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Designing and managing a customer experience initiative that serves a vast organization is a significant undertaking. The scope and importance of such programs warrant having a team with the necessary resources for deploying the initiative, monitoring the activity and measuring the impact. While the size and scope of the team will vary based on each organization, it is essential to establish a team and provide the right resources to ensure success. Here are four steps you can take to achieve world class culture and communication:
- Develop the brand of your customer experience strategy. What does it stand for? How will colleagues and customers recognize it?
- Develop a communication plan that ensures the customer story is delivered in a clear, concise and compelling manner to all the right audiences.
- Reinforce the message internally and externally.
- Ensure executives are sending the same messages in their communications.
The following best practices should be considered for improving the customer experience across the customer journey stages:
- Use technology to automate multiple aspects of the journey, reducing the overall time to value for the customer.
- Remove unnecessary paperwork and traditional documentation requirements for the customer, minimizing effort.
- Provide service geared around the customer's schedule.
- Set clear expectations with the customer and then meet them.
- Proactively keep the customer informed and up-to-date throughout the journey.
- Solicit near-time customer feedback with very targeted metrics.
How trusting are you of people? Now, what if I asked how trusting you are of businesses? I have a hunch your answer may have shifted. As customer experience professionals, we need to understand why trust matters to customers and what can be done to build it.
Enter Dan Ariely, professor of psychology and behavioral economics at Duke University. In The Trust Factory, he outlines five key mechanisms that boost trust and how businesses can apply them. Taking it a step further, I share my take on how we can use his findings to build trust through customer experience (CX) initiatives.
Here are the five elements of trust and how you can put them to work in your CX program:
- Established Relationships
How to build relationships using your CX strategy:Identify loyal customers through ongoing voice-of-customer research.
It’s no secret that transparency helps build trust. Customers like to know what’s going on in a business, and they feel more comfortable knowing company behaviors are being monitored.
How to improve transparency using your CX strategy:
People judge based on the underlying reasons behind a decision. That’s why intentionality plays a critical role in building trust. Customers want assurance that business decisions are intentional and well thought out.
How to demonstrate intentionality using your CX strategy:
Somewhat surprisingly, revenge contributes to building trust. When the possibility for revenge – or the ability to provide feedback, reviews, etc. – exists, it reduces the sense that one party (the business) has more control than the other (the customer). Allowing for “revenge” can help increase customer trust.
How to enable revenge using your CX strategy:
- Devise a voice-of-customer survey, online tool or feedback forum that easily allows customers to share their thoughts.
- Promise customers something upfront if you fail to meet obligations. This could be the promise of free product returns if expectations are not met or even a free product or service to make up for it.
- Aligned Incentives
Playing the role of an adviser, rather than just a seller of a product or service, can be powerful in building trust. When companies recommend things clearly not in their best interest (i.e. recommending a less expensive offering), incentives become aligned with the customer. This creates trust in company intentions.
How to establish aligned incentives using your CX strategy:
- Have salespeople, account managers and other customer-facing staff encourage customers to provide their feedback, especially any negative feedback they may have.
- Offer customers simple ways to compare your products or services with those of competitors – take it a step further by allowing customers to provide feedback on competitors in your voice-of-customer surveys.
Now that we know the five key mechanisms of trust, you might still be asking, “Why does this matter?” Well, research indicates that greater customer trust leads to greater customer loyalty. And we all know greater loyalty can have a big impact on your business. What can you be doing today to boost trust through your CX program?
Building the right culture for customer initiatives can be incredibly difficult because so much lies beyond the control of the CX professional. Constant communication is an essential ingredient to ensure that CX initiatives are a visible and prominent element of the culture and don’t get lost among all the other corporate programs. World-class culture and communication occurs when:
- Budgets are influenced by customer priorities.
- Customer experience initiatives are highly visible throughout the company.
- Customers are informed about CX initiatives.