How To Implement A Powerful Customer Experience Strategy

Arise From The COVID Ashes

The global pandemic has indeed cast a dark shadow over the world causing heartache, loss and distress. However, when disaster strikes there is often an opportunity for innovation, growth and new strategies. 

Organisations have a window of opportunity to arise from the COVID ashes into a business that is focused on customer satisfaction, investing in their people and becoming customer centric.

Focussing on customer experience will accelerate your company into new levels of influence, customer acquisition and customer loyalty. This blog post will set out the six key elements to an effective and timeless CX strategy. These elements will equip you with a clear roadmap to customer experience success. 

Vision 

Oxford languages describes vision as the following: “the ability to think about or plan the future with imagination or wisdom.” 

Having a customer centric vision for your company is key to your CX strategy. Vision provides direction for all employees, a reference point for leadership and an insight into your company’s values for your customers. 

Without a clear vision a company can easily lose sight of where they are heading and why they are heading there. This can lead to different departments veering off in different random directions. 

A customer centric vision will lead your company to focus on serving customers in excellence, going the extra mile and caring about their work on a new level. 

Here are two examples of customer focused visions from two of the most successful companies in the world:

Amazon

We aim to be Earth’s most customer centric company. Our mission is to continually raise the bar of the customer experience by using the internet and technology to help consumers find, discover and buy anything, and empower businesses and content creators to maximise their success. 

Microsoft

Our mission is to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more.

Write The Vision

Now is the perfect time to craft a meaningful customer centric vision in the form of a statement. The statement should be one or two sentences that focus on serving your customers and making their lives better. The vision should be visible to all employees and communicated often in team meetings. 

Your vision is the headlights on a car, providing light so that your organisation can find its way to the desired destination – success. 

Customer Experience Goals

Many organisations talk about customer experience but haven’t taken the time to measure and improve it through goal setting. No matter what stage of business you’re in, CX goals are a vital business strategy.

Here are some examples of progressive and measurable CX goals which you can set: 

  • Create or refresh a customer centric mission statement 
  • Create or adopt a benchmarking system to measure CX 
  • Realise a CX score – how well are we doing?
  • Improve customer satisfaction scores by 10% in the next 12 months 
  • Gather 100 customer feedback surveys in the next 6 months
  • Gain 4.5 stars on a trusted customer review site 

All of the goals should be centred around your vision. They should also be measurable with an actionable plan. 

Customer Feedback Funnel (CFF) 

A CFF is a clear pathway where customers can provide feedback about their interactions with your organisation. The pathway should be set up to maximise the number of responses and should provide valuable and easy to measure data. 

There are two types of feedback a customer can provide which is public feedback or private feedback. Public feedback involves customers leaving public reviews on websites such as trustpilot, Tripadvisor or Google.

Private feedback refers to a customer completing a survey which your company has sent them usually via email. 

Public feedback provides a great platform for honest reviews from your customers. However, they do not represent a true reflection of your customer experience levels. This is because people are far more likely to publicly report a bad customer experience over a good one. 

Respond to all public comments in a timely manner as this shows you care about your customers. Saying this, don’t rely on the comments or stars to show a full picture of your CX levels. 

Setting Up The Funnel

  1. To set up a CFF for private feedback, decide when you would like to ask your customers for their feedback. A popular choice is after every interaction or after customers have made a purchase. 
  2. Set up an automated survey to be sent soon after the customer has interacted with your company. This can be easily automated via text messages, automated emails or surveys sent straight after a customer service call. There are various companies who can do this for you such as Service Tick.
  3. If you are working within a small budget, check out this blog post for instructions on setting up a manual customer feedback funnel.  

What Questions to Ask? 

It’s important to keep your customer feedback survey short and sweet with no more than 3 questions. This increases the chances of customers completing it. 

Example Question 1: How satisfied are you with the service you received from us today?There should be a sliding scale of 1-10 for customers to easily and quickly rate their interaction. 

Example Question 2: Please tell us why you choose this score. This will give customers an opportunity to express their opinions in writing about your brand.

Example Question 3: Do you have any other comments about the service? This provides a further platform for your customer to comment on the service they received. 

Benchmarking Your Company 

You can transform the data from question 1 into a customer satisfaction score by using this formula: 

  • Add all of the ratings together 
  • Divide the total number of the ratings by the number of surveys received 
  • Convert this number into a percentage 
  • This will give you an average percentage of how satisfied your customers are

The written comments from question 2 should be uploaded into one document such as a spreadsheet / word document. The data can be analysed for common trends, themes and areas for improvement. 

Create an Improvement Plan

Once you have your customer satisfaction score, it’s time to create an improvement plan. Your company should aim to have a score of 90% or above. This high score will indicate that on average your customers are very satisfied. 

Based on your current score, set a clear goal of what percentage you’d like to achieve as an organisation. Next, start to think about and plan ways to improve customer experience. The comments left by customers explaining why they gave a certain score in their feedback is a great place to start.

Use the comments to identify common trends in relation to why customers are giving lower scores. 

For example, let’s say a large sample of customers gave you a 6/10 for how satisfied they are and explained it was because of the impatient attitude of staff. A key step in your improvement plan would be to train all customer facing staff in the area of communication and patience. 

You could also implement a new level of accountability in the form of quarterly staff review meetings, monthly telephone reviews and quality checks of customer phone calls. 

Focus on Communication

Effective communication with your customers is an integral part of great customer experiences. As the world starts to open up again, it’s important to ensure all customer facing staff are communicating with compassion, empathy and diligence. 

To get everyone communicating in the same way, you must define what good communication looks like for your company. Think about what style of communication best suits your customers and pick three 3-5 words to describe this style. 

Here are a few words to help you think about the desired communication style of your brand: 

  • Formal
  • Informal 
  • Friendly 
  • Approachable
  • Efficient 
  • Compassionate 
  • Informative 
  • Humorous

Once your three words have been established get all of your employees on the same communication page. This can be done through communication training or an ongoing focus filtered down through team meetings, employee updates and management style. 

The WOW Factor 

The wow factor of your CX strategy is all about going above and beyond for your customers by basically wowing them! The purpose is to stand out from competitors, build meaningful relationships with existing customers and to attract new customers. 

Sounds great right? Let me explain how to do it. 

I’ll let you in on a little secret about your customers……they like free stuff and money off.

So, how do you WOW your existing and potential customers? It’s simple…….with free stuff and money off! Think about what free content, product or service you can offer your customers that will serve their biggest needs.

Some examples include: 

  • Downloadable guides
  • Informative blog posts
  • 10% off services and purchases
  • A free product for purchases over a certain amount.  

Get creative and think about how to best serve your customers. During the pandemic, many companies have really wowed their customers. Microsoft offered free tools to help parents cope with home schooling, whilst McKinsey have an awesome resource hub dedicated to helping businesses navigate the new normal. 

Now it’s your turn, what could you do to WOW your customers in this season? 

The Customer Experience Framework

Now it’s time to bring everything together by creating a CX Framework for your company. These strategies may seem like a ton of effort, but I promise it will be worth it in the end. I say this because research consistently shows that a focus on customer experience improves revenue, marketshare and influence. 

If that’s what you’re after, then take the time to implement an effective CX strategy including a framework with these simple steps: 

  • Create a customer centric mission statement and share it with your organisation. 
  • Create 5 – 10 CX goals with the aim of getting to 90%+ satisfied customers. 
  • Set up an automated Customer Feedback Funnel and analyse the results once a quarter. 
  • Benchmark your organisation with a customer satisfaction score based on your survey results. 
  • Create a customer experience improvement plan based on your survey results. 
  • Improve your company’s communication by training all customer facing staff.
  • WOW your customers with free stuff and money off – map out your freebies and discounts for the year. 
  • Appoint or hire someone to lead in the area of customer experience to move your strategy forwards and implement your framework.
  • Document all elements of the framework and share this with your employees.

Make the Investment 

Focussing on revenue, marketing and sales are all important. But I’d argue that a relentless focus on customer experience must be treated with equal if not more attention than other business strategies.

Take the time to invest into CX and I guarantee your organisation will improve customer satisfaction, employee happiness and overall growth. 

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