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Step Up Your CX

6 ways to renew (and stick to!) your CX vows

Refocus attention on the basics to keep amazing customer experiences going in 2022.

In 2020, brands discovered how empathy can drive profitability and win lifetime loyalty, even during trying times. Fast forward to 2022—successful brands who continue to grow, innovate, and advance in the digital space need to answer the question: Are we sticking to the human side of the experience? Are we keeping our CX vows to customers and employees? 

Your brand is your promise to your customers, it’s a pledge to deliver exceptional customer experience. And maintaining this vow demands action and self-awareness. 

Invest and act on great customer experience
Understanding the importance of building an organizational CX competency is a crucial first step, but without an executable strategy, organizations will continue to lag industry leaders. Renewing your CX vows begins with the basics. Here’s a refresher of 6 transformation roadmap steps to help deliver exceptional customer experiences and set your brand apart in the marketplace. 

Step #1: Understand your current CX state
Your brand needs to maintain and develop a deep understanding of your customers—their basic needs and unique expectations. Data is at the core of any customer experience strategy. Start with research and journey mapping to create a visual representation of the path your customers take when they engage with your brand. 

You can also use data collection to build a more nuanced understanding for the “why” behind your customer journey maps. Qualitative research methods—such as customer interviews, focus groups, and even ride-a-longs—can help collect insights directly from the customer. Meanwhile quantitative research methods—including surveys, website analytics and CRM data—can provide broader stroke insights that inform a deeper understanding of customer preferences and receive feedback on your current CX. Remember this step is about establishing a foundation on which you can build phased improvement. It will drive the action steps that come next. 

4 questions to ask during this step:

  • What paths do customers take when they interact with your brand before, during, and after purchase?
  • What pain points do they encounter during their journey?
  • What are the moments that really matter in their journey?
  • What customer experience strategies and channels do we currently have in place? How are they performing?

Step #2: Define your CX north star
Let’s start by understanding what a North Star is. When it comes to creating an exceptional customer experience, your North Star is the focal point or the central CX concept that should be supported by every strategic decision you make. It should embody your brand values and provide a shining example of what exceptional customer experiences should look like in your organization. 

Internally, the North Star should serve as the core goal and motivational vision you aim to deliver—from the contact center to your website and in-store or app experience. Externally, your North Star comes to life as your CX promise (vow) and poises your customers to recognize your brand.

3 questions to ask during this step:

  • What do you want to be known for?
  • How will your customer experience set you apart from the competition?
  • What activities must your employees execute to deliver on your North Star?

Step #3: Identify opportunities for improvement in the customer journey
Using the insights from step one, identify where critical pain points exist in your current customer journey. Some common sources of customer and experience friction include: Gaps in your internal data or limits to the insights you can gain from it, high frequency points of journey abandonment, and ill-equipped tools or outdated customer channels. 

If you’re having trouble delineating between positive and poor customer experiences, deep insights can be a powerful opportunity to lean on customer experience experts—if you haven’t already. With a broad understanding of what is possible and what is pipe dream, leading CX consultants can help your team identify quick win opportunities that will deliver substantial CX improvements.

3 questions to ask during this step: 

  • Where are you seeing the most abandonment during your customer journey? 
  • Where are existing tools letting your customer service agents down?
  • What capabilities do your competitors have that make their CX easier to navigate?

Step #4: Develop a digital transformation strategy
Now that your current capabilities and future goals have been collected, it’s time to act. In this step, you’ll want to build out the logistics, timeline, objectives, and metrics that will help your organization achieve CX success. 

Modern customer expectations call for true omnichannel customer experiences. That means enabling customers to move seamlessly between channels and digital properties as they continue along their unique customer journey. The trick to developing a successful transformation strategy is creating plans for both design and orchestration. One without the other can lead to even the most cutting-edge tools failing to work together, or worse, the deployment of the wrong CX tools and technologies all together. Lastly, don’t forget about the departments and teams that will need to buy-in on your strategy to bring it to life. 

3 questions to ask during this step:

  • What new technologies and processes need to be introduced to achieve your North Star vision?
  • What stakeholder buy-in will you need to execute your transformation strategy?
  • How will you gauge progress—and more importantly, transformation success?

Step #5: Orchestrate improved customer and employee experiences
Once your transformation strategy is defined and you have full buy-in across your organization, you can begin to implement the changes you’ve prepared for, starting with the first point on your roadmap. As you begin to orchestrate your improvements, keep coming back to your roadmap and the North Star that guides it. If you find you’ve forgotten anything, or you hit any friction points you hadn’t anticipated, look ahead on the roadmap and see if those issues might apply to later steps. Adjust as necessary, learning from the process as you engage with it.

3 questions to ask during this step:

  • What capabilities, technologies, and channels are needed to deliver seamless customer experiences?
  • Where are you hitting transformation roadblocks? What additional expertise and capabilities do you need to overcome these challenges?
  • Who will be in charge as the “point” person between your transformation strategy and your technology partners?

Step #6: Measure your success with customer-focused metrics
This final step is more like the beginning of your long-term CX strategy. Yes, tracking metrics will help to prove ROI to key stakeholders throughout your organization, but it will also likely reveal additional aspects of your CX transformation strategy that require adjustments. 

There are many ways to begin measuring your CX program. For example, starting with the right feedback mechanisms can give you first-hand insights from customers about the new channels and capabilities available to them. Consider adding Voice of Customer (VoC), analytics, interviews, and polls to your arsenal of feedback tools. Further down the measurement food chain, it’s also important to measure deeper metrics like customer retention, brand loyalty, revenue growth—and from a workflow perspective, productivity, efficiency, and customer response times. Strategies that deliver memorable, personalized customer experiences should help drive growth in all these categories. 

3 questions to ask during this step:

  • What metrics will you use to benchmark and improve the customer experience?
  • How can data be used to iterate and adjust your customer experience over time?
  • How will you report on successes and ongoing challenges?

When used as a continuous improvement cycle, this six-step roadmap can help maintain CX competitive differentiation over time—strengthening your brand reputation and bolstering customer loyalty. 

Who wins with great CX?
The short answer to this question is: everyone, just as everyone is responsible to help foster great CX during each customer interaction. The effects of customer loyalty and satisfaction can be found across the organization, including: 

  • Customers: Higher satisfaction and better overall experiences
  • Associates: More fulfillment, employee engagement, and workplace happiness
  • Marketing: Insights into customers to better personalize marketing campaigns
  • Sales: Close more deals based on strong customer use cases
  • Account Representatives: Increased customer retention and customer acquisition
  • Human Resources: Easier recruiting and higher employee retention due to better employee experience

The more efficient and seamless your customer experience is, the easier it is for your employees to do their jobs, and to do them well. The right tools help your employees provide an exceptional experience for your customers, while simultaneously making their work easier and more successful.

Renewing your CX vows makes everyone happier, and boosts revenue while also saving on costs.

To learn more about the value of CX, explore the ebook The Big Book of Customer Experience, from avtex, a TTEC digital company.