I have two pieces of old news to report. First, the world is changing faster than ever. The second piece of old news: customers are more empowered than ever and have almost complete control over their own journey. So, what is the real news today? These two well-established trends have joined forces to push companies to think way beyond the already challenging task of keeping up a great a great product or service. The opportunity is in the complete customer experience, and the bonus goes to who can anticipate their customers’ unmet needs and expectations. As they say, “what got you here won’t keep you here.”
Still, I’m seeing some resistance and even some denial from within some of our clients. Customer-centricity can challenge the internal operational mindset of a company. Sometimes the customer experience is thought of as something the contact center has to deal with down the line. Other times, the marketing organization is in the best position to advocate for the customer, but the rest of the organization sees them as simply brand and promotion. Rallying the organization around customer experience (CX) can be challenging. Here, we share a few of the rally cries that are working.
4 Ways to Excel at CX:
1. Have Empathy for Your Customers
Establishing customer empathy means deeply understanding who your customer is, how they think, what their needs are, and how what you do impacts them. Customer research is a tried and true tool for empathy-building, but too often it’s only used when launch a new product or a transformational strategy. Your company may have big transformational ambitions but shouldn’t forget to address the “now.” It’s more expensive to gain a new customer than to retain an existing one, so balancing the now, the new, and the next comes from the insights from ongoing empathy-building.
2. Cater to the Entire Customer Journey
A client of ours, a leading athletic wear company, recently ranked No. 1 in Total Retail’s list of top omni-channel retailers. As I wrote in a previous blog post, the company “created a unified experience that allows customers to engage with the brand however, whenever, and wherever they want.” Truly understanding and improving the customer journey requires more than empathy. Today’s journeys are nonlinear and can start and end anywhere. That’s why it’s important to consider the entire journey across all channels. Being prepared to show how customer success requires coordination from different departments is a good foundational move.
3. Strike the Right Balance Behind the Scenes
Anyone can make shiny objects. However, your great ideas need to actually work and to actually drive business. It’s not just about what’s next. It’s also making sure what’s now or new to you also gets attention because customers’ expectations are continuously evolving and constantly raising the bar. Don’t ignore one end of the innovation spectrum at the expense of the other, by, say, over investing in technology and under investing in operations.
4. Be Adaptable to Change
Building strategy is an attempt at predicting the future and making smart choices with scarce resources, funding, and time. But the reality is that you have to be prepared to make ongoing, risk-tolerable decisions and be ready react to changes. And because customer expectations (and the world) are changing all the time, the cornerstone of a strategy is not about prediction, but about agility and change.
Want More Digital Transformation Advice?
The digital transformation strategies I share in this blog post draw from Perficient’s e-book, “How to Make Digital Transformation Gains in 2019.” In it, my fellow Perficient Chief Strategists and I share real-world examples from conversations with today’s leading brands at various stages of digital transformation. Our 10-chapter e-book features our business insights, actions to take now, and client success stories. Download it here or via the form below.
Next in the Series
This blog series is part of a special series inspired by our e-book. In the next post, Perficient Chief Strategist Scott Albahary will share tips for pinpointing your value proposition.
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About the Author
Jim Hertzfeld leads the Strategy and Innovation team for Perficient Digital, providing customer experience insights, ideation, and investment strategies for Perficient’s digital solutions. Jim co-founded the Digital Strategy Group for Meritage Technologies in 2000 that was acquired by Perficient in 2004. He also authored Perficient’s Envision strategy methodology in 2005, which has resulted in a number of client engagements and established new client relationships focused on digital strategy and customer experience.