THE BLOG
07/27/2016 04:17 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

How to Create a Great Customer Experience

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By Cathy Butler, SVP, Digital Products & Services, DigitasLBi

A six-question guide

Forrester defines customer experience as “The web of relations among all aspects of a company — including its customers, employees, partners, and operating environment — that determine the quality of the customer experience”.

In fact, everywhere you turn, headlines are talking about the value in getting that customer experience right. But brands are still struggling to think differently in order to create better experiences. And to be fair, brands are taking some steps to address the symptoms of bad customer experience, but missing out on curing the underlying illness, keeping them from major opportunities to deliver business ROI.

Whether you are new to this conversation or in the midst of transforming your business, before going any further, consider these 6 questions:

1. Who owns your customer experience?

According to Forrester, the #1 challenge for businesses today is a lack of ownership in defining the vision and roadmap for the customer experience. Sure, it’s easy to say that everyone owns customer experience. But that’s the problem. With everyone owning a stake and no one owning the entirety, disconnected experiences are bound to surface.

2. Are your business strategy and customer experience goals aligned?

All too often, as businesses grow, they lose sight of why the business was created in the first place: to sell a product that customers want. But the product is just the beginning of the customer experience. It’s equally important to think about all the phases of acquiring, engaging, and maintaining that customer relationship.

3. Are you leading with a marketing plus on-going relationship mindset?

Marketing has historically been the acquisition engine, but the practice must evolve to think holistically. That means expanding the definition of marketing to be the umbrella for acquisition, engagement, and ongoing relationship management.

4. Do you empathize with your customers?

Customers are a fickle bunch, largely influenced by trends and technology. To truly understand your customers, you need to listen to them frequently – and incorporate their voices into your customer experience. It begins with understanding both who they are and their specific journey so you can identify moments of truth. Once that framework is established, brands can integrate insights gained through testing and data. Brands often establish themselves based on “personas” but with the proliferation of real-time data, they can get smarter about their customers and act quickly on those insights.

5. Is your organization empowered to think and act on customer-first decisions?

It’s not realistic to expect the customer experience owner to be involved in every detail. Although we talked earlier about your CX having one project manager or owner, a brand’s success still depends on every player meaningfully understanding the customer-first vision and being empowered to make decisions to achieve that vision. This can impact career and goal development; recognition for customer-centric innovation; and measurement against KPIs like customer tenure, satisfaction, and renewals.

6. Finally, going forward, do you have a lean innovation approach?

In the world of customer experience, there is a time worn perception that it’s one-and-done, and is only revisited if there are major issues. This is no longer a modern approach. Brands must dedicate small and nimble cross-capability teams responsible for acting on new data and insights to drive a test & learn approach with the goal of implementing changes on an ongoing basis.