No matter what product you sell or what service you offer, your primary concern as a business owner or operator must be making it easy for customers to work with you.
It doesn’t matter how wonderful your product or service is. If you make it difficult for customers to access your services, purchase your products, receive customer service, or find the answers to their questions… you won’t have them as customers for very long.
Your job is to ensure that every interaction a customer has with your business and your brand is good. Therefore, you must meet their needs in a timely fashion at every stage of their customer journey. When they are satisfied, they will become loyal fans. When they become loyal fans, they will not only return to do business with you in the future, they’ll be shouting your praise from the rooftops, sending new business your way, and acting as a constant referral source for new customers.
When you’ve achieved that level of service, your business will not only survive, it will thrive.
Sounds wonderful, right? Now how do you do it? It’s called Customer Experience Transformation, and it’s something you can implement in your business today.
Customer Experience Transformation
The simple definition is that customer experience transformation is the practice of streamlining sales and service processes within your business to improve customers’ interactions with your brand.
If you're struggling to provide an amazing customer service experience, this would damper your ability to retain your existing customers and as word gets out, attract new customers. So, in order to continue to deliver high-quality service, you need to incorporate customer experience transformation.
Customer Experience Transformation Framework
Within this concept, there is an in-depth Customer Experience Transformation Framework that will help you overhaul four key areas within your organization:
1. The company’s vision and strategy - Must be customer-focused.
2. Employees/ Talent - Create a collaborative environment across teams and departments.
3. Operations - Implement processes and procedures to foster collaboration.
4. Technology - Create a technical infrastructure that enables collaboration and customer-focused strategy.
We’ll discuss how to enable a transformation experience in a moment. But, first, let’s discuss the benefits of incorporating CX transformation.
The Business Benefits of Customer Experience Transformation
When you transform the customer experience in your business, you are likely to see several benefits (beyond happier customers). These include:
- Improved Performance - Streamlining processes improve the customer experience and the employee experience. This promotes a positive service culture and will make it a better, more productive environment for all.
- Increased Adaptability - Consumer needs and preferences are constantly changing, as is the market in which you operate. Focusing on CX can help you adapt to changes faster and pivot more productively.
- Higher Retention - When customers are more satisfied with their experiences and interactions with your brand, they are more likely to remain loyal to your business, resulting in a higher Customer lifetime value (CLV).
- Better Efficiency - Focusing on the customer experience will create more efficient teams within your organization who assist each other in providing the best support possible.
How to Enable Customer Experience Transformation
Implementing any changes in an organization can be a frightening undertaking. However, a change that must span across every department of your business sounds downright terrifying. But, of course, if you approach this without a solid plan in place, you’re likely to fail.
Fortunately, there’s a formula you can follow that will help you easily and seamlessly incorporate customer experience transformation into your business, causing little distress to yourself and your employees. Ideally, the only thing your customers will notice is that doing business with you just got a lot easier.
To rethink the way your organization approaches customer experience, you’ll need to consider three critical building blocks:
1. Visualize the level of service you want to deliver.
What do you want the customer experience to look like? To deliver on this aspirational ideal, you’ll want to ensure that you focus on your company’s purpose and your brand’s promise. In order to do this, take your company mission into account and identify what changes in customer behavior you’d like to see. With this determined, it’s easy to put the focus on where it should be… people instead of numbers.
2. Overhaul your business.
This isn’t meant to scare you, but to make you realize that you can’t implement change with “the way it’s always been” kinds of programs. If you are committed to CX transformation, commit to the changes necessary to make it work.
Instead of delegating responsibilities to different departments across your organization, (which will lead to communication problems and individuals not taking ownership of their role), create a new team that is cross-functional and has the technical expertise, a problem-solving mindset, and the willingness to take full ownership of their responsibilities. These individuals must have the ability to redesign the customer experiences and develop your products and services so they are better in line with your brand.
3. Build new capabilities for your business.
As these changes are implemented, you’ll need the infrastructure to support them. This will look different depending on your business and industry, however, they are likely to include a few critical things.
Ongoing training for employees so they have the skills and confidence to deliver an amazing customer experience.
These include “hard skills” such as utilizing specific software or technology and “soft skills” including empathy and communication. If the first person that answers a call for help, is unable to provide the necessary assistance, your customer will experience wait times, either on the phone or waiting for a call back) and will likely become more and more frustrated with every passing moment.
Technology that supports a positive omnichannel customer experience.
All platforms must integrate with one another to provide ease of use for customers and for the employees that directly support them. Imagine the issues that would arise if a customer orders a product online and then calls your company for assistance, only to find out that your employees don’t have access to the online ordering system.
Utilize big data to fill in the gaps regarding customer experience.
While receiving feedback from customers is priceless, you will rarely get a completely accurate view of what they are experiencing, feeling, and telling their friends. Using predictive analytics and machine learning, you can determine the quality of any customer interaction and predict their satisfaction with the situation, and whether they will continue to patronize your business.
One of the most important things to keep in mind as you travel along this Customer Experience Transformation journey is that it’s all about your customers. Put yourself in their shoes as you reevaluate how you do business. You may receive feedback during this time that you don’t like. While you may not believe it, agree with it, or understand how anyone could perceive your company and brand in this manner, the hard-to-swallow reality is that this is their perception. If you’d like to continue working with these customers, you’ll need to embrace the feedback.
That being said, there will always be outliers. There will always be customers who don’t like a specific aspect of your business or your product, however, they appear to be the only ones. Like any feedback, when you hear it from many people, there’s a change that needs to be made. When you only hear it from one, there may not be a need to alter your behavior or processes just yet. Adequately evaluate all the feedback you receive before enacting changes.
When you sit down at your desk each day, ask yourself one question:
“How can I make the experience of doing business with my company, a better one for customers?”
When you approach your business (and train employees to do the same) with a customer-centric mindset, you’ll create a better customer experience, happier customers and employees, and a healthier bottom line.