How to avoid the pitfalls when developing and implementing your customer experience strategy.
On an almost daily basis I speak to companies about their thoughts and strategies on providing the best possible customer experience and it’s fair to say that the vast majority view it as a high priority on their business planning agenda. However, in the real world the challenge is often converting great ideas into a practical operational plan that can really improve the customer experience.
I believe that there are four key pitfalls that many organizations face when searching for the right Customer Experience Management (CEM) strategy for their business and it is worth all management teams being mindful of them and planning to avoid them:
It’s very easy when you are setting up a CEM program for it to become a project for just one department, rather than involving the whole organization. You have to develop a consistent customer experience that emanates from across all your departments and is an integral part of your brand values. I like to envisage it as the “DNA” of your business. It should be part of the way the organization operates. Letting the program fall into small isolated silos would make this very difficult to fulfil. The CEM strategy must involve the entire organization and all of its touch-points.
Think of your business from the customer point of view; they will not see your organization as a number of departments but as a single entity. Customers only see your products or services offering and are looking to get a particular job or need fulfilled by your organization – anyone from outside the business is unlikely to care how it is organized.
Implementing a CEM strategy for just the contact center may fail to cover other parts of your business that are also customer facing; such as your stores/branches and the customers they serve, for example. The entire organization and all its parts need to take ownership of CEM and ensure that the strategy is carried out wherever a customer comes into contact with it.
CEM is more than just the tools you use
In contrast to what some software providers would have you believe, integrating a CEM software platform into your processes is not the complete answer to delivering a great customer experience. Technology is a great tool, but on its own it is just a facilitator and not a panacea for all your needs and goals.
When developing a CEM strategy, it’s important that it is a strategic choice encompassing the whole organization – ultimately it is the people within the organization that will drive forward the changes that are implemented, not the technology that is used.
To fully embrace a new CEM strategy a company needs to work from the outside in, to ensure it works efficiently to benefit customers and addresses their needs rather than simply being designed to fit convenience internally. This can be a real challenge for many organizations because it involves really listening to customer feedback and acting on their actual needs, rather than delivering preconceived brand promises about great customer experience and excellent service. If there is no clear vision that focuses on cultural changes, even the most advanced IT solution will fail to properly implement an effective and fresh CEM program.
Focus on positive customer feedback as well as the negative
It’s all too easy to simply focus on the negativity from dissatisfied customers, as their voice will often be the loudest. Obviously managing customers that are at risk and making them happier is a vital part of any successful CEM program – but what happens with those customers that genuinely really love your products and services? These customers are ambassadors for your company and its offering. Additionally, they offer a lot of valuable insights and positive feedback on the things you do well; this will show you exactly why they are so enthusiastic about your business, preventing you from changing your proposition and inadvertently discontinuing the very things your customers like!
Focusing on the positives is also hugely beneficial internally, giving your team pride in what they provide, demonstrating why your business makes the offerings that it does and boosting the self-esteem of the whole organization. Additionally, sharing positive feedback publicly has been shown to boost revenues markedly and adds great kudos to your reputation.
Fully understand the digital experience
Many people tend to underestimate the complexity (or often over-complexity) of their business digital channels. It’s very easy for organizations to plan and develop their digital channels so that they are more complex than traditional touch-points, whether they need to be or not, sometimes simply because the functionality is available. Prospects and customers can perform many tasks and services themselves through one website portal; searching for product information, managing their online account, using self-service tools, asking questions online through IM and obviously buying new products. This is a very different proposition for a more traditional contact center call which will typically be done for a specific purpose or issue, such as a specific service related question for example. It’s important to understand this and ensure you are meeting your customers needs and expectations fully.
Your digital offering is also another area where it is vital to avoid being reliant on isolated departments within the organization. This will make it harder to offer a consistent service but equally, makes it harder to correlate any feedback or insights back to all parts of the business. The technology is now available to ascertain exactly how visitors are using your website and to ask them questions about what they like, what they don’t like and what they would like to see in the future; when it is most relevant for them. This offers a much wider view of the digital customer experience and consequently helps to get a much clearer understanding of the whole customer journey and its suitability for your customers.
About the Author
Udesh Jadnanansing is Founder and Managing Partner at Mopinion. Mopinion offers a full SaaS (Software as a Service) solution for setting up and maintaining Voice of the Customer programs according to the Closed Loop Feedback mechanism. Their software provides real time insights from the most important touch points, giving a direct view on how customers experience a business and where improvements can be made. The company specialises in solutions that offer Customer Feedback, Social Commerce, Customer insights, Communities, Customer Experience Management, EFM, Enterprise Feedback Management and Voice of the Customer information.