Businesses need to put CX at the heart of everything they do – outlining five ways in which this can be achieved, and the benefits that come with it.
With the continuing cost of living crisis and inflation on the rise again, it’s hard not to be despondent when it comes to growing your business.
The old adage that it costs more to win new customers than it does to retain the ones you have definitely rings true. It also makes a shift in thinking from a profit-driven approach to a customer-driven one even more essential.
Most successful businesses prioritise the needs of their customers already, so moving to CX-led thinking does not require completely reinventing the wheel.
Instead, it is more about building a strategy based around long term partnerships with your customers, gaining an understanding of what they need and tailoring your communications, products and services to meet those needs.
Put simply, great CX is about putting the customer first and the following five principles lie at its core.
We’ve put these tenets to the test at Purple Square, as we’ve shifted our business model from leading with technology expertise to ensuring CX is at the heart of all the work we do.
1. Strategy and vision
Successful organisations have a clear and shared vision for what defines great CX. Knowing where you are; where you’re going; and understanding the challenges you need to overcome, and the gaps you need to fill to get there, are essential when it comes to defining this vision and developing an effective CX strategy.
It can be difficult to stay focused on a long term vision, especially in the face of uncertainty. As such, it helps to define your ultimate aim (or ‘North Star’) to establish a clear direction of travel while still leaving room for flexibility in how you achieve it.
For example, underpinning a five-year strategic vision with quarterly and yearly targets can help teams to stay motivated as they work toward more tangible goals.
Taking things step-by-step also means you can measure what’s working (and what’s not) along the way. This allows you to adjust to extenuating circumstances much more easily than trying to keep a huge five-plus year long transformation project on track by working toward a single nebulous goal at its conclusion.
To achieve great CX, you need to ensure that your clients are at the heart of your marketing operations. This means you need to understand your interactions with customers and what touchpoints are most important to them – and have the processes and systems in place to effectively manage and optimise them.
Having established, consistent marketing operation processes in place that your team can – and does – follow is essential. This structure helps to establish best practices and minimise risk, allowing your team to optimise the way they work, unlock new opportunities and deliver a consistent and meaningful CX.
3. Data and insight
Your data is an essential tool that can provide valuable insights into your customers, helping you to understand and build meaningful relationships with them. Before you rely on it, however, you need to know where to find it, whether or not you are confident in it and if you can make use of it.
Consolidating disparate inbound and outbound data not only makes it more accessible for anyone on your marketing team, but can help to provide an audit trail for customer information, determining its source and whether or not it can be relied upon to provide the foundation for targeted campaigns and customer outreach.
They may be fourth in the list, but your people are arguably the most important element when it comes to delivering great CX. People can work around data issues or woolly processes, but even the best processes cannot solve ‘people issues’ like overworked teams or under-trained employees.
Ensure your team has the right skills and expertise in place to deliver the change you need when it comes to great CX. Whether it’s gained through training and development or professional experience, you’ll need people on your team with the knowledge to manage and optimise customer journeys.
They also need to understand their personal responsibilities and accountability at each step of the process – and be given the time to reflect.
A team focused solely on meeting deadlines and delivering campaigns can easily lose sight of how customers are responding to their needs. This approach not only stifles innovation and creativity, but can prove detrimental to engaging with customers and building valuable relationships with them.
From a B2B perspective, it is important to have a structure in place that allows your team and customers to engage with each other to avoid your clients viewing you simply as trouble-shooters or your products and services as commodities.
I’ve always said that when it comes to great CX, technology is an enabler, but not a magic bullet.
For example, investing in a customer data platform (CDP) alone will not drive change or transform your business into a customer-focused one. Choosing the right platform to complement your CX strategy, processes and people, however, can help to manage and optimise your customer journeys.
As with the vision and strategy, it is important to take a step-by-step approach when it comes to technology. Rarely do you need to throw out everything you have and invest in a new system.
It is about making the most of what you have, adding new functionality where you need it, eliminating what does not serve your new customer-focus and, most importantly, ensuring that your team is equipped to use and understand the technology so it becomes a help rather than a hindrance.
Shifting your business focus from a profit or product focus to a customer-driven one does not need to be a behemoth task.
Using data, insight and expertise to connect and build relationships with your customers is essential when it comes to understanding and meeting their needs.
Setting short-term, measurable goals with your team also helps your business to be more agile in the face of unexpected obstacles, keeping things on track and focussed on achieving the long term vision of delivering great CX. If you want to discuss how we can help you improve your customer experiences, contact us.
This article was also featured on mycustomer.com, you can read it here.