What are the basic building blocks that any business should have in place to deliver great CX? Here are the five fundamental principles that provide the foundation for providing great Customer Experience.
Step 1: Have a continuous understanding of what is important to your customers
In practice, this means a weekly (or at a ‘best in class’ level – daily) understanding of what your customers think and how this evolves. Customer expectations are constantly changing, not just in response to actions that you take, but also about those of your competition and wider factors. This continuous understanding should be across the entire customer base – not the small sample that speak to support or who fill in those 10-minute surveys.
Would you still have a viable business if your only customers were those prepared to give you the time to complete a 10-minute survey?
Step 2: Understand not just how likely your customers are to recommend you, but why
Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a useful metric, but the key is to understand the ‘why’ behind the score. What are the actual drivers behind the sentiment a customer holds towards you?
As with any insights, the way the data is collected is crucial. Rather than biasing the results by asking customers to select from a list of options, the key is getting their unprompted feedback. Let them tell you what is important to them — you will often be surprised.
How would the response differ if you asked someone “What do you think of the cost of your iPhone? vs. What do you think of your iPhone?
Step 3: Understand this throughout the customer journey
An experience of interacting with an organisation differs depending on the stage of their journey. Many organisations experience a significant drop off in interaction after a first or second order, but often the change in relationship is much more subtle.
Understanding how different customer segments feel at various stages of their interaction with your organisation allows you to identify touch points where your customer experience needs work. These pockets of bad customer experiences, segmented by customer type, can then be rectified.
A significant focus on customer acquisition combined with trying something new (like switching from website to app-only service) often means customers are satisfied initially, but this then diminishes over time.
Step 4: React to customers in near real time
‘Closing the loop’ with clients is one of the most important and biggest opportunities. Not only does it give you a great opportunity to convert detractors into promoters, but it also allows you to thank loyal customers for their comments and notify them of changes you made as a result. This is only possible if you can listen and respond promptly to a customer.
It is worth remembering that asking for feedback and then being seen to ignore it (whether by failing to acknowledge it or failing to act on it) is one of the surest ways to anger customers.
A proportion of customers will judge a business based on incorrect information: “You don’t deliver in my area” when in fact, you do. Closing the loop is a remarkably easy way to retain these customers who would otherwise be lost.
Step 5: Understand how teams impact Customer Experience
It’s easy to have one person responsible for CX. But great CX is a cornerstone of the company culture, and everyone knows how they impact it. Each team knows where to focus on improving experiences.
If there were two football teams — one where the goalkeeper was responsible for stopping the opposition from scoring and one where the entire team was in charge of preventing goals — it’s not difficult to guess which team would win more matches.
These five principles represent the framework for great Customer Experience and should be the starting point for any company. They may seem resource intensive, but for most businesses, it’s possible to set up the fundamentals in a short space of time.