Why Customer Experience (CX)?
CX, or customer experience, has become a major focus for brands across all industries as companies realize that it is a differentiating factor that directly affects their bottom line. Research confirms that customers will buy more, be more engaged and loyal, and be less costly to service when organizations provide them with a great experience.
In 2018, PwC released Experience is Everything: Here's How to Get It Right, a survey that explored consumer views on customer experience. According to the research findings, 73 percent of global respondents said that a positive experience is among the key drivers that influence their brand loyalties. In fact, consumers said they would pay up to 16 percent more for a better customer experience.
The survey also revealed that 65 percent of U.S. consumers find a positive brand experience to be more influential than advertising.
In contrast, bad experiences drive consumers away. Globally, 60 percent of consumers would stop doing business with a company due to unfriendly service, and one in three say they would walk away from a brand they love after a single negative experience.
In addition to impacting brand loyalty, CX can also have a significant effect on a company’s revenue stream. According to research that was originally published by the Temkin Group in 2018 (now part of Qualtrics), a company with $1 billion in annual revenues can gain, on average, $775 million over three years by modestly improving from mediocre to good on the experience it delivers to customers. The research spanned 20 industries.
What is CX?
Now that I’ve made my case for the value of CX, we need to have a shared understanding of how to define it.
A simple definition developed by Forrester and used by many defines CX as “how customers perceive their interactions with your company.” Each time a customer has an interaction with your company, it becomes part of their experience -- whether it’s via the web, telephone, or a customer service representative. Customers will share their experiences about your company with friends, family, and advice-seekers over and over again.
Many times, companies confuse CX with customer service. CX includes call centers and customer service, but it is broader in scope. As Steve Johnston pointed out in Creating A Robust Customer Experience (CX) Strategy, “Customer Experience provides a more holistic way to interact and provide products and services to customers.” It is a coherent experience from start to finish.
So how do companies develop a CX strategy and what things do they need to consider?
A company’s first responsibility is to deliver a quality product, service or experience that meets customers’ needs. While good customer experience can be a driver for brand loyalty and a major reason people pay extra for premium options, a good customer experience built on top of a poorly designed product or service will be wasted.
In order to build a solid foundation for customer experience excellence, companies must first seek an understanding of their current situation. Many companies have a lot of customer data to help them understand what their current situation is and what is going on. However, quantitative data doesn’t tell them why a situation is happening or how to improve it. A good blend of qualitative and quantitative methods combined with participatory design and other co-creation methods will go a long way to ensuring companies fully understand their problem space, as well as their solution space so they can adequately explore and narrow it.
Mad*Pow put this human-centered design approach into practice when working with Dartmouth Hitchcock to create ImagineCare. It was a soup to nuts transformation: Mad*Pow’s classic research, design, and development process, informed by behavior change, created innovative experiences and compelling digital solutions, allowing clinicians to monitor and care for patients remotely and continuously, without a visit to the hospital. The end result was 50 percent improvement in blood pressure management in six weeks, with a 95 percent satisfaction rate. The project yielded several other achievements, including a 15 percent reduction in total cost of care, 23 percent reduction in emergency room costs and a successful spinoff, garnering over a dozen corporate bids.
As was demonstrated in the work with ImagineCare, a dollar spent understanding the customer from a qualitative perspective buys down risk associated with spending a lot of time and money on something and getting it wrong.
By combining behavioral psychology and human-centered design, companies can understand their customers’ behavioral styles, motivational needs, and experience triggers, including their pain points.
It’s critical to gain a true understanding of current state experiences as well as high-value opportunities, before investing in future-state experiences.
Mad*Pow’s Experience Innovation
At Mad*Pow, we believe every company needs a Lighthouse Vision to illuminate the ideal experience. This crucial – yet difficult – step aligns your team around a shared vision for customer experience excellence. We begin by obtaining an in-depth understanding of your customers’ needs. We know that you need a thorough understanding of all actors in the system. To that end, we amplify their voices, attitudes and beliefs and connect their needs to the value you provide.
Then we build a plan to achieve and implement this vision, which is exactly what we did when we worked with a large financial institution to transform their customer experience strategy.
We began with an experience audit and in-depth customer research, looking at the range of tools, advice, and information available to members. From there, we deﬁned behavioral archetypes and persona scenarios within a holistic experience journey map to identify key business opportunities. Once the experience strategy was ﬁnalized, we developed narrative storyboards and a conceptual UX prototype to illustrate the ideal experience for internal leadership to socialize and design, and development teams to execute against.
It's great to see more and more organizations embracing the critical role that customer experience plays in the delivery of their products and services. It is only through understanding the nuances that drive customers that companies will be able to design solutions that will be adopted, utilized, and ultimately deliver positive experiences. The future is all about building the systems and technology that let us deliver the right experiences to the right person at the right time. Achieving customer experience excellence has never been more important for increasing customer loyalty, advocacy, and engagement.
A Note on COVID-19
As the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic continue to ripple through the global economy, the focus on customer experience is more critical than ever. While short-term changes are being implemented, Mad*Pow is helping clients strategize how to align needed updates with companies’ guiding principles and KPIs. Over the long-term, clients can count on Mad*Pow to help transform their business models, incorporating fresh ideas that continue to deliver meaningful customer experiences in the post-COVID world.
- Discover the Business Benefits of Customer Experience Excellence, Irene Coghlan, Sitecore
- Experience is Everything: Here's How to Get It Right, David Clarke and Ron Kinghorn, PwC
- ROI of Customer Experience, 2018, Bruce Temkin, Qualtrics, XM Institute
- Creating A Robust Customer Experience (CX) Strategy, Steve Johnston, Stratford Managers Corporation