Delivering an excellent Customer Experience isn't just about having friendly people in your customer care and instructing them to treat the customer as king. Creating great customer experiences is all about strategy. What is the identity of your organization? What experiences do you want your customers to have? How can you transform your organisation into a customer centric one? Through a very thoroughly defined Customer Experience Strategy, because great customer experiences don't happen by accident.
Defining a CX strategy
As with all changes in your organisation, there should be a firm strategy as a starting point to deliver customer centric services. Start with the question, "I am a CEO/VP/Director/Manager at my company, what do we stand for when it comes to Customers? What is our Why? What do we promise, where do we make the difference?" Try and put it into words and you might experience difficulty. That is why customer experience strategy is needed.
When defining your strategy, it is imperative that you know what your company and its brand(s) stand for and how you can give exceptional service.
Your brand experience
Your organisation probably has some idea as to where to plot itself in relation to competitors. Maybe you deliver high end products, but your service is not aligned with that. Or you give your B2B customers a hassle-free service, but your products are not hassle-free. Plot your organisation in your field by asking the question: "How does my company differ from our competitors? That is what your customers will remember, that is where you can make the difference.
When you know what makes your organisation unique, you will need to make that very explicit in what that means for your customer. Use a brand promise, or even stronger: create customer promises. Take this example from Easyjet. As a customer you know what to expect, now it is up to Easyjet to deliver on these promises.
Have a look at the actual experiences of your customers and what you want them to experience. Are they receiving the hassle-free service your company stands for? And how strong is your organisation's brand in the mind of your customers?
Do they have memorable customer experiences, but in a negative way? That means your organisation is de-branded. People are not receiving the service they expect based on your Brand and Customer Promise and they will create a negative buzz around your organisation. When your customer doesn't even remember your brand, they are also not inclined to do more business with you. They don't even know who you are. So, when you are in this non-branded position, you need to make sure that customers link in with their positive feeling about doing business with your brand.
And of course, the best experience you can give your customers is a branded one. In that situation, people have a positive attitude to your brand and organisation and are very much inclined to return to you the next time they are in need of your service. Because delivering memorable experiences is what Customer Experience is all about. How can you organize these branded experiences?
You can read more about the best practise in branding by Yogi tea, including what a branded experience is, at how Yogi Tea stands out by branding.
Make your company branding stand out
Having a strong brand stems from the quintessential question: WHY? The Golden Circle of Simon Sinek is used very often and for a good reason. This methodology helps you to turn to broad brand promises like "we make phones" into "we provide products that make your life organised and pleasurable". If you want to make a brand promise that inspires and entices your customers, you need to answer a specific set of questions:
- Purpose: what do we stand for? What is our Why?
- Strategy: what strategic choices will make this purpose reality?
- Brand Promise: what can we promise our customers based on this purpose?
- Customer Experience: what experience do we want to deliver on this promise?
- Alignment: are the products and services distinctive enough? What skills do our employees need to develop to deliver this experience? And what technology is necessary to be able to deliver it?
Putting your strategy into motion
When you have determined what your company stands for, it is time to take the next steps. First you need to assess your maturity. How far along the road is your company in CX? For example, you can plot your organization in the maturity path of Beyond Philosophy. In the MasterClass, more maturity models are shared.
Based on the outcome of your assessment, you plot which steps are needed right now and which need to be taken in the future to grow CX towards a higher level of CX maturity.
Defining your strategy and determining your brand promise is a very strenuous task and can easily become a too-diluted version of the powerful message you want to bring across. So take this process very seriously. It is often a process of co-creation with Marketing, Communication and Customer Experience departments to define and later share with colleagues to start the daily delivery on the promises.
Want to grow in Customer Experience?
These are only some of the highlights Milou took away from attending the Customer Experience Masterclass. Would you like to know more? Join our next CX Masterclass in February or June 2018, click here for more information or here for reserving your place
Customer Experience Framework and complete list of blog posts in this series
This post is part of a wider series about all the 6 CX discipline we cover in the CX Masterclass and that represent the CXPA Framework around which the CCXP exam is structured.
Find here the complete list of the other posts in this series:
- CX Strategy
- CX Understanding
- CX Design, Improvement and Innovation
- CX Measurement
- CX Governance
- CX Culture
Extra: Role of the CX Pro (published on the 11th of December)
*The foundations for these blogposts are written by Milou van Kerkhof following the June 2017 CX Masterclass given by Nienke Bloem and Rosaria Cirillo. Milou attended this as a newcomer in Customer Experience. The blogposts are edited a little bit and reflect the highlights of the content of module 1*.