The first step to improving customer experience is getting a CX program started. Before you can take that step, you need to understand what your customers currently think, how you want them to perceive you and what other goals you have. Learn more about starting CX management as successfully as possible with our helpful tips and resources.
How to Start a Customer Experience Program
As you look into your company’s performance reports, you can’t help but notice areas that need improvement. Sales aren’t hitting projections, and the people who have been using your product have been less satisfied than you would like. Your call center has been busy and negative reviews have been popping up online. It’s clear to you that your company is not clicking with customers. The good news is, you know how you can fix these issues, at least in a broad strategic sense.
You know you need customer experience (CX), but now what? Where do you start? Should you hire a customer experience professional? Should you start surveying and figure it out on the run? You’ll find that as you begin a dedicated CX program, questions like these continually arise. Answering them is all part of the process of building a company culture that prizes the customer above all else.
Getting started with customer experience management (CXM or CEM) doesn’t have to be difficult. The important thing to remember is that you are on a journey to a deeper relationship with your customers. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Not all departments are going to care about the customer like you do. Culture change takes motivation and change management.
One way to start is with the departments most likely to see the value in CX—the ones that interact most frequently with the customers. From there you can gradually build your customer experience management strategy. But there are countless other ways you could go about it. Which path is right for you depends on the reasons why you want improved CX management.
Understand Your Motivation
Why do you want a customer experience program? Have you heard about how companies who invest in customer experience have better sales year over year? Maybe you read the research from Forrester that states “improving CX by one point can drive more than 1 billion dollars in revenue” depending on industry and company size among other factors.
Ultimately, increased revenue is every company’s objective. What other reasons does your company have to improve customer experience? Is it to retain customers or generate sales through repeat business? When you have an answer, determine what metrics define success? How much of an improvement are you hoping to see? How fast? Having a pre-defined goal helps you measure success and adapt along the way.
Understand the Difference Between CX and Customer Service
Customer service is one stop on the CX journey. It occurs at a single point in time. Customer experience is the combination of every customer touchpoint. Because they’re interconnected, each informs the other. Customer service is your response to a customer’s previous interaction. Customer experience is something you approach proactively. Amazing customer service goes a long way to building a better customer experience. It’s only one of many factors though.
Understand the Current Condition of your Customer Experience
Start to understand how customers see your brand and the experiences they are currently having. Some of the best ways to capture concrete data are traditional research methods like focus groups and surveys. They allow you to go straight to the source.
Create a customer survey to understand their journey with your organization. Surveys can help identify where touchpoints are, which touchpoints are the most critical and where there might be friction. Any roadblocks or speed bumps can then be prioritized.
To further extend your feedback loop, conduct customer interviews. The answers you get will help you understand and validate the feedback you heard in your survey. The more information you get the better. People tend to elaborate more on their answers in verbal interviews. Compared to checking boxes on a survey, these open-ended answers can be a treasure trove actionable learnings.
Your customers aren’t the only group with great answers. You have an incredible source of valuable feedback within your own walls. Conduct employee interviews to get their perspective on where the customer sees the brand, and what they see as needs. They have the advantage of knowing your brand, your goals and how you want to be perceived. They can spot areas where you’re falling short.
Employees see the customer in action and can report back about opportunities. You can even review customer service logs. The records will give you an idea of what problems customers have had, how your team solves them and if a better solution should be sought.
Modern technology also gives us a slew of methods. Smaller companies can examine social media posts manually. Companies of all sizes can use social listening platforms to gauge sentiment. Online reviews are the digital form of open-ended responses and can help your search rankings too.
How to Translate the Data
Gathering feedback in all its forms is only a starting point. All of that rich information is wasted if you’re not able to properly mine it. So what do you do with all of that data? The first step is to go through it with a fine-tooth comb with an eye for recurring themes. Once a few patterns have been identified, you can prioritize the most urgent issues to address. But to wring the maximum amount of learnings from your data, you can lean on the help of CX experts—like Brilliant Workplaces—who can translate your data into the insights that matter most and identify the root causes of CX roadblocks. However you go about making sense of your data, keep in mind that it only represents a moment in time. The process of gathering and translating it is ongoing. Make sure you implement a process that you can repeat.
Listen to Your Customers and See CX Improve
Where you start isn’t nearly as important as where you end up. The most well-planned CX initiatives will be fruitless if you don’t take what you learn from the customer and use it to improve. You can’t only gather information. You need to make step-by-step adjustments day after day. A constant loop of feedback intake and customer-focused output is how you create better and better customer experiences.
Like running marathon, it’s something you have to build towards. Having experts running alongside will keep you on the best course for your company.
Brilliant Workplaces has a team of experts that ready to get your Customer Experience Program started. Contact us for a free 30 minute assessment. We're ready to take your business from good to brilliant!
The Complete Guide to Getting Started
This workbook is for anyone who wants to start making the customer and service the center of their work.
If you are a department manager, store manager or operational executive, this workbook is designed to enable those who want to take the first steps to change their culture and be more focused on customer needs.
Photo by: Mika Baumeister