We all know that the work doesn’t end when someone becomes a customer; yet, many businesses are not organized to bring the best experiences to their customers. Our client, John Zimmerer at Top Down Systems, recently wrote a series of blog posts analyzing how businesses can avoid pitfalls in the way of a great customer experience.
He takes a look at several industry reports and analyses, and discusses how businesses can move from a siloed customer experience approach, which is rather common, to one where the customer experience fits into the very fabric of an organization.
Not a Project, A Process
To be sure, integrating customer experience into an organization is not something that can be achieved with a project approach. A project is a finite method in which specific results are achieved by a group of people. By its very nature, a project approach is incongruent with being able to weave the customer experience into the company’s DNA. This must be done as an iterative process that requires time, people, and budget.
The good news is that many of us are already familiar with such an iterative process that is testable and brings actionable results: Agile. In this approach, it’s best to constantly evaluate and re-evaluate your customers’ journeys.
Make Technology Investments Count
There are so many ways to understand what your customers need. In Secrets to Customer Experience Success, Part 2: Prioritizing Tactics, Zimmerer explains that a common trap businesses fall into is purchasing technology without having an overarching plan as to how this technology will result in benefits for the customer and the business. Doing so results in a significant expenditure that can cause more harm than good.
In analyzing your various sources of customer data, such as analytics and feedback on social media, you gain insights into who your customers are and have a better understanding of what they need. You can also determine how you can address those needs while also considering your business needs. Zimmerer provides a quadrant diagram from Forrester that illustrates this approach.
Show Value in the Long Term Process
Making this shift from a siloed approach to an integrated approach can take up to 5 years, according to Forrester, as described in Secrets to Customer Experience Success, Part 3: Sharing the Investment. That timeframe alone can discourage executives and investors alike; so, it’s important that you’re able to show value in the small process changes over time, which will lead to credibility and buy-in.
Finding the Right Cloud Solution
Zimmerer points out in Secrets to Customer Experience Success, Part 4: Integrating Cloud Apps, that many believe that any cloud solution is a good solution. However, there are many types of solutions, each with its drawback. Ultimately, the best solution is one that integrates at the user experience level, as it creates a seamless experience for customers, while at the same time, integrating business processes and workflows.
Developing a customer experience strategy that is integrated into your entire business puts your customers top of mind for everyone in your organization--they should not be siloed under Marketing, UX, and Customer Service.
We’ve worked with several clients over the years on these cloud service integrations, and creating cohesive customer experiences. Contact us to learn more.