If your company is hitting its quarterly numbers and your marketing team has been routinely executing customer-centric strategies for years, you might think you’re on a winning streak. However, it’s easy to rip a hole in that logic. If companies make sure to continually re-energize their focus on customer experience, they can actually exceed their targets and grow at an even faster rate. The number one block to that kind of success? Company lethargy, often found in tandem with the belief that the company is already customer-focused.
It may not even be the whole company, but one leader who says, “I’ve been customer-centric for years, now let’s focus on the finance department,” shifting attention to elsewhere in the organization. The best companies at CX are never satisfied with where they are today.
Staying tapped into CX and maintaining a positive momentum with customers requires a company-wide investigation into what being customer-focused means. This involves how data about customers is gathered, how it’s analyzed and, ultimately, how it’s applied. But it also requires setting up support systems in employee-focused areas such as hiring, incentives and education to reinforce the importance of CX at all levels of the company.
Most companies fail to truly understand the totality of customer experience. They define it by the company’s interaction with the customer, as opposed to the customer’s interaction not only with the company but with the experience itself and the industry.
Decide where you fit in a customer’s journey
Every company needs to investigate how their customers navigate their journey with them, start to finish. They will find that for some customers, certain parts of the journey will be more important than others, and for another type of customer, different parts of the journey will matter. Sometimes, aspects of a customer’s journey happen outside the company’s purview. For instance, someone could buy a car at a dealership, but decide not go to that dealership to finance it and go through their bank instead.
As a company, it’s okay not to be excellent at everything. You want to perform at a high level in those areas that matter most to your customer.
What’s most important is that companies identify the role they play in the journey and focus on playing that role in ways that satisfy the customer. As a company, it’s okay not to be excellent at everything. You want to perform at a high level in those areas that matter most to your customer.
Not only must companies understand what customers think about their journey, they need to factor in what employees think customers think about their journey. That’s a brain-twister, but something that can’t be overlooked when working to improve a CX strategy.
Companies have to focus not only on employees who interact directly with customers but also on employees who never contact them directly but whose actions impact customer experience. They need to take into account the impact they have.
Wherever a company lands in a customer’s journey, it’s essential to appreciate the emotional aspects of that point of interaction, regardless of what the customer is trying to do. Always ask: How do they feel? Companies don’t give enough importance to the emotions they create, and customers care more about how they make them feel than the individual steps along the way.
Make emotional feedback part of your data
To connect with customers on an experiential level, companies need to do more than understand customer-related rational or operational data. Emotional feedback is central to solving the experience equation. While rational data shows companies the key drivers of customer loyalty, emotion is the missing piece of the puzzle. While rational data is transparent, for the emotional component, they need to collect and share stories. With AI, companies can now link rational data to emotional customer feedback.
These stories might take the form of a recording at a call center, feedback from Twitter or a video of a customer in a store. They all tell companies what customers are truly feeling. Companies can have all the rational data in the world, but a simple story can tug at their heartstrings. And that tug can lead to big changes.