In the digital era, it is now far easier for customers to switch service providers, increasing the need to focus on maintaining customer loyalty. At the same time, there is an abundance of competition and the barriers for market entrants are lower than ever before. For every organization, in every sector, this simply means that those organizations that pay the greatest attention to CX will take the advantage.

what is driving the focus on CX?

The answer is crystal clear: customers. Failing to meet their expectations can lead to severe consequences. Studies show that a significant number of customers will abandon a business after just one negative experience, and this number rises substantially after multiple bad encounters. What's even more alarming is the significant impact of their poor experience, as dissatisfied customers now have a louder voice than ever, sharing their experiences directly and through social media platforms.

The positive is that customers will reward great CX. They will  not just become more loyal, but they are prepared to pay a premium for products and services.

CX starts in the boardroom and with your brand

Customer experience is not solely the responsibility of the CX team or those employees on the front-line; it needs to be ingrained across every part of the organization and driven by the boardroom. Research has shown that organizations prioritizing CX can achieve significant returns to shareholders and boost profits through improved customer retention. For every organization, CX must be a core part of their values, strategy, and brand, fostered from the boardroom to create an experience-first culture.

experience is in the eye of the receiver

There is much written about what makes a great customer experience: speed, efficiency, choice and frictionless service are some of the recurring themes. However, no one is better placed to define what a great experience is than an organization’s customers.

Structured and methodical research is vital in understanding the behaviors and preferences of customers and then aligning service to these needs. This requires both understanding what customers want but also how customers act. To truly get to the heart of customer expectations and behaviors, organizations need to apply a mixed method approach that combines next generation quantitative analysis with qualitative human research.

remove silos, think holistically

Organizational structure often influences how companies evaluate their customers' experience. They tend to assess different operational silos, such as marketing, sales, delivery, and service, or evaluate based on various channels like online, contact center, and retail outlets. However, customers are primarily concerned with their end-to-end journey, disregarding the company's internal divisions.

It is important to deliver amazing CX at every touchpoint, but it is also critical that this level of experience is consistently delivered and connected across every touchpoint of the customer’s journey. An exceptional buying experience is undermined by failure to deliver items on time. A great online experience is forgotten when no one responds to a chat request.

draw on expertise and cross-sector experience

It is no longer acceptable for an organization to be just on-par with the experience delivered by their sector peer group. Customers don’t think that way anymore, they use a much broader benchmark. Service providers are compared with the personalized experience given by the e-tailer, the unbelievable virtual reality experience from the travel company and the clever app provided by the financial services firm.

Organizations should not just focus on how they improve the CX of what they currently do, but also look at what different ways they can deliver service that transforms that end-to-end journey. How do they introduce personalization, embrace different digital channels or offer an immersive experience with AR/VR?

Taking CX to the next level will undoubtedly require new skills to be injected and with these skills, organizations should be looking for new perspectives on what makes great customer experiences. This is where partnering is vital, providing the expertise that is  needed, when it is  needed; bringing fresh thinking and cross-sector experience that can change your game and create significant competitive advantage.

It’s an exciting time for CX

It is widely accepted that CX has now overtaken product and price as the key differentiator. This presents an exciting time for anyone with a focus on CX; there is an opportunity to be innovative, place greater emphasis on service design and embrace what technology is now making possible.

There has never been a better time to drive the CX agenda, change thinking and cultivate an experience-first mindset across every part of your organization.