Customer experience has changed dramatically since the proliferation of digital technology. Consider some day-to-day examples in our lives - we now have self-checkout at grocery stores, ATMs are replacing the need for bank tellers, online shopping has made it so you don’t have to make eye contact with the floor sales associate, and you can now even place your coffee order via a voice command on a smart device. With these changes, the traditional touch points (i.e. face-to-face interactions), which had the greatest influence over customer experience in the past, have shifted. Now, in the digital age, the way in which you satisfy your customer has also had to evolve.
Customer experience is a lot more than customer service. It is the sum of all the interactions between a customer and an organization throughout the lifecycle of the relationship. The lifecycle can be viewed in two broad stages:
Organizations have to consciously embed customer experience into internal processes, systems, and structures for there to be a seamless execution of your desired customer experience. As automation and AI take over the repetitive, pattern-based, work one of the differentiators will be those things that robots cannot compete with – creativity and empathy. As we move towards an empathy economy, a company’s differentiation in its customer experience may no longer be just a nice-to-have, but rather a strategic imperative.
Step 1 – Articulate the customer experience vision
Start by taking a cradle-to-grave approach and define the typical customer journey(s) you envision your customers to go through when experiencing your products or services. In all likelihood, there will be multiple customer journeys, as these will differ based on combinations of your value propositions, customer segments, and channels. For example, the customer experience for buying your product in a retail store will differ from a customer making an e-commerce purchase.
Step 2 – Test your current processes and systems against your customer journeys
Be a ‘mystery shopper’ for your own organization – test your existing platforms for the different stages of the customer lifecycle. For example, if you are counting on search engine rankings for customers to discover your business, are you appearing within the first 3 pages of search results? If you’re promising a support agent to contact you within 1 business day of submitting a customer support enquiry – is this expectation being met?
Step 3 – Address process and systems gaps to match the target CX vision
If you identify gaps in your current processes or systems against the target CX vision, determine which of these can be addressed through enhancements of existing processes or systems and which require new capabilities to be introduced. Create a roadmap of all the changes, and if needed, consider if you need to select new systems / technology to achieve the desired end-state.
In our next edition, we discuss The Future of CX – Analytics, AI, and more. We also explore technology-driven trends to watch for in CX.