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Is Customer Experience (CX) the Secret Ingredient?

In these competitive and unpredictable times, we find gaining and retaining customers is one of the most important challenges any business has to manage.

And, as our business knowledge grows, so does our understanding of the customer journey, and the value of a strong customer experience (CX) and proposition.

But, to truly put your customer at the heart of your business, it takes more than a half-baked mission statement. It requires investment in the right teams and infrastructure, with a commitment to doing things ‘better’.

If you’re wondering what CX means in 2021, what it involves and how you can use it as your secret ingredient to gain a business advantage, be sure to read on.

What is customer experience (CX)?

We’ve all heard the term, but what exactly does customer experience stand for?

In today’s marketing-savvy world it means putting customers front and centre, in every part of their journey. From before-care to after-care, every possible and tangible touchpoint is an opportunity to excel.

What differentiates companies that do this well, is a capable customer experience specialist team that is able to:

  • Overdeliver and impress customers
  • Build strong connections with them
  • Transform a customer into a dedicated fan and brand advocate

Indeed, it takes great engagement, communication proficiency and emotional intelligence to be able to master this, but once achieved, it yields long-lasting results.

The art of customer experience management

Although varying to different degrees, every business has a customer experience. This can vary in line with brand positioning and policies.

Customer-centric businesses excel because their mindset is about creating exceptional customer experiences that bring people back time and time again and, crucially, recommend their business to others.

With this in mind, a talented CX manager should:

  • Manage (and exceed) customer expectations
  • Adopt a CX mindset
  • Have strong brand awareness on products and services
  • Act as a brand spokesperson in the face of adversity
  • Drive brand retention and loyalty

Additionally, a CX specialist should have a good comprehension of your business goals, understanding what your product USP is and how it can be best leveraged. They should also understand how to satisfy customer needs with minimal effort on their part.

Being able to tick these competency boxes is ever-important in a market driven by reputation.

The role of a CX Experience Manager

Arguably, it is the role of everyone in an organisation to deliver high customer service. Every employee should be acting as an ambassador for the business at all levels.

Nonetheless, the CX Manager should be communicating with wider teams to share their knowledge and best practice, this means|:

  • Aligning employee behaviour around the overall CX strategy
  • Analysis and measurement of data centred around customer insights
  • Creating products and services for internal and external users

Hand-in-hand with this, the CX specialist should evaluate the level of proficiency of teams across the business, notably with an emphasis on digital delivery – so vital in today’s CX world.

Only by reviewing teams, can realistic goals be set to satisfy customer needs.

As a final thought, the CX specialist should be the voice of the customer, representing their needs, thoughts and feedback at every opportunity across the business.

The impact of customer experience on performance?

Of the many benefits that a robust customer experience can bring, is return on investment and financial gain. Studies show that excellent customer experience can impact the bottom line, with an increase in revenue compared to brands that don’t invest in it.

It’s therefore crucial to measure the impact of CX, as a valuable benchmark for performance, and Forrester, the research arm are a great place to start. They assess companies to produce a Customer Experience Index (CXI). This measures the impact of customer experiences on brand loyalty, providing an industry benchmark for measurement.

The final piece of the puzzle

As we near the end, it’s important to take on board one final consideration: service shadow. To best understand the customer service you provide, it’s important to experience it for yourself – otherwise known as service shadow.

It’s understood that all customer touchpoints should go through a service shadow, to learn where the gaps are and how improvements can be made.

It might just be the most valuable tool you have to strengthen your business model and ensure you’re putting yourself in the shoes of your customers.

As explained, there are many factors that make up a talented Customer Experience Manager, and in giving it due time and consideration, your business will only flourish.

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