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One of the 8 dimensions which we consider key in terms of digital readiness is the area of customer experience. Let’s dive into this realm in more detail and understand what organisations must practically do, if they’re to become digitally ready. .
Customer experience (CX) is most certainly one of the biggest priorities for company heads. Research giant Forrester tracked thousands of companies between 2010 and 2015 and compared efforts made at enhancing customer experience, with bottom line business results. Having stripped away the effects of mergers/acquisitions, sale of assets, and other non-CX related activities, they found an overriding link between CX and business performance:
CX leaders averaged 17% CAGR over the 6-year period, compared with just 3% for those categorised as ‘CX laggards’. In some sectors, the differences were even starker*.
The smart application of digital principles and technologies is one of the most powerful ways you can enhance customer experience. In fact, the primary reason behind every system enhancement, new service, or IT project, should always be to create the best possible experience for one’s customers.
But just how do you work towards positioning your customer at the centre of everything?
Step 1: Use digital innovations to scale
Your customers may well receive largely decent experiences, and your business may be ticking over. But you’re managing it with ad-hoc, manual processes, and this simply isn’t sustainable. You can use digital innovations to scale and improve these experiences, enabling you to serve more customers with the same investment and effort.
Leverage the likes of email automation, CRM tools, basic self-service portals, to manage customer experience as a more structured practice.
As you build your self-service capabilities, start with the basics (such as allowing users to update their profile information or submit web-based customer queries). Over time, you can enrich the number of features and grow in sophistication.
To start to advance customer experience, you must show customers that you’re happy to engage on the channel of their choice (rather than being forced to use the channel of your choice – such as a call centre only, for example).
Step 2: Embed CX into the heart of the organisation
As your CX strategy starts gaining momentum, it may be working well, but as a fairly isolated function. To progress you’ll need to embed CX into the heart of the organisation, technically integrating it into a number of other enterprise systems – such as billing, ticketing, call logging, ERP and CRM systems, and more.
It’s also time to re-evaluate your approach to customer support. Instead of focusing on reducing the cost-to-serve, see every customer interaction as an opportunity to discover more about your users, to understand more about their challenges, and brainstorm how digitalisation could alleviate these challenges.
These insights will inform the way to optimise and refine your CX tools, generating greater loyalty and share-of-wallet, as you move from strength to strength.
Step 3: Put customers at the center of your products and services
Advancing to a state of ‘leadership’ in customer experience is a massive leap. It represents a fundamental shift, from CX and customer support being seen as merely portfolios within the business, to CX being the very essence of the company, its raison d’être.
You can use digital tools to embed feedback and analytics loops wherever possible. Incentivise customers to provide regular feedback on their experiences. Conduct focus groups, validation sessions and A/B testing and beta programmes, among other tactics.
Those firms with the highest levels of CX maturity and leadership have become experts at organically weaving feedback mechanisms into the very experience of the product. Simple prompts invite users to air their views and to essentially co-create the next iteration of the software with you.
Every single user interaction is tracked, fed into advanced analytics engines, and used to further optimise the product or to add new features.
This, perhaps, is the true definition of CX leadership: when customer experience is given absolute priority within the organisation, you’re able to not only listen to your users, but to respond decisively to what they’re saying. Strategies, budgets, projects and roadmaps will be continually re-sculpted, always following the needs of the customer and responding to new customer insights that emerge.
Click here to take the Digital Readiness Assessment to help you understand your businesses’ digital capability and presence. On completion, you will receive a report with the steps to improving your businesses’ digital focus.