By Scott Davis, Aptum
Positive customer experience (CX) is a critical element to a company’s success. The holistic perception of a brand plays a key role in attracting and retaining customers. Regardless of the industry, company’s history, or strength of relationships, there is always room for businesses to enhance their customer experience program.
The first step to ensuring customers have a favorable experience with your business is understanding all of the elements in the customer journey. This is a series of touchpoints, starting from the very first interaction and continuing through the duration of their relationship with the business. CX is a combination of the messages shared in the market and any direct communications with customers.
Understanding CX requires leadership and a clearly defined strategy that monitors the entire customer journey – from start to finish. An important element that is commonly overlooked is after a customer decides to leave. How you handle a customer’s departure is just as important as the strategies used to engage them. If their experience ending their direct relationship with your business is pleasant and professional, it presents opportunities for re-engagement or referrals in the future.
Improving CX Along The Way
Because CX is an ongoing program that requires constant attention, it’s important to invest in improving and evolving your customer experience program. To do so, you need to understand what your company strives to deliver and achieve. Common goals include growth, retention, high Net Promoter Score (NPS), and more. My approach to improving CX is to start by defining KPIs and setting expectations built on those metrics.
To build a seamless CX and create a foundation for success, the expectations you have between your shareholders, customers and employees must be aligned. If any of those elements are out of sync, it creates a ripple effect that negatively impacts the overall experience. It’s critical to set the right expectations, proper measurements and have tracking in place to determine missteps. Pushing issues aside instead of addressing them quickly and effectively is not a viable solution.
Rules Of Thumb For Creating A Powerful CX
If you put the right plan in place and stick to your goals, you can create an impactful experience for your customers. Here are a few general rules of thumb that will help you engage with customers successfully:
- Be accessible. Your customers should know exactly how and when they can reach you at any point in time and for any reason.
- Be resourceful. Customers don’t want to call a company for help, only to be met with uncertainty or partial solutions. Do what you can to ensure that all customer-facing team members are knowledgeable about your products and services to be able to help customers efficiently and effectively.
- Be proactive. Find ways to engage your customers and let them know what problems could potentially arise before they find out for themselves.
Leveraging only singular touchpoints is not effective for developing a comprehensive CX strategy. Changing your viewpoint to expand each interaction into a total customer journey and ensuring your teams are on the same page is key to managing successful, long-term customer relationships.
About The Author
Scott Davis is VP Customer Experience at Aptum.