Customer Experience Management Guide: Design Customer-Centric CX
⏱ Reading Time: 7 minutes
Creating great products at awesome prices are no longer enough to keep the customers coming. About 8 out of every set of 10 customers say that the experience they get from a company or business is as important as their products and services. Smart Business owners are taking note of this thereby strategizing ways to redesign their customer experience management (CEM) in the most suitable way it will benefit and attract customers.
With recent technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence and other technological advancements that have given businesses better customer experience management tools, customer expectations have also increased across the board. Therefore, as a business owner, if you want to continue staying relevant and competitive, you must provide exceptional customer experience (CX). To provide amazing services to your customers before and after sales, you must offer them better personalization with high valued and connected experience across channels. In order to achieve this, you must design a customer experience that is completely customer-centric. This customer experience management guide will help you with it.
What Does It Mean to Be Customer-Centric?
Every business owner already knows that the customer is king. Therefore the idea of putting the customer first is not a new one. Being customer-centric involves placing the customer at the center of everything involved in your business. From marketing to sales and several channels. However, with the improvement and emergence of new technologies, customer behaviors are changing and these technologies are enabling businesses to interact with customers in a completely different way.
Being customer-centric means personalizing customer experiences. It is building all the product and customer interactions, from the first point of contact to after-sales based on what the customer wants or needs. Personalization here doesn’t mean creating a generic experience with each customer’s name attached to it. It means to create a dynamical personal experience for each customer at every moment of their journey with you. And to achieve this, you will also have to constantly modify your product/service standards to reflect customer needs.
For example, as an online retailer, you can show your customers similar products other users have viewed providing comparisons to them in other to help them make a better choice of what they need. Take a cue from Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple Inc. He understood customer-centricity from the beginning. How? By making his colleagues understand that they have to start with the customer experience and work backward to unravel the technology they need instead of first creating an awesome technology and expect the customers to buy into it.
Picture 1. APPLE Customer centricity
To help you as a business owner to design a customer-centric CX for your customers, we’ve carefully outlined and discussed several steps by crafting this customer experience management guide.
Preparation of Your Customer Experience Design
Before you launch into building a personalized CEM strategy for your customers, the first thing to do is to make a customer experience research. Because you will never be able to create a customer-centric CX if you don’t know who your customers are.
Develop Customer Personas
The first step in our customer experience management guide is to develop customer personas. Personas are fictional characters developed through research to represent the character of a common group of people. To understand your customers’ behavior and thinking patterns in order to be proactive with what they want, you will need to develop 1-5 personas of your customer base. Start by building empathy and understanding the profile of your key customer segments. With this, you can connect with them and create a shared understanding of their behavior, demographic profile and pain points. The personas should also contain an imaginary image of the customer, their attributes and motivations. To create effective customer personas, interview your customers, analyze the collected data to draw insights on the various customer types in your customer base.
Picture 2. Customer personas
Develop an Empathy Map
Empathy mapping is used to understand customer needs. An empathy map will help your team to create a picture of your customers and their predictable actions derived from their emotions, beliefs, and behaviors. This type of mapping is dependent on 4 quadrants namely; feel, think, say, and do to understand customer preferences.
What you should do to create a successful CEM strategy that aligns and collaborates between various groups of your customer base? you need to understand the stakeholders’ attitudes in each group before kickstarting any potential change. This will help you identify their interests and needs as well as mechanisms that influence them. With it, you’ll also be able to note the potential risks of the changes you make, know the key people to inform of those changes. And also find out who might be the negative stakeholders as well as the adverse effects they could have on the change.
Include your cross-departmental leads in your strategy. Involve departments like customer support, sales and marketing, billing and product management who interact with customers. Once you’ve identified who your stakeholders are, map them into 4 quadrants to determine the best way to engage with them.
The Bystanders: They offer low influence and low support, so keep them informed through mass media.
Gatekeepers: They have high influence but perceive risks, so investigate their concerns and improve their support by leveraging the positive support from champions.
Supporters: They have the highest support but with low influence. So keep them involved with your project team to harness their enthusiasm.
Champions: These are the people you need to keep close as partners in your project as they can influence other stakeholders with their high support and influence.
Customer Experience Mapping
This involves getting into the customer’s mind as they interact with your product and services after you’ve learned their different personas.
Make sure your primary intentions are aligned with your stakeholders to enable you to set clear boundaries on what to explore. With this, you can help your team focus their thoughts and drive into the right action thereby giving them a clear direction without making any assumptions. To set up an initiative or project, take time to find out what your customer challenges are. The focusing challenge will help you define your vision clearly and transmit the intent across your business.
Customer Journey Map
This is one of the customer experience management tools that provides you with an overview of the end-to-end experience of your customers. It illustrates customer processes, their needs & perceptions as well as their relationship with your business. By mapping your customer journey, you can outline their needs and pain points at different interaction points in their journey with you. Once you have this map, you can determine the root cause of their pain points.
Picture 3. Customer journey map
Building the Right Customer Experience
Once you’ve been able to identify the customer pain points and their root cause in order to make your CX design customer-centric, compare it with the data you’ve gathered to prove or disprove it. Then write down specific problem statements for your team to solve, find out why those problems occur until you get to the root cause of the problems. This will help you build a new strategy to be proactive with your customers in the future.
Brainstorm New Strategies
Use the four brainstorming techniques to find out what works best, how to explore it as well as consider different angles before making conclusions on the design of your solution to meet your customer needs.
Classic – Generate the much ideas you can with your team
What if? – Ask this question three times to predict different decisions or questions a customer might want to ask.
Wrong-way – Try to generate bad ideas deliberately to see the negative things that could happen. For example, “what could possibly drive our customers away?”
Risky options – Try to generate better ideas and allow your team members to even bring up ideas that might seem risky. Sometimes, such ideas could lead to the best solution.
Measure Your New CX Strategy
Once you’ve identified the contact points and interactions you want to improve, create a system to measure them. Most business owners and companies use customer experience management software for this.
Customer experience management software is a system designed to keep records and actions for experience data. There are several customer experience management platforms you can use to manage interactions with your customers. It stores all their information in once place with real-time updates you can easily share with your various teams. With this, you can see all the touch points and the data gathered from the interactions which include customer behaviors. From their feedback, you’ll also be able to see your improvements as well as where your customer service got it wrong so you can get your team to work on those areas.
Customer Experience Management Is the New Marketing
By following this customer experience management guide in developing your CEM, you should be able to create a customer-centric CX that will meet all your customer needs. It will also help you to be proactive with your interactions, identifying the pain points and proffering the solution before they ask. The continuous check or measures will help to keep you above the competition while you continue to acquire new customers and retain them.
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