CX Transformation Services
At Think Wow we love nothing better than having satisfied customers, and winning awards for the transformation initiatives we’ve created for our clients.
We know that the secret to a successful customer experience transformation lies in a combination of ingredients, all perfectly balanced and timed to lead the businesses we work with not only to award winning strategies, but to happier, more engaged, more loyal employees and customers.
Still on the fence?
Let’s take a deeper look into customer experience transformation, how you can drive increased customer satisfaction with a more deliberate approach to your customer journey, and how you can build continuous improvement into your day to day operations.
So you’re considering embarking on a customer experience or digital transformation, congratulations! That already sets you apart from a lot of businesses, but what next? How do you create customer initiatives that your teams will embrace, that your customers will love and that will increase customer loyalty and reduce customer churn? Well before we launch into the juicy bits… let’s just look at why customer engagement is important!
Why is customer engagement important?
When was the last time you paused and considered the fact that your customers are critical? Your business exists solely because your customers enable it to. Without happy, engaged customers choosing to spend their money with you, you would simply not have a business at all.
That fact is so powerful to keep at the forefront of your mind, and to make sure your teams embrace. There are so many reasons to improve your customer experience, ranging from it being the right thing to do, to it driving increased customer spend – but when push comes to shove, the biggest reason to improve your customer experience is because without customers you wouldn’t have a business.
Still need convincing? Okay, here goes!
Statistics show that a more engaged, loyal customer is more likely to spend more money with you, more likely to refer you to others, more likely not to look at competitors as an alternative, and more likely to leave a positive review. All of those aspects add up to create business success, and will underpin any growth you’re aiming for. Leading companies don’t leave that to chance, they deliberately create customer experiences that give their employees the building blocks to feel empowered, and that make their customer interactions as effortless as possible.
Ideally you’ll want to assemble a cross functional steering group made up of as many different job roles and levels or experience across the organisation as possible. Their role will be to assist with problem solving, data analysis, insight analysis, and to ensure that there is a constant focus on human centred design.
What happens once you’re ready to get started on your CX transformation?
First, we start with your business goals. Before you try and create an approach to your CX transformation, pause and make sure that everyone involved understands what you are trying to achieve, who you want to achieve it for, and why.
The chances are that whilst you might be aiming to become more customer centric, you may well be looking to drive change because the wider business goals require it.
Objectives like hitting a certain revenue target, reducing avoidable customer churn, increasing spend per customer, and reducing employee churn may all be relevant to how you build your customer strategy.
We’ve seen many well intentioned businesses launch into customer change initiatives. Some have gone on to succeed, but many companies fail not through a lack of passionate and enthusiastic leaders, but because they rushed the project and didn’t make sure there were strong foundations in place.
When looking at your foundations consider things like your current company culture. Do the leadership team embrace the company values and lead with them on all they do? Do the teams know what the values are and do they feel like the right values to use for this customer experience transformation?
What about the current mood in the office (or whilst your employees are working remotely)? Are your teams geared up, excited and ready for change? Or have they seen this before, have they put energy into previous initiatives only to see them forgotten about and moved on from in favour of something new and exciting? It’s critical to gauge how ready and how prepared your workforce is if you want to succeed in your transformation effort.
Don’t forget that despite all of your best efforts or the most creative design thinking, without a team who are brought into the importance of great cx, and who enjoy turning up to work each day, your initiative could fail.
You need to make sure that as many key team members as possible are empowered to help with the project, that they see the value in any culture change, and that they know how important they are to the success of the overall transformation. Bringing your team along and involving them in the process is a tried and tested way to drive engagement and you can’t do that with a team who are disengaged or feeling undervalued. That’s why we recommend the cultural assessment is one of the first stages to the project.
For some, you might need to present a business case for the project, for others having a clear vision of what great cx looks like will be enough to guide them.
Measuring success is important, and whilst your metrics might well evolve a little as your transformation unfolds, It’s a really good idea to have some success measurements in mind before you start your project. This way you can capture the current ‘as is’ metrics and compare them to your future ones to track the impact of any changes to your customer experience.
Create both short term and long term metrics if possible. Giving your leadership team some quick wins they can celebrate with employees is a great way to generate more enthusiasm and commitment to the cx transformation in the early months. The longer term measurements may well take time to get to and the best companies recognise that keeping employees engaged and enthusiastic will be key to long term successful adoption of any changes or continuous improvement plans.
Caution: It’s worth avoiding aiming for singular improvements like an increase in Net Promoter Score, or Customer Satisfaction Scores as looking too closely at one metric can mean people forget the wider picture and make changes that negatively impact the long term goals.
Instead, set long term goals like increases in revenue, reduction in avoidable customer churn and increases in the average spend per customer. Keep an eye on your customer satisfaction or NPS alongside these metrics and it will give you a much more reliable way to measure whether you are on track.
Do you know what your customers need? Why they come to you for that need? Hopefully you have some idea on this, and also on what sets you apart from your key competitors, but it’s important to recognise that not all customers are the same. What motivates your customers to use you, and to continue to use you to the exclusion of any other business may well evolve over time.
If you’ve heard the age old saying “treat others as you wish to be treated” try and forget it at once. Whilst it’s a nice idea in general, when it comes to customer experience, personalisation is becoming more and more important. You can’t tailor your customer journey to your customers if you assume they all want to be treated the same, and that they want to be treated as you would like to be.
Instead, get to know your customers. Ask them what matters to them, why they use you and how happy they are with their customer experience with you. If you enable your customers to feed back in a way that’s as convenient as possible, and empower them to feedback easily at a time and in a way that they can access when they feel most motivated to talk about customer pain points. They will want to share the things they have loved about their experience and you will get great quality customer insights you can use to inform any strategic thinking.
The first rule in customer experience transformation is to never assume you know what your customer wants. Always check in. Check before you start, check part way through your project and check at the end to make sure you have understood your customer needs, and that you new customer strategy is truly customer centric.
We often get asked, where should I start with my customer experience initiatives? Well, once you have a strong feedback strategy in place, customer journey mapping can be a great starting point. It’s a way to break down your entire customer experience, look in detail at customer pain points, key moments in your customer experience where your customer will make decisions, and make sure that you analyse your current customer journey in enough detail to spot any weaknesses.
Once you’ve mapped your current customer journey, you can then use your customer insight, any best practices or technology advances you are hoping to use to improve processes, and any company data available to design your future state customer map. This is sometimes referred to as you ‘aspirational customer journey map’.
The goal is to remove the element of chance from the customer experience wherever possible, and to use a combination of new processes, design thinking and cross functional expertise to close any gaps between your current ‘as is’ journey map, and your ‘aspirational’ one.
Focus on each stage of your customer experience, breaking it right down into who is involved, what the customer wants and needs at that point in their journey, and what their expectations are, what their emotional state is.
Then look at the biggest areas of pain, the frustrations your customers have with your services or processes and try and fix those pain points wherever possible.
Customer experience transformation roadmap
Some aspects of your customer experience transformation may happen quickly, you might spot quick wins you can implement immediately. For some aspects of change such as with technology or artificial intelligence you will want to take time to research the best options for both customer and the business.
Many leaders find it helpful to create a roadmap to help keep their transformation on track. A roadmap outlines the key milestones, what’s required to achieve those milestones and the ideal timeline for the project implementation.
It will help maintain momentum and focus, ensure that C Suite and other key stakeholders have something tangible they can use to follow any decision making or progress, and it can be so motivating to the project team to not only know exactly where they are heading, but to also be able to look back on what they have already achieved.
Consider building a roadmap to guide your customer experience transformation, and settle in for the long haul. Whilst a lot of specific initiatives may be quick to implement, wide-scale customer experience change can take two to three years by the time you have addressed any cultural barriers.