How to Develop and Implement a Customer Experience Strategy

Most people understand the importance of creating great customer experiences —nevertheless, many struggle with the complexity of working holistically and long-term with a Customer Experience strategy.

For Customer Experience (CX) is far more than traditional customer service and marketing. A holistic understanding of customer experiences can help close the gap, strengthen the brand and open up new opportunities for profitable growth. 

Good customer experiences affect customer satisfaction and loyalty and have become a significant strategic differentiator that can strengthen your brand. It is therefore smart to look at customer experience strategy and brand strategy together if you want to build a stronger position in people’s consciousness. It can open up new opportunities, additional sales and long-term customer relationships.

What is Customer Experience?

CX is the customers’ experience of the product or service itself. Whether you work in B2B or B2C, CX is the sum of all thoughts, feelings, experiences and reactions the customer is left with. Customer Experience includes all forms of interaction and contact with your business and occurs in all stages of the customer journey and throughout the customer’s life cycle.

It includes interactions with people, processes, products and services. Working with CX is about being at the forefront, knowing your customers so well that you can design positive experiences and customer journeys that at the same time reduce or eliminate unwanted friction.

The Benefits of a Customer Experience Strategy

CX is indispensable to compete and grow profitably in the market. CXM (Customer Experience Management) focuses on using strategic methods for influencing the customer experience positively. With good insight and analysis, you can identify and implement activities aimed at new opportunities for growth, cost savings and increased customer satisfaction.

A good customer experience strategy offers clear benefits.

  1. A comprehensive ecosystem that works towards clear goals and KPIs across all departments and roles.
  2. A company that delivers on the customer promise and delights customers with positive moments.
  3. Committed employees who feel included and experience everyday work as meaningful.

Customer Experience strategy gathers the threads and shows the way

Development and implementation of strategy is a comprehensive process that can be experienced as a long and confusing desert walk for some, especially those eager to develop concrete measures and quick solutions.

However, a successful business and business strategy presupposes that we have a solid and fact-based understanding of what creates growth and long-term profitability. Therefore, in addition to the overall strategy at the company level, there may be a need to develop business strategies and functional and operational strategies. A good customer experience strategy will look at the whole where the brand strategy is also included.

The main responsibility belongs at the very top and in the management team. It would help if you were prepared for change and were willing to invest time and money in creating unique customer experiences. The first step is to understand the current situation and how strategic work with CX can provide future ROI.

How to develop and implement a Customer Experience strategy?

Improved CX starts with the customer’s perspective. Developing CX leadership requires collaboration and communication with customers, employees and partners. Innovation and development happen best through people who bring different skills and perspectives to the same room. It requires openness and security. Recognised research says that communication is the most important factor for high-performing teams. To give customers the support and experiences they want in their interaction with your business, you need to be agile and adaptable. This means breaking the barriers around IT, CRM, digital marketing, branding, sales, customer service and e-commerce.

The ability to deliver happens in the interaction between people and the smart use of technology. First, you need to research, identify and understand your customers and then use this information to build experiences that meet customer needs. Once you know what your customers need, what they do, who they are and where they are going, you can ensure the right CX processes and technologies. In addition, you must have employees who are committed to creating a good performance culture.

You should also be willing and able to experiment at a fast pace. It requires that the business is composed and organised to build and utilise cross-functional teams equipped with technical resources and platforms, common goals and focus on customers.

A customer experience strategy should consider the whole customer journey
A customer experience strategy should consider the whole customer journey

Five important steps for the development and implementation of CX

  1. Understand customers and their “jobs to be done“. Understand what drives them (rationally, functionally and emotionally). Understanding what is difficult or not good enough in your service offerings and the market.
  2. Design a unique customer experience to meet your customers’ needs, and trigger their drivers. Maybe there is something that does not exist or is too bad today. Facilitate service design and innovation using a solid structure containing well-known and proven CX methods. A good Customer Experience strategy must consider all areas and influence the design and operationalisation of future CX delivery.
  3. You can not deliver good CX alone. Changes in customers’ needs and expectations and changes in technology and operating systems are happening rapidly. Therefore, both internally and externally, good partners are necessary to succeed with the company’s CX investment. This will often involve the need for interdisciplinary collaboration with different providers of different services such as cloud solutions, Voice Of The Customer (VOC), artificial intelligence, data analysis, UX design, HR etc.
  4. Turn words into concrete actions and build a CX culture with committed people throughout the business. Turn your vision into something operational and set an overall CX goal for your people to navigate towards. If you want good results, those who will do the job need to have insight into the CX goals and the as-is situation. Your people are both the knowledge and the oil in the entire culture to create growth and good customer experiences. They will help to improve both engagement and decisions. Employees should be included in the discussions about what it means to deliver on the company’s promises and product expectations. They should also test the services and products offered to the customer. The customer experience will be better if we understand how the products/services we sell are experienced from the customer’s perspective. By doing this, we will also be prepared for any challenges that may arise.
  5. You will never finish. CX is a living process that can and should be constantly improved. Therefore, it is important to establish good KPIs and solutions for measurement, analysis, evaluation and improvement.

CX in the crystal ball

A few points to keep in mind as you develop and implement your Customer Experience Strategy.

  • According to Mckinsey, the CX programs of the future will be comprehensive, predictive, precise and linked to business results. The benefits will be significant for companies starting with building the skills, talent and organisational structure needed for this transition.
  • Customer Experience Management (CXM) will be guided by artificial intelligence (CI) and simplified through machine learning. With AI, we can obtain information about customers’ actions. With the increasing scope of data and better insight from analyses, we will learn more about how we can improve CX in real-time for each customer. We can then be better positioned to identify dissatisfied customers who may be in danger of leaving us. With such measurement and management systems for CX, we learn faster and become better able to predict who these customers are, counteract churn and make it possible to act actively to improve the customer experience.
  • Purchase decisions will still be based on recommendations from others. Word of mouth (WOM) is thus still of great importance for the reputation and thus also for brand recognition.
  • For digital marketers, it is important to get the most out of test and optimisation tools, customer data platforms (CDP) and marketing automation with built-in AI and machine learning. Digital assistants, chatbots, call search and voice assistants will continue to provide new opportunities.

About the authors

Allegro is a Norwegian Communication and Technology bureau specialising in Customer Experience strategical consulting, co-creative workshops, and experience design processes.

Contact Allegro’s CX Consultant, Joanna Carr, to learn more about developing and implementing a Customer Experience strategy.