Not everything was better in the past. At least not when it came to designing digital touchpoints. One requirement often heard was: “Implement this specification. Make it look a little pretty, too.” So the goal was not to make the user or customer happy, but to make the product manager or his boss happy, and he might want to please his boss as well.
Over time, views and attitudes have changed in this regard. The customer experience (CX) and the needs of the customer have become the focus of product and process development. Customer experience has become a not insignificant strategic field for most brands. The overall perception and also interaction possibilities that a customer has with a company are elementary parts of the customer-brand experience, which increases customer loyalty and thus ultimately also increases sales.
Customer Experience Management (CXM) orchestrates all touch points of a user or customer with a brand. This includes all systems and also marketing strategies that generate qualitative insights. The customer is always the focus of the considerations. The analysis of their needs serves as the foundation for a customer-centric strategy and implementation.
Is it possible to manage an outstanding customer experience? And if so, how?
Particularly in American companies, attention is now being paid to ensuring that CX is appropriately positioned within the company – a number of companies have created the function of a customer experience officer (CXO). He works with various departments within the company to ensure that they pursue the company’s CX strategy.
The continuous development of optimization processes and measures are among the main tasks of the CXO and his team. Customer feedback, preferences, needs and pain points, which can be summarized as Voice of Customer (VOC), must be permanently monitored and qualitatively collected. The goal is to develop a cross-divisional customer-centric culture in the company. The philosophy of customer orientation is not a trend, but should be in the DNA of almost all well-managed companies.
Systematic analysis and optimization of the customer journey
The customer journey is the path a customer takes when interacting with a brand – from the first perception of the brand to the post-purchase experience. It is important for companies to understand the customer journey in order to provide a seamless and satisfying experience for their customers. To optimize the Customer Journey, companies must first identify all customer touchpoints with the brand. This really includes everything from social media to in-store experiences.
Customer journey analysis is a key measure for optimizing the customer experience, as it allows companies to gain a systematic and holistic view of customer interactions. Furthermore, with detailed documentation of interactions, it is possible to identify and eliminate potential pain points. The analysis of the customer journey must be holistic and intentionally ignores internal company barriers between product development, marketing, sales, communication or support. Only a systematic view of the customer journey can guarantee a consistent experience across all touchpoints, which is central in today’s multi-channel world.
Four core areas of customer journey optimization
1. Simplicity & joy of use
The first requirement for understanding the customer journey is to know the profiles of the users (buyer personas). This makes it possible to cluster customer types, identify their contact points, and thus adapt products, processes, and various touch points according to their needs so that a tailored positive experience can be created.
2. Seamless integration and channel flexibility
The goal here is to make the customer’s interactions across different channels as fluid as possible. The customer should be able to continue his actions in all scenarios and situations across the most diverse platforms without disruptive interruptions.
3. Service and purchase convenience
Aligning the organization with customer needs is indispensable. This also means that appropriate systems must be used which respond to the wishes of the customer. This guarantees that the customer is supported in the best possible way during the customer journey – be it with support requests or, for example, information on inventory and the expected availability of products.
4. Personalized, proactive and intelligent offers
Continuous optimization of the systems and adaptation to the needs and processes of the customer are essential in order to provide personalized but also value-added offers. Quantitative analysis of the touchpoints helps here.
Only the strategic pursuit of a goal-oriented customer experience and a systematic CXM with a well-founded holistic view of all processes and control of the customer journey can offer added value for a company. In many companies in Germany, this has only begun in the last 2-3 years. The optimization of the customer experience is a central strategic issue in the company and requires management at the highest level (see Link CX Studie Deutschland 2022).
Many thanks to Maximilian Vogel for inspiration and support.
Cover: Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash