to deliver on customer expectations rather than simply doing a job to earn a salary.

The take-home is that while leveraging the benefits of digital technology at the heart of CX, it’s important to retain the human touch element. Virtual reality and self-service channels have an important role to play, but humans are what can make the most difference to the customer experience.