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Customer Experience (CX) is one of the most highly discussed topics in organizations today. By definition, CX encompasses all interactions across the entire life cycle of the customer relationship. According to a Gartner study, “customer experience ( is the new marketing battlefront. More than two-thirds of marketers responsible say their companies compete mostly on the basis of CX. And in two years’ time, 81% say they expect to be competing mostly or completely on the basis of CX.”  Other research by Bain reveals a significant difference in perceptions between what executives think about the experience that they provide customers, versus what customers think about the experience that they receive. They found that while 80% of companies believe they deliver “super experiences,” only 8% of customers agree.

To be effective, a CX strategy must be aligned across the organization and encompass all customer touch points. The survey results found that conflicting key performance indicators and lack of alignment are among the biggest hurdles to achieving CX success.

Address Alignment to Improve Customer Experience

Alignment is especially critical to developing a CX strategy that results in positive, consistent, and brand-relevant experiences for your customers. Your business must align organizational goals between departments and lines of business to facilitate the best customer experience possible.

The first step in moving your CX initiative forward is to fully understand the actual customer experience. The saying, “walk-a-mile in their shoes” could not be more apropos. One of the best ways to begin to capture the customer experience is with a journey mapping exercise. This process helps you understand what it is like for your customer to interact with your business. The good, the bad, and the ugly of your customers’ experience becomes apparent through this exercise. Once you have the map, you can begin to prioritize your next steps.

Develop you service model to support your customer experience strategy.

Define Your Service Model

Customer experience has tremendous impact on customer loyalty. How a customer engages with your organization in order to do business with you is known as your service model.

Your service model consists of various touch points that set the tone for overall customer satisfaction, trust and loyalty. These touch points include interactions across all the functions within your organization – Marketing, Sales, Service, Operations, Product, Finance, and so on–from transactions via phone, meetings with account teams, receipt and payment of invoices, to using the website and social media channels.

Satisfaction at each of these touch points should be measured and managed because each one influences loyalty–positive sentiment, purchases, references, etc. If the service model meets your customers’ needs and expectations, they will be loyal and become brand advocates. Strong advocacy demonstrated by referrals reduces your acquisitions costs and sales cycle and improves your win rate.

To Improve Customer Experience Capture Critical Touch Points

Start with two key steps to guide the development of your service model.

In-depth interviews and focus groups are two of the best ways to begin collecting customer touch point and experience information. These types of conversations make it possible to identify and understand all the stages your customers experience across the life cycle, and from these conversations you can learn about the specific contact points customers have when they do business with you. The objective of this step is to define the broad stages (such as purchase, delivery, deployment, service) and their associated contact points (trouble tickets, invoices, contracts, etc.). It shouldn’t be surprising if you end up with a complex map that includes a large number of stages with a multitude of contacts.

Once you have the touch points mapped, the next step is to understand the following attributes for each touch point: frequency, value in the experience, impact on loyalty, and level of satisfaction. Transactional and intercept surveys can help with capturing this information. This level of information will help you associate touch points with loyalty and business impact, enabling the development of a CX strategy that will create a predictable, consistent and positive experience and prioritize to your action plan.

These steps defining and mapping the touch points and determining their attributes are to essential to your CX strategy to leave to guessing or an ad hoc approach.  If you don’t have the expertise internally, connect with experts.

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