It’s not branding — well, not exactly. It’s not website design — except when it is. How exactly can you define customer experience? Organizations of all sizes are struggling with what exactly this elusive “ideal customer experience” is and how to implement it. More importantly, brands are struggling with who should implement it: marketing, branding, technology professionals? Maybe all of the above . . . ? There’s one thing that a recent study by Zendesk found that highly successful organizations have in common: they have invested in a proactive customer experience strategy. Is it time for your business to create a team to address inconsistencies in the customer experience?
Why Customer Experience Matters
In a sea of sameness, customers are willing to pay more for efficiency, consistency and exceptional service — three of the hallmarks of an organization that has resolved to address the holistic customer experience. When you place an order online and request in-store pickup, you expect the transaction to be seamless, and for everything to be waiting for you at the appointed time. You also expect a degree of consistency, in that the transaction can easily be transferred between mobile devices and desktop computers without losing your information. Your customers don’t really care how this happens, they just get frustrated if they have to switch devices and find that they’ve lost their shopping cart or work.
When that happens, you are likely to lose the sale.
Customer Experience is Everyone’s Job = Customer Experience is No One’s Job
It’s easy enough to say that everyone in the organization should be focused on creating a superior experience for each customer. Unfortunately, that often means that different teams approach the same problem from a unique perspective. Still doesn’t sound terrible, right? Wrong. When your customer service team decides to provide one set of information to customers, while the web development or marketing teams are delivering something else (like shipping date versus delivery date on a particular order, for instance), customer confusion and frustration reign supreme. Creating a team that is dedicated to the holistic experience of the customer from the second they enter your ecosystem until the end of your relationship, you’re able to strategically smooth out potential bumps in their interactions with your organization.
Finding the Happy Medium
If your organization isn’t large enough to support a full customer experience (CX) team, there are still ways that you can reach your goals for excellence in each customer interaction. Working with an external agency can give you a great deal of insight into your current processes, providing you with a “hit list” of where to begin creating a CX strategy. These recommendations are not always difficult or expensive. They could be as simple as requesting that you push updates to your website at a less busy time of day or chase down broken links. Perhaps there are more intuitive ways to design your checkout process that could reduce the number of required clicks and screens — thereby dramatically improving your conversion rates. Having a team focused on finding and eliminating any barriers to purchase allows marketing and technology team members to continue their day-to-day activities instead of slowing down any critical updates.
Bridge Between Marketing and Tech
While often housed within the marketing vertical, CX or UX (User Experience) teams often find themselves becoming a bridge between marketing and technology teams. They should have enough technical know-how to understand what is possible, while being able to define a business case for your technology teams to implement. These teams are still relatively rare in small to mid-size businesses, with many SMBs choosing to outsource this need to an agency or technology partner.