How a customer experiences a brand is not limited to how well the interaction is managed at each individual touchpoint. Rather, the customer journey should be viewed as an end-to-end experience from when a customer thinks about a product or service, to the moment their experience with that product or service has been completed.
Organisations that understand the implication of this all-encompassing customer experience (CX) have a real advantage over competing brands. So, what constitutes good CX?
Touchpoint management should not be siloed
Each individual touchpoint, be it a point of sale, a
contact center or a social media channel, exists within the same CX. These are generally managed as stand-alone elements of the customer journey by a specific department or agent. But customers interact with a brand, not a single touchpoint, and expect consistent service throughout. They don’t differentiate between their interactions, as they are all part of their experience as a customer.
Siloed management models and insular organisational layouts prevent businesses from offering a single outcome experience.
Even if an organisation’s individual touchpoints are competently staffed and managed, a company can still struggle with high churn and a poor overall CX.
Putting the customer at the centre of things
Operational siloes take the focus away from the actual CX by only looking at a narrow set of KPIs for any given touchpoint. But CX transcends these KPIs - it
encompasses everything from awareness and research, to pricing, first contact, purchase, post-sales support, potential complaints and renewal. A business should aim to develop a single outcome solution regardless of the customer journey. This means cross-functionality is a must to create a seamless experience where the customer isn’t necessarily aware of which department they are interacting with at any point. They should remain immersed throughout. If their journey started on an app, where data was captured, this data should be available to the contact centre agent, as well as the tech support team. Interrupting that immersion, by recapturing data or backtracking, breaks the organic flow of the experience.
More than just good customer service
Excellent customer service is a vital aspect of CX. While it’s important to ensure a swift resolution for any queries, the real heart of CX lies in identifying why this customer needed customer service in the first place. It’s also crucial to ensure service level excellence that makes customer service just another part of a consistent customer experience. When looking at it from that perspective, product quality, agent satisfaction, available infrastructure, outbound communication, peer reviews and every other aspect of a customer’s relation with the brand relates to CX.
Developing CX on all levels
More and more decision makers are understanding that a good CX strategy can be a key differentiator. They see the need for a customer-centric approach, where all touchpoints and operational processes are geared towards delivering the best CX possible. This will increase brand loyalty and solidify brand perception.
To get to that point, organisations need to map out the customer journey and implement new operations processes that embrace cross-functionality to ensure a positive journey and consistent experience.
This is not limited to touchpoint interactions or customer service, but spans the totality of the customer’s interaction with a brand, both physically and digitally.
Your company’s customer management strategy directly impacts your CX and how prepared you are to meet customer expectations. Is your current business model in line with the demands of your industry and does your company culture answer the needs of your customer base? Developing the right processes begins with asking the right questions. Start today and get a sense of how your CX holds up.
Merchants is a service provider that can help you streamline and optimise your customer management solutions to meet the challenges presented by rapidly evolving customer expectations.