Redefining Customer Or User Experience For 2018

What is Customer Experience Management (CEM)? Google it and you’ll find various definitions that explain this currently-buzz worthy concept.

We live in the age of the customer and it’s time to clarify what CEM truly means.

Before I get into that, let’s define what CEM is not:

collecting feedback, responding to feedback, or tracking your Net Promoter Score – none of these actions individually represent Customer Experience Management.

In simple terms, CEM refers to the complete ideology and methodology that makes your business delightful to work with for customers.

How do you take this from boardroom to execution? More importantly, how do you win the Customer Experience (CX) race in 2018?

In the race to customer delight, here are a few things that I believe will shape Customer Experience in the coming year:

1. Studying and Mapping the Entire Customer Journey

The core objective of CEM is to deliver delight, but first, your customers need to be engaged.

Customer engagement can either be ad hoc or part of a bigger plan, but ultimately, organizations should understand the entire customer journey.

It’s not enough to take a single point along the journey to survey and understand your customer; it will most likely be ineffective as you won’t have enough context – How did the customer get to this point? What are they looking for? Where are they heading in the overall journey?

Customer journeys provide context around the customer’s experience with a brand.

They help you ask the right questions at the right time, thereby building brand engagement and trust that help guide the journey to the point of purchase.

2. Becoming Truly Omni-Channel

Modern-day customer interactions encompass a wide range of touchpoints – mobile, web, social, interactive voice response (IVR), in-store, chatbots and more.

This brings us to the concept of omni-channel.

Customers today switch between these different channels frequently, say in the middle of a purchase or even during discovery.

We predict that omni-channel is only going to get bigger with the proliferation of channels; therefore, customer journey mapping has to include every touchpoint and channel where your customers have a presence.

The first condition to being truly omni-channel is that you need to be multi-channel – meaning, available wherever your customers are.

Having these channels up and running is one thing, making them work together seamlessly as part of the overall journey is another.

3. Intelligent Loop Closure through Seamless Integrations

Brands are obliged to resolve customer queries.

The catch? Only 4% of unsatisfied clients actually complain.

Mapping journeys and creating omni-channel strategies drives customer engagement and helps organizations proactively engage with the customer across touchpoints, thereby ensuring that they are listening.

When it comes to helping customers, different businesses have different systems for support.

Customer Experience Management ensures that poor feedback automatically becomes a support ticket to proactively resolve the issue.

Regardless of the industry of your business, customer support tickets are a priority.

4. Personalized Insights and Real-Time Systems

In 2018, customer experience strategies will require coordination and alignment between various teams.

Your customers want a holistic brand experience, which means your employees need to be equipped with the right insights in relation to their role.

For example, store managers should view metrics around store NPS and ambience, while a CEO should be able to view organization-wide NPS, customer satisfaction (CSAT), and other holistic metrics.

Customer needs are evolving at an unprecedented rate.

By 2018, one of the most important pre-requisites of a great CX will be the ability to monitor feedback and offer actionable insights in real-time.

CEM platforms will need to be real-time – from making changes and driving integrations, to configuring the whole system.

The result will be a clearer picture of what your customers think about your brand and how to manage their expectations.

5. Advanced Analytics to Prioritize Investments

Any organization can collect raw data about customers – extracting insights from it is the real challenge.

As we move into 2018, make sure your analytics engine is one step ahead of your competition and your customers. Why? Most business decisions are based on data and the insights derived from them.

If these insights are inaccurate or outdated, your CX program is likely to stagnate and not deliver impactful outcomes.

Truly understanding your customers and addressing their pain points will set you apart in 2018.

Utilizing advanced tools, such as a churn predictor to predict bad experiences, will help anticipate what customers will do when their relationship with your brand is tested.

A superior analytics engine should be able to provide foresight on financial returns. Because ultimately, CX is an investment unlike any other.

Until Next Time

Ian Leishman

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