A HOLISTIC APPROACH TO CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
March 2020 marked fifteen (15) years in Customer Experience for me, it also marked the peak of the COVID19 Pandemic across the world... If you asked me in January this year what my CX tagline or motto was, it would have either been "High touch – low tech!" OR "Deliver an experience, Not a product!" Needless to say, "High Touch" quickly went out the window and while I challenged myself to get more 'Tech' in my facilitation/collaboration techniques, I found myself resonating more and more with, "Great Experiences don’t just happen." As businesses big and small, old and new across the world adapt (read: struggle to), one thing has never been clearer (to me at least)- THIS IS THE TIME FOR CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE!
With statistics across every country showing the impact of COVID19 on purchasing patterns and buyers behaviour, businesses need to consider and actively address their "WHY US?"
In a recent survey conducted by EXCO on the impact of COVID19 in Trinidad and Tobago, 30% of survey respondents express caution when spending while another 18% state their intentions to buy local. The story is almost identical in the US ,
"Consumers plan to be cautious, even when the spread of the virus subsides—with substantial implications for economic and social recovery. Currently, 37% of consumers prefer to satisfy their core needs while staying indoors — including working, virtually socializing, consuming media, and making essential retail purchases."
Forrester, May 2020
So, what does this mean for businesses? Truthfully, I don't know...
What I do know is that now is the paramount time to focus on your customers. Most of us have had "Customer Experience" on our strategic roadmap/pillar/vision but not had the time or drive to focus on it, now is the time. Measure, manage and drive improvements in the experiences that you are delivering to our customers.
"Where do we even start?" This is without a doubt the question I am faced with the most when chatting with people or prospective clients about setting up/enhancing their Customer Experience programmes. Most people KNOW that CX is important, they have read the stats and seen the case studies, but it can be hard (and daunting) to kick it off. The team at EXCO (all four of us 🥳) have created a step by step guide to hold your hand based on over 15 years of experience getting it done, including successes and failures faced along the way. Have a peak at some of the highlights below, more to come in future editions:
Definition: What does Customer Experience mean to you? Ask that question to your leadership and management teams, let me know if you get the same answers, or even the answers you expected... Your company's strategy often comes right out of the definition of what CX is (current and ideal) and what it means to your organization and its leaders.
Structure: Where does it fit? And who owns it? These are often the hardest questions to answer, but without clear ownership, action is slow and the needle even more so.
Deep Dive: What does your current CX look and feel like? It is important to understand where you are to know where you need to go, and how to get there! For us, this means detailed investigations into internal processes, customer feedback, products, touch-points, journeys.
Data & Analytics: It really is more than just a survey. I've designed more feedback programmes than I can count and can assure you that what you put in is what you will get out. CX Metrics are critical for a robust and actionable programme, remember "What doesn't get measured, doesn’t get managed." There are certain skills required for the design, development and delivery of a survey in order to get World Class customer conversations, we have mastered them.
Customer Journey Mapping: Customer Journey Maps are a critical element in your CX programme. They can literally allow you to take a walk in your customer's shoes by illustrating the steps your customers navigate to engage with your company. Put simply, Customer Journey maps keep companies focused on customers. At EXCO, we use Journey Mapping to drive engaging, successful and ultimately/ideally paradigm shifting sessions with your team.
Insights and Action: I've seen first-hand how the best-laid action plans can go awry without clear and agreed ownership AND a constant flow of communication. Most people require a real "hands on" approach (virtually now of course), so that's exactly what we do. One-on-One engagement with key stakeholders, from the C suite to front line employees allow us to really guide a team through pulling out insights, understanding experience gaps and closing the loop. What most people don't always get right is that the loop is actually trifold: 1. With customers (addressing individual queries and complaints), 2. Operationally (Addressing the root cause(s)) and 3. Strategically (Decision making and Business practices).
Whether you are far along your CX journey or just getting started, I hope the above is useful and that you can pull some value from our approach. We are really excited to share more with you all, stay tuned for future episodes by myself, Chelsea, Emily or Sacha where we will share more details on each of the steps highlighted above.
Stay safe & well & #wearyourmask