Customer Experience Management – Best Practices

In this era where customer loyalty is fickle and competition seems unending, brands are striving to create differentiators to attract and retain customers. When brands are competing on price and product features, surprisingly a recent study by Walker reveals that by 2020 customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator.

A research conducted by SerenaWay also confirms that organizations are waking up to this fact and as many as 40% of the organizations surveyed in India have aligned their focus on customer experience. These organizations are directing investments in projects related to improving customer experience.

This means that if it isn’t on your radar, then it’s time to introspect your customer experience approach to keep up with current customer trends. SerenaWay’s research revealed some best practices to enhance Customer Experience.

Segment your customers

Segmentation by demographics is not a new strategy. But segmentation by customer value, by customer preferences and by target market helps businesses focus on having a positive impact on customer experience. Once the right segmentation is achieved, businesses can focus on aligning or redesigning processes around customer needs of that specific segment.

Also, as not all customers have the same value for the business, segmentation as per value helps in channelizing investments to catering to preferences of the most valuable customers.

Customer segmentation by customer behavior helps in providing meaningful personalized experience and communication.

Map your customer journey and identify touch points

Journey mapping helps businesses in understanding existing pain points which might not be so evident through traditional feedback mechanisms. To gain competitive advantage, customer journey mapping should be undertaken not only to understanding the present customer interactions but also to identify opportunities to innovate when designing the future experiences.

Just creating a journey map is not enough, understanding true customer experience across each touch point in the journey is crucial. Once enough data is gathered and customers true experience understood, finding and removing friction at each touch point enables in avoiding customer churn or abandonment. Friction can be anything from poor design of the store, unfriendly security personnel at the airport, longer query resolution times or as simple as bad coffee in a flight.

Also, customer journey mapping is not a one-off activity and needs to be undertaken periodically to generate loops of actionable insights. Creating journey maps for each customer segments brings in the real value of the mapping exercise.

Listen to your customers

Our research revealed that less than 45% of businesses never proactively reach out to customers for suggestions or feedback. Understanding what your customers truly value is vital in forming your customer experience strategy . You need to know what your customers are saying about your brand, your products and services, your company and your employees.

This information can be obtained by proactively seeking feedback using surveys. The feedback can come from online reviews, social media, survey responses, E-mails, phone calls, and even YouTube comments.

Best practice is to get in touch with the customer without being promotional with a genuine intent of improving their satisfaction. Also, letting customer know how you intend to use the feedback and that their feedback was implemented helps in soliciting feedback without being pesky.

Change your company culture to be more customer-centric

Weaving customer centricity into the culture of your organization at all departments including marketing, sales, service, etc is the key. The first step is to identify and define what customer centricity means and then to communicate it to throughout the organization.

Providing branded training to all employees especially customer servicing employees is a must. Training should focus making the employees understand the brand story and values in a manner which is simple, consistent and differentiated.

Involvement of leadership is vital and leaders should be champions of customer experience.

Align KPIs with customer experience and measure customer experience

Only what gets measured, get managed. Only one number metric like Net Promoter Scores (NPS) is certainly not enough to get the true picture of your customer satisfaction level.

Typical KPIs revolve around customer acquisition, retention, and efficiency of the customer experience. What metric you should use depends on your business and what you value most in customer experience. But the best practice is to align the day-to-day operational metrics in the contact centers and customer-facing departments to that customer experience metric to measure success.

Bring in the human element

A recent global study of more than 24,000 consumers and 1,000 businesses confirms the fact that consumers everywhere highly value the human element in their interactions with businesses.

Striving for the right digital and human balance helps in making the customer experience more fruitful.

Knowing your target audience is crucial and hence the best practice is to understand the customer psychology. The way to understand the psychology is to observe closely multiple customers and their behavior at every touch point across their journey. With these insights, the gateway to design a suitable touch point opens. Every communication with the customer including contact centers must reflect the message of you helping them or being there rather than just about selling.