by Jim Sheehan
In today’s experience economy, customers have moved beyond product and pricing to differentiate among competitors based on the experiences they deliver. It’s never been more important to prioritize customer experience (CX) in your business strategy.
But it’s difficult to become a CX leader if you don’t understand what constitutes a competitive experience. That’s why I’ve gathered my top five indicators of CX success, the hallmarks of an experience that will build customer satisfaction and brand loyalty for years to come.
If you can deliver the kind of customer experience that hits all of these key notes, you’ll be well on your way to leading your industry in customer experience.
1. It meets the customers’ functional and emotional needs
The best CX produces meaningful experiences that meet customers’ emotional and functional needs. Meeting functional needs means you’re providing the information they are reaching out to you about. While meeting emotional needs means you’re making the customer feel validated, understood, and supported.
When their functional and emotional needs are met, your customers will feel the most satisfied and engaged. The best way to meet customers’ functional and emotional needs is to use an approach we call “know me, help me, value me.”
“Know me” refers to the personalization of the experience you’re delivering , while “help me” is where you fulfill a customer’s functional need, and “value me” is where their emotional needs are met. Combining understanding, logistical support, and empathy will help you deliver the meaningful experiences that differentiate your organization.
2. It’s truly personal
In order to get to the help and value stages of the aforementioned approach, you need to have a deep understanding of your customer – “know” them. This is the foundation of the empathy you’ll need to deliver hyper-personalized experiences.
So how do you develop this deep understanding? By gathering customer data and using it to craft personas and segmented demographics that will give you an at-a-glance sense of each customer’s needs. This requires having a data strategy and, ideally, an automated system that can manage and sort your data to provide better, more actionable insights.
3. It’s omnichannel
The best customer experiences are consistent across all channels, allowing customers to weave in and out of channels without having to repeat themselves or start the process over. The process is seamless and the experiences are frictionless.
Omnichannel CX doesn’t just benefit the customer, either – a unified omnichannel hub enables your agents to pick up right where their colleagues left off, saving them time and making their jobs easier and more efficient. Plus, the data an omnichannel experience provides is irreplaceable: there’s no easier way to see which channels are working best for which demographics.
With an omnichannel strategy, you can easily interact with customers across multiple channels and never lose sight of their behaviors or preferences.
4. It’s consistently measured and monitored
The best experiences are fine-tuned based on feedback that comes directly from the customer, whether that’s in the form of web analytics, pop-up surveys, or Voice of the Customer programs.
Organizations that are focused on delivering strong customer experiences put clear, standardized methods in place to gather the information they need straight from the people who matter most: their customers.
Gathering feedback directly from your customers ensures that you aren’t just making assumptions about the experience you’re delivering. You have concrete data to show you where you’re getting it right and where there’s room for enhancement.
5. It’s constantly improving
Customer experience leaders don’t just make improvements and then rest on their laurels, assuming their current strategy will keep working to maintain their top-tier status. On the contrary, competitive CX is built on the continuous iteration and improvement of experiences that are already leading the field.
CX leaders also look outside their organization and even their industry to leverage analogous models – analyzing what other brands are doing to deliver such great experiences. And that’s exactly what customers do, comparing every new interaction against their last best experience.
This is where that direct-from-the-customer data comes in handy, because it shows organizations what challenges need addressing, giving them the opportunity to incorporate new and better practices.
In the experience economy, the only way to differentiate is by delivering exceptional customer experiences, and understanding what makes competitive experiences is the first step to that end goal. When your CX is meeting your customers’ functional and emotional needs, is truly personal and omnichannel, is based on direct customer feedback, and is constantly improving – that’s when you’re differentiating.
If you’re not sure where your CX strategy lands on the scale or what you need to do to deliver the kinds of experiences that will set you apart, Avtex can help. We’ve developed a CX maturity assessment that can help you determine exactly where you’re falling. Plus, we have over 50 years of experience in CX and we’re ready to leverage it to bring your organization up to the cutting edge.