Demystifying Customer Experience (CX)

Many people believe that improving customer experience (CX) is complicated, confusing, expensive and requires a lot of effort.

customer experience

Many people believe that improving customer experience (CX) is complicated, confusing, expensive and requires a lot of effort. I do not believe that is true. A great CX is usually the result of consistently delivering against the customer’s minimal expectations. 

All customers, whether B2C or B2B, want a product or service with the following three characteristics: 

  • a cost that is within their budget
  • quality that meets their expected standards
  • delivery standards that meets their needs 

So in order to improve your CX, a good starting point is to make sure that you understand what your customer’s expectations are in terms of quality and delivery. This understanding will ensure you are tracking the right leading operational KPIs (Key Performance Indicator) to generate the insight you need to consistently meet their expectations, improve your customer loyalty and to grow your top-line. 

So the question becomes: how can you associate your customer experience with your operational performance? Let's look at a few simple steps that will help you get started.

  1. Understand who your customers are - The first step is to build a comprehensive picture of who your customers are. If possible, take a data-driven approach to look at your customers, and then segment them into relevant groups (for example by demographics, behaviours or benefit groups). Customer personas are a useful tool during the analysis to help your organisation understand and empathise with different customer groups.
  2. Visualise customer journeys - A customer journey map is the visual representation of the experience a customer has with an organisation. Customer journey maps allow the business to understand the key interactions with their customers and the moments of truth which they need to  improve to deliver a great and consistent CX. A good customer journey map also captures the different tools and systems supporting the customer journey, as well as the different business teams that get involved.
  3. Gather customer feedback - For businesses to truly understand where to focus, they need to develop approaches for customer listening and customer feedback. It is important for a business to gather both qualitative (customer verbatim gathered through interviews, surveys, etc.) and quantitative feedback using CX metrics like NPS (Net Promoter Score), CSAT (Customer Satisfaction) or CES (Customer Effort Score). This feedback should be captured to understand the customer's perception at 3 different levels - the overall relationship, individual journeys (such as the buying process) and individual touch-points (such as a service call). This feedback is all very valuable, however, it is retrospective. We refer to these as lagging indicators. And this is where leading operational KPIs on quality and delivery have an important role.
  4. Understand your customer’s needs - Now that you know who your customers are, you mapped their journeys as customers, and have their feedback, you need to go one step further and reach out to some select customers to work out their minimum expectations. You can then define the relevant leading operational KPIs and set clear targets to track how well you are meeting your customers’ needs. Additionally, focus on understanding the strengths of the relationship between your leading indicators and your CX metrics so you can better prioritise your efforts. For example, studies have shown that in the UK people value mobile network coverage and consistency, over speed. This information helps telecommunication companies target their efforts.
  5. Create a CX dashboard and drive CX improvements - You now have all the information you need to focus on the right areas that will make a real impact to your customers and their experience. Build a dashboard that allows you to maintain an updated view of your CX metrics, as well as the leading operational KPIs that drive your CX. As much as possible, share these key metrics and targets across your organisation so everyone knows how you are doing. Any improvement initiative you take going forward, should be made with the objective to have a clearly articulated impact on the leading operational KPIs you have set up, and should translate into an improvement in your CX metrics and your top-line.

Hopefully these simple steps have at least nudged you into believing that Customer Experience can, and should, be something that you are able to understand, as well as giving you some confidence and direction into how to improve it.