When it comes to finding a competitive edge, one of the most powerful but surprisingly underused strategies is a focus on customer experience.
Nearly all companies will tell you that they put customers at the center of their business. For good reasons, customer experience brings better customer relationships and more business in the long run. But without a formal, customer strategy, companies lose some valuable opportunities.
Taking a comprehensive approach can breathe new life into a company’s customer experience and unlock potential across an entire organization.
Here are four basic steps that apply to businesses of all sizes to create momentum for your CX strategy and program:
- Assigning an owner with executive leadership support – Assigning someone to lead your CX charge seems like an obvious move, but it’s one that many businesses don’t make. Besides the operational advantage of having someone in charge, a go-to person helps give your program the visibility, accountability and focus that it deserves. CX leaders will need executive support across the board if you want to develop a solid program. Fundamentally, good CX strategies bring a cultural shift at their core, making the customer a fundamental voice in important decisions.
- Aligning with your brand promise – Most companies have a brand promise that orients customers to the long-term benefits of the relationship. CX leaders and their programs play a big role in ensuring their organization’s actions deliver on their company’s brand promise. By listening to your customers, you can determine what they expect from your brand and how it should make them feel. These categories generally reflect business competencies. These competencies become your foundational elements of a CX strategy that you can turn into your CX Commitment.
- Knowing your North Star – Customer emotions apply to business-to-business as well as business-to-consumer markets. Brands are defined by more than the consistent nature and value of your business competencies. Over time and across the customer journey, customers will develop an emotional connection. This emotional bond is commonly referred to as the North Star. Emotional connection should mean everything to your brand and it should be nurtured and protected by your company along with your CX Commitment.
- Setting your rallying cry – You’re now ready to help move the business, its priorities, and investments in a direction that aligns with what customers value the most in your brand. Try starting with your existing projects and investments. And remind your employees about your CX Commitment and North Star in regular communications, CX Day events and every other occasion. Of course, customer feedback through surveys, interviews and employee feedback will let you know when you’re straying off course.
Customers want – and deserve – to be heard. So be sure they know about opportunities to provide feedback. Then follow-up with a simple closed-loop conversation that allows you to confirm their feedback and respond with an action plan.
Every strategy and program need a starting point, a banner, or a flag to generate momentum and success. These four simple steps can be used to kick-start or reinvigorate your journey of becoming a truly customer-centric business with a competitive edge. And, in the process, when you have proven yourself as a trusted business partner, you’ve created business relationships that can last a lifetime.