Customer expectations and needs are continuously evolving, with organisations often on the back foot to keep pace. It has never been more critical to understand your customers and proactively meet demands. According to research by PWC 73% of customers agree customer experience drives their buying decision. But what does it mean to offer a best in class customer experience and how can you action this within your organisation? Inspired by sharing insights amongst our team and reflecting on our clients’ successes, we’ve listed our key customer experience principles below.
Learn from your customers
Conduct research such as interviews, surveys or user observations – consider what your customers do, rather than what they say they want. Finding relevant participants can be a challenge. To address this, some organisations have customer research groups or panels. They can then help when you look to trial new ideas or approaches. This process can be further supported by collecting and acting on customer feedback.
Track your progress with measurable results and KPIs
Think first about your goals or vision of customer experience in the future, then work back to define actionable metrics that will help your organisation achieve those goals. Actionable metrics provide insights to inform decisions, for example, conversion rate, customer lifetime value, new vs. returning customers, return of investment, etc. Set aside time to regularly review your results, gather feedback from customers and consider options for improvement.
Customer experience is an ongoing challenge that needs a proactive approach to be successful. When looking for new ideas, look at best-in-class examples as well as your competitors. Be on the lookout for potential issues; consider what’s working and areas to be improved. Create a dedicated team responsible for customer experience design. This can help the organisation identify challenges, adapt quickly and be responsive to changing customer behaviors or expectations.
Personalise the experience
Tailoring your offer and approach based on what you know about your customers can give your organisation an edge when engaging and converting new and existing customers. Examples include: providing similar product suggestions, ‘You may also like…’, tailoring email communications based on the products or services purchased or even sending offers on a customer’s birthday.
Make use of established tools and frameworks
There are plenty of examples of outstanding customer experiences,
many of which are based on freely available tools and frameworks. Learn from the best-in-class and consider how you may be able to benefit from using tools like the Jobs to be Done (JTBD) framework.
Make CX a priority for your organisation
Customer-centricity is key to delivering outstanding experiences. If the customer is not at the forefront of decision-making across the organisation then the likelihood of success is reduced. Sharing the principles and success stories of customer experience design can help get other teams on board with CX. Customer personas are a key tool in ensuring decision-making is focused on your customers’ needs and motivations.
Use technology to your advantage
From chatbots and CRMs to micro surveys and heat mapping – there are many flavours of customer engagement tools that can help you drive customer loyalty and uncover insights to share across your organisation. Speed, convenience, knowledgeable help and friendly service are the most important elements of a positive customer experience – prioritise technologies that support these areas.
Be careful with automation
You may want to consider automating processes to reduce friction and improve the overall experience. But before automating anything, it is important to recognise the benefits of human interactions with customers. Whether the long-term impact of automation is positive or negative for businesses will mostly be guided by the emotional intelligence with which it’s applied – something the algorithms can’t help with (yet!).
Define your onboarding and support processes
Processes are key to delivering consistent experiences. There are many methods and tools available including service blueprints and journey mapping. Onboarding and support are the two key processes to start with. When mapping these processes it’s important to gather input from across relevant teams. Consider what training may be needed to empower employees, how you’ll monitor feedback and results, and whether a CRM tool, such as Salesforce or HubSpot, might help.
Need assistance with your customer experience?
We’ve created a must-read guide for anyone interested in improving their customer experience. The recommendations and insights are based on our research and experience working with organisations such as Google, Design Museum and Virgin Media. You can download the guide, free, below.
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