What are the benefits of Customer Experience (CX), and how does it differentiate from UX, Sales, Marketing and Support?
Traditionally, organisations have been set up to operate with multiple divisions (aka silos). Each division would be responsible for its customer interactions.
In its most basic format:
Marketing is responsible for building brand awareness.
Product is responsible for developing the product/s.
The sales team is responsible for bringing in revenue.
The customer service team is responsible for resolving customers’ problems.
Finally, c suite and the leadership team are responsible for building out a strategic plan and growing the business.
A simple and straightforward target operating model, however, who is taking ownership of the customer? Who takes responsibility for ensuring that the customer is happy and engaged in every step of the process? Who is ensuring problems don’t arise in the first place?
Yes, there is sometimes collaboration between departments, but rarely is there a single customer strategy that all departments and staff can follow and have ownership of.
For example, a company wanted to automate its onboarding process by removing labour-intensive tasks, allowing it to scale its customer numbers rapidly.
The UX team designed an excellent onboarding application, and the development team created it entirely as it was intended. However, customers didn’t like it, they wouldn’t use it, and the company lost sales.
A CX analysis would have discovered that one of their critical differentiators over their competitors was the human element of the onboarding process and the support they received from the implementation team.
By automating the process, they lost their differentiator, and their prospective customers went with the cheaper option, which was also automated.
How is customer experience (CX) different to UX?
The comparison or linking of UX with CX is not incorrect per se; instead, it only focuses on a narrow aspect of the Customer Experience.
UX looks at how a user interacts with your product or website but doesn’t look at all aspects of the customer journey, such as:
How does that user come to be using your product?
Why are they using the product?
What will make them want to keep using it?
And what enhancements would they like to see in the future?
CX tends to look at the bigger picture.
When speaking with start-up tech founder to discuss the benefits of implementing a Customer Strategy, I’m regularly asked:
Aren’t UX and CX the same thing?
Isn’t User Experience more critical than Customer Experience for a Start-up?
Don’t we need a high number of customers before we worry about a CX strategy?
Unfortunately, the answer to all the above is No.
Valid questions, though I believe there is too much emphasis put into creating, selling, or marketing a product rather than the long-term strategic plan of articulating the problem(s) you’re trying to solve. And, how you’re going to engage with and support your customers?
Questions I tend to ask in response are:
Firstly, who is your target customer that you have designed your UX around?
Secondly, have you considered what metrics you’ll track and how they’ll be used?
Finally, what will your process be for listening to the customer and developing or implementing suggestions into your system?
So, is customer experience (CX) a Sales, Marketing, or Support function?
The “CX methodology” is not new by any stretch of the imagination. However, many people still try to categorise it as a function of an existing department that a customer interacts with.
It is true that: Any good marketer knows the benefits of mapping the entire customer journey when developing a campaign.
Additionally, good sales or account managers would be well versed in identifying their customer’s touchpoints and how a customer rates your product against competitors.
A good customer service agent would be able to tell you how satisfied (or not) a customer is with the product or service you supply to them.
But who can claim customer ownership and take responsibility for their experience?
First, we need to understand what Customer Experience is and how it can impact your business.
If you google “What is Customer Experience?” returned will be 100’s of different results with 100’s different ways of explaining it, but mostly they all mean the same thing.
Customer Experience (CX) is about looking at every possible interaction your business, product or service has with a customer. And, morover ensuring that you are delivering the exemplary product/service to the right customer at the right time in the correct format.
Second, most leaders don’t realise that CX also encompasses your internal policies and processes rather than just focusing on the parts of the business that the customer can see.
Six core competencies make up “Customer Experience.”
According to the CXPA (Customer Experience Professional Association), 6 Core competencies make up “Customer Experience”. When we look at each of these benefits, we start to see the impact a CX program can have on your business.
Customer-Centric Culture: It’s crucial to introduce behaviours and practices to ensure that all your staff focus on delivering a great customer experience (not just a single department)
Adoption and Accountability: It’s about driving change across and developing cross-company experience accountability from the C-Suite to the customer-facing team members.
Customer Experience Strategy: A clear vision of the experience your company wants to create for your customers.
Measurements, Metrics and ROI: Creation and reporting of the measures of customer experience success. It helps maintain a customer-centric culture and illustrates the ROI and business value of CX.
Experience Design and Innovation: Implementing practices to continuously improve your product or service based on your customer’s experiences.
Voice of the customer and Customer understanding: The biggest reward you get from a CX program is the ability to collect insights into your customer’s needs, wants, perceptions. Also, preferences that then feedback into your product and your entire business strategy.
So, how do I Implement a customer experience (CX) strategy?
Unfortunately, there is no single blueprint on “How to develop and implement a CX strategy”. It’s a bit like designing a sales script for your product. It needs to be unique to your organisation’s size, the product or service you offer and your target customers.
I recently advised a client to treat their CX strategy like any other business strategy. Then, I break it down into bite-size pieces. Once you map out each stage of the customer journey and the impact your team has on each step, you’ll start to get a better picture of the work that needs to be done.
Be careful, however, not to fall into the common trap that most executives and founders find themselves in by “assuming” they know what their customer wants. (Click on this link to see what happens when you “assume”)
For those who have already tried to create a CX strategy but are not seeing the benefits of any ROI, it’s worth engaging a CX consultant for that external perspective. Also, to help you navigate the process.
However, it’s like doing your finances; if you can’t get your accounts to balance, you hire an Accountant.
But, if you need help developing your customer strategy or would like to discuss the benefits of a CX program in more detail, please feel free to reach me.
CX Loop is a full-service customer consultancy that enables businesses to transform and grow. Whether it’s people, process, or technology change, you can count on our expertise in giving you the competitive edge to attract the right customer.
Phone: 0449 069 065