Customer Experience: 9 Ways to Take Action

by Jeannie Walters

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If you’ve attended any of my live sessions or read earlier articles, you may know that I believe there are three important facets to any customer experience program:

  1. Mindset
  2. Strategy
  3. Business Discipline

If you’re just reading about this idea for the first time, here’s a helpful primer article: The 3 Facets of Customer Experience

With so much to think about and do, any customer experience professional will share how challenging it is to simply decide what to prioritize, where to put limited resources, and how to gain momentum and buy-in to make real progress.

Below, we’ll look at each of these facets in more detail, while being mindful of the actions we can take to help us succeed.

How to Turn a Customer Experience Mindset into Action

Having a CX mindset means helping everyone in the organization align their values, the Customer Experience Mission , and a culture that supports empowering leaders, teams and all employees to deliver the best possible customer experience.

This is when customer-centricity really takes hold, when everyone in the organization understands this isn’t a short-term project or program. It’s simply a way to do business.

There are many ways to support a CX Mindset, but to get started, here are a few areas that support this facet of CX.

1. Culture

A culture with a CX Mindset shows up when it’s clear how and why customer experience matters throughout the organization. The best place to start is a CX Mission Statement.  Then that has to be reinforced and communicated obsessively. Nobody in the organization can be surprised when hearing it. It’s well-known and used as a way to make decisions.

2. Employee Experience

How employees show up for each other needs to be aligned with the customer experience goals and efforts.

That means understanding the employee journey, working with HR and others to support the right environment for success, and including feedback from employees to improve both the employee experience and the customer experience.

3. Constant Communication

Reinforcing a CX Mindset is an “always-on” proposition. This requires repetition and reminders, along with creative communication.

Customer champion programs help each team have a deputized representative who can advocate for customers, stay connected to the overall CX vision and mission, and find ways to weave customer stories into regular team communications. CX leaders can also share customer stories in reports and host “day in the life of a customer” events or other programs.

It’s all about reminding and reinforcing the ideas of CX beyond one-off programs or just reporting on metrics.

 

How to Turn a Customer Experience Strategy into Action

Your Customer Experience Strategy ties in your organizational goals and how customer experience will help achieve those goals. It’s also about understanding what success looks like and how to measure it.

Truth be told, I’ve seen a lot of poorly designed and therefore impossible to execute CX strategies. Getting it right from the beginning is so important. Ensure it’s well communicated and progress is understood to be successful.

CX Strategy is all about defining what success is, but there’s more to it than just getting the definition documented. Here are a few ways to attack your CX strategy in ongoing and meaningful ways.

4. Define Success

It’s too easy to say “Great customer experience” is a strategy. That’s not enough to know what success looks like. Define success using a CX Success Statement, getting to the crux of what CX can do to move the organization closer to the goals your leaders care about the most. This is also where you can determine how to measure progress so you’ll know what’s successful.

Take the time to explain the difference between customer experience (what the customer experiences, regardless of what you plan or do) and customer experience management (how you plan, design, and deliver customer experiences that matter to your customers and your organization) in ways big and small.

5. Explore Return on Investment (ROI) in Many Ways

There’s a common misconception that customer experience doesn’t create real ROI. It’s up to leaders in customer experience to not only prove that wrong once and for all, but to do it in all the ways possible.

Most organizations care about increasing revenue, decreasing expenses, and retaining both customers and employees for the long-term success of the business. Guess what customer experience does?

CX Strategy requires reporting on CX results in ways that connect to the ROI of these programs. Confidently report on how proactive service design decreased service costs. Communicate how employees are happier because they have fewer customers complaining, and that happiness at work is translating into higher employee referrals.

Every part of the organization can be positively impacted by a solid CX Strategy. We need to talk about it more.

Related: Is Customer Experience Worth It? And How Much Should You Invest?

6. Make Your Case for Resources

Customer experience programs and teams are routinely under-resourced. A clearly defined CX strategy helps you make your case for why hiring additional CX analysts or investing in better feedback tools is necessary. When asking for a one-off request, like additional headcount, leverage the CX strategy to prove the worth of such a request.

Leadership buy-in is a crucial aspect of CX success. Speak the language of those leaders to make a strong case for investing in what is needed to achieve the successful outcomes defined in the Success Statement.

 

How to Turn a Customer Experience Business Discipline into Action

With smaller teams and not as much funding as necessary, it’s easy for CX to be loosely defined and supported by the magical thinking of “if we have a CX title, we’re doing CX.” Oh if only it were that easy!

Just like marketing, sales, product development, customer service, and pretty much every other department in your organization, CX requires ongoing actions and discipline to make progress toward those bigger goals.

Discipline is all about governance, coordinated efforts, and regular, consistent habits. Here are a few specific ways to consider incorporating true discipline to your customer experience efforts.

7. Start with a CX Charter

A CX Team Charter will help you decide and define who, what and how things will get done. This includes how often you meet, what expectations there are for meeting, and how to prioritize actions from a unified CX perspective.

This charter also helps identify which teams should be included in cross-functional strategies and how to leverage the CX Mission Statement and the CX Success Statement to make better decisions overall.

8. Measure, Communicate and Repeat

Some organizations already have plenty of measurements. There are reports upon reports with metrics and customer feedback. However, context is often overlooked. CX discipline requires regular review of the customer feedback received, including not just watching the metrics but also identifying trends and potential future concerns.

CX leaders and teams need to understand how the CX metrics show progress (or don’t) and not just report the numbers but share the overall CX story. There is a lot of repetitive communication in CX, but regular reporting is a key component of executing the strategy.

9. Leverage Best Practices When Best

Customer experience best practices like customer journey mapping and service blueprinting are helpful tools. But if they are executed in a vacuum, away from strategy or not connected to the overall CX Mission, then they are efforts in futility. CX discipline is all about governance and centralized strategy.

That means having a way to evaluate what should take priority. It might be a customer journey map, but it might be slowing down on customer feedback until there’s a universal feedback strategy. Customer experience management requires lots of prioritization. It takes real discipline to get that right.

 

Wrapping Up: Customer Experience Management IS Magic

Customers experience meaningful moments with your brand when there is proactive, positive customer experience management happening in the organization.

The combination of a CX Mindset throughout the organization, along with a strong CX Strategy and the Discipline to execute it the right way is what creates magic for customers and employees.

Each of these facets of CX demands daily action and effort, but that can be magical, too. Keep looking to what really matters and build on a foundation of customer experience that will serve your organization in very long-term ways.

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Jeannie Walters

Jeannie Walters is the CEO/Founder of Experience Investigators, a global Customer Experience consulting firm. She has 20 years of experience helping companies improve loyalty and retention, employee engagement, and overall customer experience. Jeannie is a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP,) a charter member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA,) a Professional Member of the National Speakers Association, LinkedIn Learning instructor, TEDx speaker, and President-Elect of the National Speakers Association Illinois chapter. Learn more here.

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