Have you really optimized your customer experience strategy?

For many companies, the truthful answer is no. Many companies still ignore large parts of the customer experience and have yet to fully map out every step of their customer’s journey. This blind spot is going to be a major issue for companies moving forward as customer expectations for their experiences with brands only get higher.

It’s time to transform your customer experience strategy. Don’t let these challenges get in the way.

Top 3 Challenges For Your Customer Experience Strategy

Challenge #1: You have brought in the tools, hired some additional people, but have yet to change your company culture.

It starts with your culture.

When you embrace putting your customers first, it should weave through every fabric of your business, from how individual performance metrics are calculated to even how you speak about your business and its goals. Everyone should focus on the metrics that speak to customers. If you know your customers need fast interactions, like a coffee shop chain, operations metrics of your customer experience strategy should focus on the efficiency of customer transactions. Everything shifts to the eyes of the customer – and the results have lasting implications.

A few examples:

  • For automakers, this shift means discontinuing their practice of looking at the different channels of the automaker, regional dealership group and individual dealers. Their customers don’t segment their purchases this way; instead, creating a seamless customer journey from start to finish from all of the dealers involved is what matters.
  • Walmart’s shift led to a transformation of their operations – and some innovative programs to meet customers’ needs. When Walmart’s Chief Marketing Officer Stephen Quinn realized that customers were often breaking pills in half because of the price of the full prescription, they started their $4 prescription program.
  • For many companies, this means providing a robust program for support – and not just in your store or call center. In fact, 53% of customers reported that they will abandon an online purchase if they can’t find quick answers online. Make sure your website community and other online properties is able to anticipate your customers’ needs and predict what they will need next.

This is where the real work of CX transformation begins. You need to make sure that everyone on your team is aligned with the new thinking, and not be afraid to institute process  and operational changes that are uncomfortable. Many companies traditionally break apart the customer experience between marketing, merchandising, operations, supply chain, store operations, digital, etc. But for customers, it’s all one continuous impression your brand leaves on them.

For example, don’t keep your customer support siloed into one department when customers will try to find answers on all channels. Instead of focusing on your call center as your one-stop shop for getting customers answered, think about how your operations will change if you built a robust online support community and measured the case deflection rate. It’s not enough to just tell employees and invest in the community; you also have to communicate and get them on board with the larger goal of delivering on the customer experience. This is supposed to be a radical shift in your thinking; don’t discount it by only making surface-level changes, yet letting the old thinking and philosophies remain in place.

Challenge #2: You don’t have a single, unified view of my customers.

How many systems hold data on your customers?

If you work at the average organization, the answer is somewhere around 36, according to a study from Forbes Insights and Sitecore. And how exactly are you supposed to construct a single view when data is spread between so many different silos? The impact of data silos in your customer experience is poisoning your ability to build a foundation for understanding your customers’ needs at each moment and interaction with your brand.

As part of your customer experience strategy, start by breaking apart the silos and unifying your data to gain a more detailed understanding of your users. Map out one customer’s journey (based on their real data) from first hearing about your product to signing the contract. Don’t leave any stone unturned. Once you build this, start looking into their motivations at each step of the process and really start understanding their mindset and job to be done. Start creating these customer journey maps for each of your key buyers and then start to optimize every part of their experience.

For example, Airbnb realized that their competition is not actually the luxurious hotels or budget hostels for their weary travelers. In the customer’s mind, Airbnb provides the non-tourist experience and helps them “live like a local.” Most often, they are competing for customers against the customer deciding to stay with friends or family. Once Airbnb understood this, they optimized every aspect of their customer experience strategy to deliver around this promise through storyboarding 45 different moments for each customer to meet their needs.

Challenge #3: The C-suite leaders see the costs of this customer experience strategy overhaul and aren’t convinced of the impact that a CX transformation will have on the bottom line.

The goal of your customer experience strategy is to optimize and personalize every step of your customer’s journey – and the ROI has definitely been proven for undertaking this effort. When done correctly, i.e. not cutting corners like some of your leaders may recommend, you’re able to deliver a truly personalized experience to every customer and use all of your data. The results are real:

  • Personalized emails generate six times higher transaction rates. Just imagine what you could do when you spread that increase to your website, product pages, and more.
  • 86 percent of customers will pay more for better customer support and customers spend more based on past experiences. A study from Harvard Business Review found that customers who rated their previous experiences the highest spent 140 percent more than their counterparts who reported the worst previous experiences.
  • Delivering a poor experience is hurting your brand – and you may not even realize it. According to the Customer Experience Impact Report, one angry customer generates an average of 16 anti-referrals to your company.

It’s also important to note that not making these investments doesn’t just mean you’ll miss out on impressing your customers. You are going to actively disappoint them and fail to meet their expectations. When your customers are used to having everything tailored and catered to their needs, they won’t expect anything less from your brand, no matter how much they like your products.

While considering your customer experience strategy, it’s important to consider how relevant you are to your customers. Download our white paper, “From Relevance Laggard to Leader: Becoming more relevant to your customers, communities and staff” to gauge how relevant you are, and learn what the next steps are for relevance maturity.

About Rachel Schultz

Rachel Schultz is the Content Marketing Manager at Coveo. She blends her background in journalism seamlessly with her B2B marketing expertise and obsession with data to create compelling content for the Coveo community. When she’s not working, you’ll find her reading (strictly non-fiction), hanging out with her puppy or taking in all NYC has to offer with her husband.

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