Earning Customer Love, in 6 Steps

When Customers Are Emotionally Invested, They Come Back

(This post is the second entry of a week-long series celebrating CX Day, CXPA’s annual event for CX professionals to network and share knowledge regarding the latest customer experience trends, insights and successes.)

“At the end of the day, people won’t remember what you said or did; they will remember how you made them feel.” That quote, attributed to poet Maya Angelou, speaks to the underlying motivation for all customer experience programs, and is key to driving customer loyalty. It also helps explain why, as the Global Leaders of Customer Experience Management Survey asserted, “price, delivery, and lead times are no longer effective marketing business strategies.”

As such, one might argue CX is best defined as the feelings, thoughts and emotions that result from a customer’s journey with the brand. Each interaction impacts the experience, and each customer, bringing their own expectations and preconceptions, will take a different view of the experience—or, as some  customer-centric organizations might view it, the relationship. Make the customer feel good about their dealings with your brand, and they are more likely to invest in that relationship; leave them cold or alienated, and they just might break up with you.

Is your CX program equipped to deliver for customers an experience that fosters emotional connection?

Having served thousands of organizations over the past thirty years, NICE has developed a strong aptitude for what does and does not help brands create strong bonds with their customers. In short, we’ve boiled those lessons down to a six-step methodology for making CX success a reality:

  1. Set objectives.
  2. Perform gap analysis.
  3. Define your strategy.
  4. Design your customer experience.
  5. Implement.
  6. Listen, learn and adapt via voice of the customer.
     

Set objectives. Staying true to your brand’s vision and (intended, if not yet realized) image, as your customer experience goals should be closely aligned with them. Identify the key touchpoints, and the stakeholders whose support you’ll need. Use reliable data to guide assumptions about customer sentiments and the proper opportunities in your marketplace.

Perform gap analysis. Discern where you stand now, and where you wish to be, in terms of customer needs as aligned with your brand vision. Ask the customers what they expect from your brand, and use these insights to define which short-term and long-term process changes are necessary.

Define your strategy. With the gap clearly identified, incorporate the brand strategy and business goals into a scalable CX strategy. Lay out which activities will yield exceptional customer experiences, how to perform them, what resources you’ll need and how long it should take. Create a clear business case and roadmap to obtain executive buy-in, establishing clear benchmarks for measuring success.

Design your customer experience. Plan to optimize the customer experience at every touchpoint, accounting for every necessary resource along the way. Use relevant KPIs to evaluate consistently. Reinforce the customer-centric culture and align systems, applications, processes, personnel and data sources in service of a cohesive multichannel customer experience.

Implement. You’ll want to create a memorable first impression, and real-time customer authentication applications can help. Leverage all available customer data, including insights from profiles, previous transactions, interactions, survey feedback, email, IVR, web sessions and social media feedback, to “know” each customer and understand their journey when you engage. Use interaction analytics to understand their likes and dislikes, what drives satisfaction and dissatisfaction, and possible opportunities to up-sell, cross-sell, or otherwise improve customer loyalty (and advocacy). Use voice of the customer to personalize each experience, make efficient use of internal resources and improve customer-facing processes continuously.

Listen, learn and adapt via voice of the customer. When you hear the total voice of the customer and use its insights to drive further action, you can be more responsive to customers on both aggregate and individual levels, uncover new business opportunities, act on emerging market trends, observe broader customer sentiment towards your brand (and its competitors), coach frontline employees to boost effectiveness and more.

If you make the customer feel valued, they will remember that feeling, and it will result in an emotional investment with your brand. Attentiveness feels good. A personalized experience feels good. Giving the customer precisely what they want—and, if possible, even more—without demanding much effort on their part feels good. Meeting them on their chosen terms feels good.

In terms of your brand, customer loyalty—and the long-term benefits of positive brand image and prosperity it generates—feels very good. Do you have the pieces in place to make customers feel invested in your relationships?

 

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