1. Understand your customer needs
Brands need to put their customers first and focus on truly understanding their customer needs as well as the challenges they face. This understanding must come from informed research, customer opinion and market insight. Making a guess on customer needs is simply not good enough, and may not yield positive customer experience.
2. Identify customer touchpoints
Brands also need to identify and prioritise all relevant customer touchpoints, and make sure that performance is measured and analysed. For example, if a customer finds a pair of sunglasses that he or she loves in an Instagram post, the brand must account for all potential future touchpoints the customer may encounter. This includes:
What does the full Instagram profile look like when he or she clicks on the brand page?
How easy would it be to find reviews for the sunglasses and the link to purchase them online?
How seamless is the checkout process?
How proactive are status updates on delivery?
How quickly and effectively are issues resolved?
How can the brand capture the customer’s feedback without causing inconvenience?
3. Manage customer interactions across the enterprise
Customer touchpoints do not work in isolation. In order to create positive customer experience and build loyalty, touchpoints need to be managed holistically. This includes any touchpoint (e.g. sales process, business process and company culture) that directly and indirectly interacts with the customer.
Back to the sunglasses example, the website where the customer makes the purchase must harmoniously link to the company’s inventory, order processing, packaging, delivery services and so on. Each group servicing a customer touchpoint must work together to capture and reference data collected in each and every step.
Of course, customer experience across all touchpoints must also tie back to the company culture. Each touchpoint must reflect the mission, values and character of the brand. Being customer-centric is essential and needs to be anchored in the organization.
4. Build a customer-centric organisation
It may take time and effort to build a customer-centric organisation (through an effective customer experience programme that connects all touchpoints), but doing so will result in improved business outcomes across the enterprise. One of the best practices for customer experience management is the creation of a customer-centric culture. While this may seem hard to achieve, simple measures can be taken such as communicating customer experience to all stakeholders, connecting metrics to corporate rewards and developing a strategy that aligns with the corporate strategy.
To stay in the race, customer experience management should be a strategic priority and be allocated to a dedicated ‘owner’ in top management. A Harvard Business Review research shows that leading-edge companies that provide sufficient funding, processes and strategy for customer experience management perform significantly better across all business metrics. This ranges from higher customer retention rates, improved market share and accelerated growth to increased profitability.
5. Improve continuously
Successful customer experience management (CXM) is a continuous process. While maintaining its stance as an integral part of marketing operations, a good CXM model would push for constant improvement based on KPIs. Reinventing and making changes to the marketing, communications and social media strategy should take place when your metrics tell you that a specific channel simply doesn’t add value.
Netcentric’s Double-Diamond Model
To help our clients build customer-centric brands, Netcentric has developed what we call the“double-diamond model”, which aims to continually envision, shape, implement and manage positive customer experiences.