Customer Experience Sucks…

…Is a very dangerous statement to make when you work for a CX consulting and research company. But the reality is that companies everywhere are still struggling with the fundamentals of developing and executing a solid CX strategy and based on conversations I’ve had with CX professionals, I can understand their frustration. But it’s not their fault — not entirely.

Let’s embrace the fact that more companies are working on CX and making it a priority and in the process making it better. As an example, earlier this year I helped organise a CX Journey Mapping workshop led by our own Steve Nuttall. In the session were, among others, representatives from a prominent men’s fashion line who admitted that they were working against the clock to get their channels organised and bring CX to the forefront of their business. They admitted that their competitors are beginning to quickly pull away as they invest in cloud services and with Amazon coming to Australia, it seems clear to their team that the idea of waiting or dawdling will surely only lead to misery on the bottom line. The point that I’m trying to make is simply, CX is an unending journey and one that you don’t have to do alone but a journey that requires planning.

Therefore, failing to plan is a low effort way of planning to fail. It tends to be the organisations that find CX to be a time waster are the same ones that have a poor Net Promoter Score (NPS), have disjointed social accounts fraught with complaints and maybe just maybe a CEO that plays way too much golf — listen to Malcolm Gladwell’s recent Revisionist History podcast, A Good Walk Spoiled (S.2 Ep.1) — where he presents some compelling arguments backed with some damning proof that hands-off CEOs tend to run organisations that underperform.

Moving from a culture of service to a culture of CX requires careful planning.

Customer experience is not just about providing a superior level of service on the phone or in-store, it’s not about providing a mobile app, it’s not about automated emails, it’s not about personalised content — it’s about all of these and more, working together to provide a seamless, total brand experience.

Also consider reading… Journey Mapping And Its Place In Your Business.

Touchpoint One

In a recent article published on KPMG’s blog titled, How Important is the First Touchpoint in the Customer Journey, David Conway, presents the importance of the first impression and ‘confirmation bias’ in the customer journey — in other words and to put very simply, setting the bar for the next visit. But in today’s highly competitive digital world, there are so many opportunities to lose customers along every touchpoint — even among those businesses that boast a great NPS. When it comes to your brand’s representation on social, and the continued development and use of social channels means that trying to counter what’s being said about your product or service is a great challenge. Employing Artificial Intelligence (AI) is one solution. AI can continuously monitor social channels and respond quickly to complaints and offer solutions to customers. This type of solution is now a reality being offered by companies like Pega. But the risk of churn still looms.

According to research by LogMeIn released late last year (2016) and presented in a co-hosted webinar titled New Findings Into CX in ANZ, 9 out of 10 customers leave after one bad experience. And with more and more people turning to mobile for support, 83% of customers making mobile their first channel of choice, the stakes are high to get things right along all touchpoints.

Creating confirmation bias and reinforcement means that, from the customer’s perspective, every touchpoint had better offer the same level of attention to service and consistent branding that all the others do. Whether you’re in-store, on your PC or smartphone, talking to an agent or having a chat with an intelligent assistant — it all has to feel the same.

Getting IT Right

In order to succeed in delivering even a mediocre level of customer experience, means understanding your customer, who they are, the journey they’re on, the problem they’re trying to solve and how the solution(s) you’re providing fit, how they’re feeling along the way, and where they get stuck. The journey map, personas and the empathy map are all your friends. Once you get inside your customer’s head and walk in their shoes, CX won’t feel quite so sucky. The proof is on the bottom line. And maybe just maybe, in that mediocrity you’ll find an omni-channel to be reckoned with!

Written by Brad Arsenault

Brad is the Head of Marketing at Fifth Quadrant. He actively publishes content on the Fifth Quadrant blog, LinkedIn and Medium. To learn more about refining your Customer Experience Strategy visit: www.fifthquadrant.com.au