By Paula Courtney,
CEO – The Verde Group
Global pandemics, recessions and evolving generational cohorts aside, one thing that’s not likely to change for business leaders is their desire to refine their organizations’ customer experience (CX) strategies and tactics. Understanding and responding to customer needs and expectations remains key to improving business performance no matter the state of the economy or our world. But doing so means avoiding a few common pitfalls.
Here are five strategic traps and bottlenecks keeping businesses from making the most of their CX initiatives so they can enjoy even greater growth and success:
- Taking your eye off the basics
All too often, companies get distracted by the latest shiny technology object and take their eye off CX fundamentals. They do so at their own peril. That’s because, the reality is, as consumers continue to have more choice from brands trying to meet them where they are in the buying process, there’s increasingly little tolerance from those same consumers for mucking up the basics, whether that’s price transparency or the ability to use discounts in shipping or a seamless return experience. And consumers are right to get frustrated: across industries, at least 60% of them still experience a problem every time they buy.
As we’ll see later, no company can afford to ignore the promise of emerging technologies but they’ll need to walk and chew gum at the same time while, we believe, weighing in favor of fixing basic CX problems as soon as possible.
- Tons of data but where’s the strategy?
It’s never been easier to measure and manage customer experience but, ironically, it’s also never been more complex. Why? It’s true that decision makers now have a wealth of tools and technology at their disposal, they can issue a survey on the fly to understand what customers are experiencing or pull in data like transactional history, call center logs and email files to create a robust view of how CX is impacting business. But what’s increasingly not happening is a proper focus on the right metrics to define a winning CX strategy before diving into costly technology and data integration investments. Without a proper strategy at the outset, desired CX outcomes are often at risk of achieving stated objectives and often remain out of reach or not aligned to financial goals.
- CX, sure, but what about EX?
While many companies do ably focus on customer experience, they’re often neglecting the flipside of CX: employee experience, or EX. That’s beginning to change as business leaders recognize that reducing CX friction also makes life easier for employees, who usually bear the brunt of customer dissatisfaction. Happier customers improve employees’ work environment and satisfaction, making them more productive and increasing retention — an important benefit in an era of pervasive labor churn and shortages.
- Next-Gen CX: Proceed but with caution
Exciting emerging CX solutions, like live commerce and virtual reality are now mainstream in other global markets and they’re increasingly being adopted in North America. However, just because an organization can layer on these new capabilities today doesn’t necessarily mean they should. Understanding how these solutions can change CX dynamics and customer engagement is critical before a company fully adopts them. There are a variety of reasons why caution is warranted, including understanding the cultural differences and commerce journey that may have led to their success, for instance, in China, as well as generational differences — younger “TikTok” customers may be more ready to adopt emerging CX solutions than their parents and grandparents. Testing and learning is important as long as it all folds into a macro CX strategy that aligns with your financial goals and brand’s position.
- Inability to link CX investments to business performance
While customer experience data still tends to fall down the pecking order in terms of its relative importance in strategic decision-making when compared to the use of operating data, like sales performance and cost management, this is beginning to change. In fact, we see an increasing comfort level with using CX data and customer-centric data to make short- and long-term strategic decisions. However, many organizations struggle to identify the key metrics that support these decisions and, in-turn, financial investments. Leading organizations are increasingly turning toward more comprehensive CX indices that provide a holistic understanding of CX dynamics along with more diagnostic capability to support resource allocation.