Digitally Transforming the Customer Experience
We have been traveling a lot lately. Why? Here at Regalix, we help large global companies with their customer success and sales enablement initiatives, which include things like digital marketing, knowledge management, customer experiences, sales operations, customer service and support, rewards and loyalty programs, etc., all of which are critical to the business and are today being digitally transformed. While helping businesses transform themselves in these areas we have seen and learned a great deal. Let me share some of the lessons we have learned.
Org Charts, Centralization and Customer Experience Management
We have learned that businesses need a companywide customer experience (CX) leader with a centralized view and strategy. Too often companies have different people managing different segments of the customer journey in different ways and they don’t communicate with each other. They often work in isolated information silos, which leads to a disjointed approach and understanding of their customers’ experiences. A company may deliver exceptional customer experiences in 9 out of 10 interactions, but the customer leaves unhappy as a result of the one negative experience. If that failure and the lessons learned are not communicated companywide, then CX managers may mistakenly believe they have succeeded, when in fact it was a failure for both the customer and the brand.
Customer experience management (CXM) is about considering the entire end-to-end customer journey and making sure the holistic experience is extraordinary. It recognizes all the customer interaction points, monitoring each, removing friction and creating an overall CXM view. Improving the CX often means the entire customer journey must be analyzed with a fresh set of eyes. Those invested in the development and management of existing processes are often too invested or defensive to be objective. As part of our work, we are often called to play the role of a new customer, or an existing customer with a problem, so we can experience a customer’s journey and document our experiences.
One of the key metrics we look for and document is friction. The more friction in the system, the harder it is for a customer to get through it and be satisfied. Lower CSAT scores mean fewer sales, less brand loyalty, and less referral business in the future.
We document the things that cause friction. Here are some common ones:
- Too many steps to accomplish a task on a website, mobile app or form
- Processes are too confusing, repetitive or convoluted
- User interfaces (UI) are confusing or too complex
- Instructions are unclear or confusing
- Directions on what to do next are unclear
- Processes take too long
- Self-service options are unavailable
- Information is stored in separate silos requiring searches in multiple locations
- Too many logins and passwords required
- Websites or mobile apps jump you out to third party sites without clearly stating why
- Information is hard to find and difficult to understand
- Vendors ask for too much information up front
- Vendor asks for information they already have
- Problems take too long to resolve
- Call center representatives are not informed, not trained enough or don’t have access to the right information to quickly resolve issues
- Loyalty programs ask for a lot of information and commitment, but don’t deliver customer loyalty
- Rewards programs don’t offer rewards that motivate
We capture and analyze the friction points, and then recommend ways to remove or reduce the friction for the purpose of improving CXs. Reducing friction generally involves a series of steps like:
- A review of current processes, user interfaces, applications, systems, decision structures and technologies necessary to identify the sources of obvious and hidden friction points.
- A brutally honest understanding of how customers feel about their experiences at each step in the customer journey
- UI and process improvement and/or re-engineering to reduce friction
- Digital transformation – often involving the sharing of information across the CX ecosystem, strategic applications of predictive analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, CXM platforms, content and knowledge management systems, automation and personalization engines.
- Human augmentation – providing intelligent tools and applications to help your customer facing teams deliver the best customer experiences possible.
- Creativity – looking at innovative new ways of delivering products and services that may involve new business models and subscription services.
As you can see, there is a great deal of digital transformation happening in CXM today. Companies that are laggards in their CXM maturity and sophistication, will soon find their customers have abandoned them.