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4 Key Components Of A Strong Customer Experience Strategy

Steve Surdez

In a recent blog, we defined the customer experience (CX), underscored how critical this experience is to a company’s growth, and identified the mindset required for any CX strategy development and implementation.

Today, brands battle for market share in the arena of customer experience. Those that win, thrive. Those that don’t, disappear. It’s really that cut and dry.

Now that you adopted the proper CX philosophy, let’s look at the building blocks that nearly all successful customer experience approaches contain.

A Strong CX Strategy Is Underpinned By Clearly Articulated Core Principles

Two key steps here: You have to be aware of your core values, and you have to document these principles and win buy-in from your entire team. This sounds simple and you might say, “I know what my company is all about.”

That might be true, but you’re thinking of it the wrong way. You might know this as the owner or CEO, but does the entire company buy-in? Have you documented your core principles and mission and trained your team?

It’s not enough to assume your team clearly understands your core values. This must be a deliberate, and, yes, time-consuming project that's in and of itself a strategy with outlined milestones and tactics.

Your team can't deliver a great customer experience if they don’t understand the core principles that anchor it.

Create a workgroup within your team to define and document your core principles, mission, and vision. Implement training to ensure team buy-in. From there, layer your CX strategy on top of this solid foundation.

An Outstanding Customer Experience Strategy Understands Personas

Much of this is about intent. You’re thinking you’ve been in this business and working with customers for years. You know them like the back of your hand. This might be true, and your staff might fall into this category, too, but is everyone informed and educated about your customers’ attributes? Do they have a keen sense of the key archetypes that make up your customer base? Likely not.

Here are key points to remember as you move through the CX and persona process:

  • Take institutional customer knowledge and document it for a powerful CX approach.
  • Build and write down sets of customer personas. Customer personas are characterizations of customer types built in an ideal world and based on anecdotal evidence, primary research, and customer input (through surveys). 
  • To truly excel and win the CX battle, your staff needs to understand the company’s identity and core values, as well as deeply and intimately understand what makes their different customer segments tick. Developing and melding these two knowledge bases is imperative to solving customers’ pain points in the easiest and most convenient way possible.

Creating personas takes hard work. You must gather input from all your departments, mine your CRM for key data points, elicit feedback from your clients/customers, and collaborate internally to organize and codify what you discovered. It’s challenging, but it’s worth it.

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Map The Customer Experience Journey

Math and science, more than any other academic area, require the mastery of foundational principles to succeed at the next level of study. You need to master the foundations of algebra to have any chance of surviving calculus.

Mastering CX is the same. You understand what makes your business tick. Learn about what different customer archetypes do and what they need. Map out in fine detail what their journey with you needs to look like.

Before we jump in, however, it’s important to understand the difference between a CX map and a customer journey map, a term you’ve likely heard before.

Angela Stringfellow of NG Data puts it this way: “It’s easy to see how the two can be confused, but the best way to think about a customer experience map is that it’s a more all-encompassing visualization of the big picture, while journey maps are more focused, mapping the interactions a specific buyer persona has from first interaction to post-sale loyalty, or, in the most undesirable scenarios, customer attrition.”

It’s a subtle but important difference. CX mapping tracks the CX across all marketing channels, products, functions, and interactions. The customer journey map might track a specific product or departmental pathway. In other words, the CX map tracks the macro while the journey map is more micro and focused.

The end goal is to create a seamless, consistent, and positive customer experience across all points where a customer encounters your brand.

Creating a CX map helps your business identify strengths and weakness in the CX process across all aspects of operations, empowering your team to capitalize on what it does well and improve where it falls short. For some strong examples of CX maps, visit here.

Track, Assess, And Adjust

The CX infrastructure you’re building-codified core values, highly developed personas, and detailed cross-functional CX mapping-must also include a portfolio of tracking benchmarks. Tracking customer touch points, whether it’s an in-store experience or on social media, is the first step.

The next and possibly more important step is to identify the most important indicators to CX success, otherwise known as key performance indicators (KPIs).

A CX strategy by its nature is broad, wide-ranging, and a complex mix of qualitative and quantitative data. If you don’t define what’s most important, you’ll likely be overwhelmed by the data and suffer analysis paralysis.

How is a KPI different from a simple metric? Here are common characteristics of effective KPIs:

  • They're quantitative not qualitative, meaning a number can be attributed to them.
  • They're pragmatic not superfluous, meaning they're connected to company processes and standards (not metrics for metrics’ sake).
  • They're focused not generalized, meaning that they assess if performance is improving, stagnant, or deteriorating.
  • They drive action, meaning they can propel change.

To summarize, a strong CX strategy requires certain foundational steps to occur prior to implementation.

  1. You must clearly document your company’s core principles, values, and mission. Your team must be trained and buy into this vision.
  2. You must develop and clearly document customer archetypes by creating detailed customer personas that your team must understand and utilize.
  3. You must create a holistic, detailed customer experience map that addresses all customer touch points across a multi-channel marketing landscape.
  4. You must identify the most important data, creating KPIs that empower your team to assess and adjust its approach for optimal results.

If you’re ready to reshape your customer experience management approach, we can help you. Illumine8 Marketing & PR helps organizations create, maintain, and tweak their branding and customer experience platforms to maximize customer loyalty, increase repeat business, and amplify their brand reach to generate new high-converting leads.

Reach out to us today. We’d love to discuss your vision and how you see your company getting there.

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