As The CEO, you obsess about your Customer. You also know you need to transform your Customer Experience. You are aware that customer expectations have risen, however, your company has not evolved to address them. You are committed to CX because you know that how you make your customers feel is as important as what solutions you provide. If you haven’t already made the decision that CX is important, you may want to start researching. You’ll find that CX is consistently a top 3 priority for CEOs.
If you are ready to lead your company in the CXT, read on.
Starting with your CX Vision & Strategy
The last thing you want to do is build out your CX Vision and Strategy in the board room. Get engaged with your customer to gain direct insight into what does and does not create a fulfilling CX. Then, gain indirect insight from each customer facing department to understand the same. If you are unsure of what questions to ask, use the CX Exploratory Questions Tool to get started.
Once you gain this insight, you are ready to incorporate it into your overarching vision and strategy – and equally important, you have the information you need to effectively communicate how each department must evolve to drive the CXT.
Revisiting the Buyer Journey
A fulfilling Customer Experience must start before the customer is a customer. Ever get sold a promise that wasn’t delivered? Sub-optimal buying experiences create detractors within your customer base. Detractors drive reductions in customers and the lifetime value of customers. As you engage with sales, marketing, channel and other front office functions it is essential that CX objectives are embedded within and throughout the buyer journey.
One way to do this is to get granular, defining each touchpoint within the buyer journey. This involves analyzing all digital and physical touchpoints to identify moments that matter. Pro-tip: Don’t forget to do this by persona if you have multiple roles participating in the buyer journey.
Remember, customers can be apprehensive when making a purchase because they are risking time, money, and resources. Driving all front office functions to reduce customer apprehension is critical to CXT. This typically involves creating a buying experience that educates customers, sets expectations, and builds confidence.
Make it a Seamless Transition from Buyer to Customer
Once a buying decision is made, the transition to being a customer must follow through on promises made during the buying process. Many companies fail to do this well. What typically happens is sales people move on to acquire the next deal, knowledge transfer to post-sales functions does not occur, and the customer might have to explain to your company what they bought! Sound familiar?
Instead, this is your opportunity to establish and reinforce the credibility you’ve built during the buying process. Once again, you’ll want to collect the direct insights from customers who recently bought, and combine them with insights from your customer-facing post-sales departments.
At this stage, the customer experience generally anchors on the expectations set throughout the buyer journey. What might be important to your customer is accelerating time to value from the solution they’ve bought. Another theme you might find is they expect increased clarity on how to showcase the solution’s (or product/service) value with internal business partners and leadership teams. But don’t take my word for it, ask your customers!
Your post-sales functions must be ready for the CXT objectives you set here. This means you will hold Pre and Post-Sales functions jointly accountable to ensure a seamless buyer to Customer transition.
Drive Continuous Fulfillment on the Customer Journey
As you transition into a steady state Customer Experience make certain your teams activate and operationalize listening paths to your customers. Customer Experience is continuous, so know that the next opportunity is in front of you. Therefore, your customer-facing departments must continue to proactively and reactively deliver value on an ongoing basis.
Your Customer Success department is your proactive customer value driving department. It exists to drive adoption and increase solution value. When done well your customer typically realizes multiple value propositions: increased capability, increased revenue, and reduced cost. The Customer Success department provides natural cross-sell and upsell motions because it focuses on what is important to the customer. Pro-tip: It is important to remind the customer of solution value on an ongoing basis, so they never forget it and always know how to justify it to their peers.
Finally, your Customer Service function is the reactive arm that has a significant impact on Customer Experience. How you treat your Customer when things aren’t going well for them is critical to the CXT. Too frequently Customer Service is disassociated with Customer Experience, and small issues become massive losses. Not only should there be a focus on Customer Experience, but the service transactions captured should be mined to identify insights. You’d be surprised at how insightful customer service transactions can be and how frequently game-changing information is missed.
As The CEO, Lead the CXT from the Front, by acting as The Voice of The Customer (VOC)
As you gather insight and translate it into action, you will infuse a Customer Experience mindset and culture across your company. Throughout the CXT you must incentivize your leaders to put the customer first. Make sure to bring each leader on the journey, consistently reinforcing the “why behind the what.”
It might seem like a lot of work, but can you afford not to start the CXT? Leading indicators happen sooner than you think. For example, 4 months after starting the CXT a 100+ year old business realized an increase in NPS of 52.3% across key customers. This has translated to a revenue uptick of 1.1% above plan. Moreover, they are increasingly viewed as a strategic partner and are actively unlocking engagement with the right customers. Their future is bright because their CEO acted as the VoC to drive the CXT, and the company has only started to embark on this new journey.
There is no better time than now to jumpstart your CXT.
If you’d like to start planning your CXT, the first step is to gain insight by asking the right questions.
Download the CX Exploratory Questions Tool. It will help you:
- Build a starting point of questions to ask of your buyers and customers
- Understand how your own company perceives the CX
- Start to plan actions that initiate your company’s CXT based on real insight
Other content that can help drive CX strategy and execution:
- 5 Ways Sales Operations Can Champion Customer Experience
- 4 Elements of Superior Customer Success and Customer Experience
- Customer Experience as a Sustainable Competitive Advantage
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