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Standing Partnership and Michael Chandler, guest blogger and Cx expert, have teamed up to discuss customer experience. Through a series of informational blogs and podcasts we will help you and your organization understand the importance to building a deep and trusting relationship with your customers. We will offer examples, insights and trends into what it takes for businesses to remain successful by meeting customer expectations, enhancing customer experiences and improving customer retention rates.
About the Co-Author: Mike brings 20+ years of experience working on innovation, service design, business transformation and Cx. He has helped organizations of all sizes respond to industry changes and deliver the best possible experiences around their products and services.
The business community can’t get enough of Cx. It’s all the buzz in business publications, at conferences and even in executive boardrooms. Everyone wants to talk about “customer experience.”
The reason Cx is such a hot topic is because it’s critical to the future of your business. Customer experience has become just as important as innovation and operational efficiency. In fact, it may be the only thing that keeps your business from becoming commoditized.
Increasingly, high-performing companies are turning to Cx as their competitive differentiator, driving customer retention and growth of wallet share AND market share.
But like so many hot business buzzwords, the definition can be a bit elusive. When your board asks, “What are we doing about Cx?”, it’s important to understand what Cx really is and isn’t before you answer.
Why Cx is NOT just customer support
A common misconception is to think customer experience and customer support are synonymous. They aren’t.
We’ve all had moments where customer service was so bad, we stopped using that product/service. That’s why service and support are key pieces of the Cx puzzle. Support accounts for no more than half of the customer experience. But that’s not the only experience that matters.
When companies only focus on the support stage of the customer journey, they miss other critical opportunities to impact the experience. Each stage needs to be considered – from when a customer begins to identify a need for a product or service, to the buying and onboarding experience to getting issues resolved and questions answered when they start using what they purchased.
Why Cx is NOT the same as UX
When leaders are tasked with Cx, they often get caught up with the online user experience (UX) and touchpoints, like a customer portal. Again, that can be an important part of the experience, but you can’t stop there. This is most likely your channel to help answer their questions and make decisions as a “self-service” channel.
For most companies, these digital touchpoints get treated as the full customer journey when they are simply a channel to reach customers and distribute products and services.
Companies are investing millions into new tools – from new CRMs to Cx control centers – expecting it to be the silver bullet to their Cx issues. These tools can be extremely valuable to improving customer experience. They are enablers of customer experience; they don’t create it. It requires fixing complicated business processes, re-aligning value streams and equipping employees to drive a better experience – not to mention improving the employee experience.
Why your Voice of Customer (VOC) survey is NOT Cx
Listening to your customers is critical to delivering on the customer experience. Unfortunately, VOC surveys that run on a quarterly or yearly basis are relying on older methods of collecting customer insight. That lag makes it difficult to accurately anticipate customers’ needs.
Great Cx-centric companies engage customers throughout their journeys – they do more than just reach out once a year with a survey when it’s convenient. They use ongoing insight from operational and transactional data to understand the customer journey in real time and use those insights to improve it quickly with small, iterative fixes. When only listening once or a few times a year, companies try to take big swings to try to fix customer experience issues that can miss because they’re not well informed.
What is Cx? A strategic definition
So, if Cx isn’t just customer support, UX or surveys, what is it?
Cx is the way that customers interact with a company – at every stage of the customer journey from deciding to purchasing, to receiving service and support. Those interactions can be negative or positive overall and can be heavily influenced by an interaction with an employee, a restrictive company policy, an ill-designed website, or even a partner or distributor that you may have limited control over.
It goes far beyond making customer service a core value or writing that you’re a customer-centric organization on your About Us page on your website.
Why defining Cx is important to your business
As customer expectations increase, Cx is quickly becoming the most important competitive differentiation – whether your organization is B2B or B2C focused. In fact, 89% of businesses will compete on customer experience in 2020 and beyond, according to research from Gartner.
That’s why 60% of companies increased their Cx spending in 2019, according to Hotjar’s annual state-of-the-customer experience survey. The number of companies – and their spending – will only increase in 2020.
Happy customers are the key to growth: They’re more likely to continue to buy more from you and tell their friends.
- If a customer has a positive experience, 72% will share that experience with six or more people.
- Of customers who have an unpleasant experience, 13% are likely to share that with 15 or more people.
- The cost to attract a new customer is 6-7 times more than the cost of retaining an existing customer.
- By increasing customer retention 5%, companies can improve profits 25%-95%.
- U.S. customers will pay as much as 17% more to do business with companies that have great customer service reputations, according to data from American Express.
With those statistics in mind, how can you take advantage of the great impact Cx has on your organization and avoid the pitfalls? There are three critical characteristics of high-performing companies in Cx:
- Fix the customer journey, don’t just measure it. Great companies treat Cx as an enterprise customer engagement and retention strategy. They find ways to measure critical moments of the customer journey in real time and operationalize continuous improvement that allows the organization to act quickly when part of the journey is broken or creates friction.
- Cx drives growth. Top performers believe that the lifetime value of retaining customers and delivering on promises will far exceed the initial transaction. They see customer experience as an investment and not as overhead.
- Cx matters to everyone, or no one. Improving Cx requires everyone in your organization to engage, and it must be championed from the top. If it is seen as being the responsibility of a department or a small team, it will be treated by your organization as such. The best companies at Cx have their CEOs driving home the importance of delivering and continuing to improve on the customer experience.
Is your company looking to up its Cx game? Learn how implementing a continuous improvement Cx strategy can help your organization by contacting Melissa Lackey at firstname.lastname@example.org or Nick Sargent at email@example.com.