What the hell is CX?
The term CX (Customer Experience) is ever more visible in LinkedIn profiles, job titles and sales and marketing publications. It is becoming so ubiquitous that it’s time to get to know it if you don’t already.
All companies whether b2b and b2c now know that, in an increasingly online world, the power of referral and customers’ recommendations is the new sales pipeline.
Your customers are now your sales team and how they talk about their experience with a company is an ever-growing trigger for customer acquisition, cross sales and retention.
The focus needs to shift more to this reality for companies to thrive.
It’s no longer just about service or pricing because for referrals and stories to live, the customer must become passionate or willing to talk about you to others.
Customer Experience (or CX) was born out of this need. It’s defined as how a person feels about all of the interactions with your company. If I feel strongly or positively about my experience with you, your product or your people, I will share the story, I will fill out the testimonial, I will take pride in selling you to others.
With this at its core, CX is essentially a suite of tools, processes and management styles that tangibly put the customer at the heart of a company, reduce staff burnout and provide metrics that show its impact on income and company’s profitability.
Ok I get it. But what is involved?
There is a suite of tools involved to help companies deliver better experiences through CX practices/processes. Remember whether in a b2b or b2c scenario a customer is still a customer! The three biggies are:
- Developing a Customer Promise – CX practitioners are skilled in developing a clearly defined attractive statement about the unique experience you provide to your customers. It is the answer to a question a customer may never ask but drives their choices… what makes your company worthwhile to me? Think brand values meets customers’ needs.
- Creating Customer Personas – A persona is a detailed personality profile of how a specific customer type behaves, their needs, attitudes and motivations. It’s a way of aligning the customer promise to specific customer types and for staff to ‘walk’ more in these customers’ shoes. For those in the marketing world it’s like segmentation but on a much more personalised, needs based approach.
- Customer Journey Mapping – The customer journey map is a tool to visualize the experience of interacting with your brand from the customer’s point of view. This map is critical because it forces you to look at how your customers experience your brand versus how you think they do. By better understanding your customers, you can better deliver on their expectations. It differs from other project management mapping tools like six sigma in that feelings and pain points are identified where the customer feels frustrated, confused etc. Opportunities lie within these points.
All well and good but how is dealing with customer feelings going to help my bottom line?
This was an area CX struggled in for many years as a relatively new discipline. C-suite could not see the link to the bottom line and CX roles in companies were given lip service.
However, this is rapidly changing now that clearer links are being identified between a company’s net promoter scores (i.e., what percentage of customers would recommend us) and sales, cross sales and customer lifetime value.
Other metrics include Average Resolution Time, Customer Effort Score, Customer Churn and Net Emotional Value scores.
Fortune 500 companies are investing significantly in ramping up their CX departments and profits are being attributed to the way the customer is looked after. CEOs of these companies are backing this up by increasingly including customer stories within their individual communication.
So, remind me, what do I need to know?
CX is how a customer feels about all aspects of dealing with your company. Any CX programme will have three main building blocks; customer promise, personas and journeys. It’s measurable and in a world where customer word of mouth is king increasingly drives profits.