Most companies say they want to provide a great experience for their customers. They might even proclaim to put customers first or be customer-centric.
Usually, this means they collect all sorts of customer insights through surveys and user reviews to better understand their experience. This information is essential; however, as every customer experience (CX) leader has faced: data is just a starting point.
My team works with many well-intentioned CX leaders that have mountains of data but cannot decide where to focus. It can feel like an uphill climb with too many paths to choose from— especially when you’re first starting your CX efforts.
When you’re feeling lost, it’s a great time to revisit (or set!) your CX foundations. Doing so will help you:
- Align departments with your company’s customer experience mission
- Empower every team to deliver on your CX mission and escalate concerns
- Connect your CX efforts to tangible business outcomes
The LinkedIn Learning team invited me to film a course about Customer Experience (CX) Foundations to dig into each of these areas and more. If you’re unsure if the course is right for you—or if you’re looking for quick CX tips to improve your approach—let’s explore some of what you’ll learn.
What Is Customer Experience?
You don’t have to do anything deliberately as an organization with your customers to provide a customer experience. That’s right: your customer experience is shaped whether you focus on it or not.
Customer experience is the total relationship your customer has with your organization through communication, interactions, and transactions. Most importantly, it’s about how your customer feels about those experiences.
Leaders invested in CX spend time in a cycle of action. They constantly seek to understand their customers, their needs, and their expectations. They empower their entire company to act on those insights and then seek to understand their customers all over again.
It sounds like a lot of work, because it is. But it’s worth the effort! Offering a superior customer experience delivers undeniable business advantages:
- Customers will shop with you more frequently and with greater loyalty—and recommend you to their friends
- Product teams can better tailor their roadmap using customer insights (saving time and money)
- Employees will feel a greater sense of purpose in what they do and how they can help customers
How To Create Intentional Customer Experiences
It takes an entire company to build great customer experiences. Not everyone will “get it” from day one, and that’s OK.
It takes just one or two customer experience advocates to gradually build understanding and excitement around your efforts.
I recommend addressing the following five areas to create a solid foundation for customer experience success:
Define Your Customer Experience Mission Statement
Everyone at your organization needs a clear understanding of how their work affects the customer experience. It’s a subtle mindset shift that will lead to big changes.
Create a CX Mission Statement by identifying the most important ways to show up for customers, no matter what. Consider these questions as you write your CX Mission Statement:
- What aligns with your values?
- What reflects the promise you made to customers?
- And how can everyone on your team help deliver on these expectations?
Keep this mission front-and-center in everything you do and revisit it during company meetings. As you onboard new employees, explain to them how they support this mission.
In the course, I share examples of what your mission statement can look like.
Embrace Your Customer Feedback
If you aren’t listening to customers, how do you know what they really want? And if you are listening, how do you know what to hear?
The Voice of the Customer (VoC) will guide you to improve their experience. Create a strategy to gather ratings, scores, and regular feedback from customers. I recommend this three-part assessment:
- What do you want to know about your customers?
- What measurements do you need?
- What will you do with this feedback?
Focus on just a few feedback channels at first to get comfortable with the process. The goal, however, is to meet customers wherever they are and on their terms. It gets easier with time, and there are plenty of great feedback management tools to help.
Blend Company Data and Customer Data
Humans often say one thing but behave differently. That’s why being intentional about customer experience means we have to look at behavior and actions, not just what customers tell us.
At the company level, review metrics like customer retention or renewal rates, referral rates, and digital analytics like website conversions. At the customer level, consider data like purchase history, issues or tickets submitted, referrals made, and attendance or participation in your events and training.
All this data shows your customer actions to tell a full story, helping you track what’s working and focus on what needs more work.
Gain Leadership Buy-In for CX
A lot of leaders think that CX costs and doesn’t deliver. That’s not true. Even so, we need to change their perception.
We can do it by thinking about how customer experience can support each department’s unique goals. Ensure that all leaders understand what CX success looks like and how it drives business outcomes. Present your data in ways that speak to specific departments, and continually follow up to show them how they are driving noticeable improvements in the experience.
An executive invested in the customer experience will inspire innovation and motivate their team. That’s how customer experience becomes embedded in your company’s culture.
Celebrate Your CX Wins
Recognize the activities and behaviors that live up to your customer experience mission, and associate those behaviors with real results.
Have you seen a lift to your customer feedback scores? How about higher customer satisfaction rates, or an increase in referrals? Celebrate these wins with your team. Don’t be shy about sharing customer quotes, recordings from service calls, chat logs, videos, or anything else you have that illustrates the value of your customer experience efforts.
Through consistent encouragement and by showcasing examples of positive actions, your team can deliver intentional customer experiences more effectively.
Start Designing Great Customer Experiences Today
Investing in your customer experience creates an ongoing cycle of innovation that helps your business stay ahead of the competition.
Let your Customer Experience Mission Statement guide your teams. Use data to show how departments and individuals can drive change. Collaborate and engage to find solutions to any new challenges you face.
It’s natural to feel uncomfortable as you’re starting. Just like when I was filming the LinkedIn Learning course, I often found myself relying on the director and producer to remind me it’s OK to need another take or try again.
This is your reminder: You’ll make mistakes along the way. And that’s OK. The key is to stay focused, keep trying, and remember that you can do this.
If you’re ready to dig further into each of the areas we’ve explored and more, my Customer Experience (CX) Foundations course will get you up to speed in under an hour.
- How to define your customer experience success statement to gain leadership support
- Ways to build a case around the ROI of customer experience
- Strategies for establishing governance around your customer experience program
But don’t just take my word for it. The course has more than 130 5-star ratings, and course participants have shared some great feedback:
- “This is a great break down about what Customer or Client Experience really is and what it truly takes to make sure customer experience is running smoothly.”
- “It provides clear insights which can be easily followed up with application in our day to day running of businesses.”
- “Jeannie Walters has always been amazing with her CX courses.”
If you’ve read this far, you’re probably already making great changes at your organization on behalf of the customer. Take a minute to continue to invest in yourself and let me know what you think of the course.