How brands can build superior customer experiences - Part 1

cx1

It’s not personal. it’s just business!

When it comes to creating a great customer experience (CX) for the consumer goods industry, it’s ultimately all about the feelings that our consumers and customers experience when they engage with our products and services; and, importantly, the relationships we build with them along the way.

 

5 principles for leading with empathy and trust

Successful brands thrive on creating lasting customer relationships grounded in empathy, trust and transparency. Companies that have invested in building trust with their customers bring in 5.7 times more revenue than their competitors.

There are five key principles that we believe will help your brand stay close to the needs of your customers. 

In the words of your customers:

 

  • Know me: Get to know me (your customer), my priorities, challenges, channel of choice and consumer demographic (for B2B customers).
  • Protect me: Please protect me from your internal silos. You are one of the many suppliers that I deal with, so I don’t want to have to repeat myself when speaking to multiple people and departments within your organization.
  • Be where I am: Know my preferred channels. Be aware of important events and critical timelines for me and my business. Show me content and prices tailored to me and my budget.

And particularly in the case of B2B customers:

  • Invest in me and my development: I’m surviving in a very competitive landscape, so help me thrive. Share some best practices and insights to help me grow my business.
  • Be my business partner: Don’t just see me as someone who buys from you; rather, see me as someone who has mutually beneficial goals.

In summary: in order to understand what it’s like to be your customer, step into your customer’s shoes. Be your (own) customer, shop for your customer, buy your products, use your products, request support and gain an empathetic understanding of how it feels to be your customer. Failing to understand changing customer needs can lead to poor CX, or even customer churn.

 

Move away from selling and start serving your customer

Whether your business is B2B or B2C, your customers no longer go through a linear customer journey. They can now enter or exit a journey at multiple stages and switch channels simultaneously, whenever they choose.

Therefore, driving growth in the new digital economy takes more than just shifting the existing process and data into digital touch points and requires an organizational shift where product and service innovation is centered around a connected customer with ever-evolving expectations.

This means moving away from the notion of selling to serving, and wholly understanding customers, requiring brands to think about the foundational blocks of CX:

 

  • Investing in the relationship with customers and understanding them.
  • Understanding what step your customers are at in their relationship with your organization. The goal is to effortlessly solve problems in the current stage of the relationship, predict where they will go next, and then prescribe actions.
  • Evaluating the customer’s touch points and interactions; e.g., sales reps, distributors, website, social media, and so on.
  • Clearly mapping what products and services you offer at each interaction point.
  • Remove friction between different stages without causing negative sentiment.

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Segment customers from a behavioral perspective 

In order to create superior CX experiences, it’s crucial to segment customers from a behavioral, not demographic, perspective. No two customer personas are the same: some customers are more tech savvy, whilst others are bargain hunters.

A key step in understanding the customer persona is harnessing voice-of-customer (VOC) knowledge and data.

Leading brands are expanding beyond the use of traditional surveys to include insights generated from utilizing contact center communications, customer interactions with sales and marketing, and indirect data. They’re turning that data into knowledge of their customers’ sentiment, context and experiences.

The good news is that recent acceleration in process automation and sophisticated self-service capabilities are making customer data more available, offering better access to customer needs and behavior.

Conducting qualitative research and repeating it at regular intervals will help you to understand your customer’s voice, changes in their behavior and sentiment.

 

Map out the emotional makeup of a customer journey 

I often come across customer journeys that look like incredibly complex pieces of wall art that don’t get updated often enough. 

To be able to create a living, breathing tool to plan your CX roadmap, there are a number of steps to consider (when your company is thriving): 

 

  • Map out the emotional makeup of the customer journey:
    • This would include how a customer arrives at the start of their journey, the history they have with your brand, and any concerns or barriers around the brand values, such as sustainability and social values.
  • For every stage of the journey, clearly map out what your customers are:
    • Expecting
    • Feeling
    • Thinking
  • Understand what type of interaction your customer has with your brand at each stage of their journey and what their general sentiment is.
  • Map out your partners’ journeys (those who are delivering the end experience to the customers):
    • If your customers interact directly with a distributor or a partner rather than you, map the customer journey and the distributor journey.
  • Establish which micro journeys are causing friction; for example, in an order delivery journey, is it the fulfillment part that causes a long delay and a negative experience?
  • Map the entire ecosystem – identify key people, processes and technology:
    • How does the data flow in this journey?
    • Where are different departments getting their information?
    • Where are the low-hanging  fruits , or quick wins, where we can get on the same page? In a fully mapped-out ecosystem, it’s easier to communicate throughout the entire customer journey.

By taking these first steps, you can then decide:

  • What happens when a customer gets extremely frustrated? (And why?)
  • What are the make-or-break points in this journey?
  • Quantify the cost of breakage at every point
  • What improves the journey and fills in the gaps you have in terms of tech, employees and interactions?

This will then enable you to find the low-hanging fruits and build a priority roadmap.

Read the second part of this series here.

See what more we do for consumer goods. 

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