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How To Develop A Customer Experience Strategy

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You have customers to keep, competitors to crush, and stakeholders to please. One way to satisfy all of the above is to develop a customer experience strategy that keeps customers coming back. 

Customer experience (CX) is the sum total of how customers engage with your brand and the impressions they receive from those interactions. CX has become a core focus for brands in recent years, and for good reason. Data shows that two-thirds of companies have made customer experience marketing (CXM) a competitive advantage, up from 36% in 2010. And those that do customer experience well tend to outperform those that haven’t made CX a priority.

To get your customer service goals in line, best-in-class brands should develop a customer experience strategy to serve as a guide. This process of customer experience design acts as a framework for designing intentional experiences to improve every interaction. 

Here’s how companies can develop their own customer experience strategy and turn CX into a competitive advantage.

Table of Contents:

  • What Is a Customer Experience Strategy?
  • Why a CX Strategy Matters
  • How to Develop a Customer Experience Strategy
  • CX Strategy Best Practices
  • Gaining Customer Experience Insights with Linkfluence

What Is a Customer Experience Strategy?

Customer Experience Strategy

We define a customer experience strategy as an intentional roadmap leading to better customer experiences. It requires marketers and CX teams to think like a customer and carefully plan, design, and execute how a brand interacts with customers across all touchpoints. 

There's nothing like a bad experience to send your best customers packing. A good customer experience doesn't happen on its own. Rather, it's the byproduct of intentionality, customer engagement, and a customer experience vision. A positive customer experience requires a customer-first mindset and insight into what your customers need and want from you. These are the most basic building blocks of a winning CX.

The ultimate goal of a CX strategy is to enhance customer experience and perceptions in ways that matter to the customer. By creating this customer experience framework, brands can make better and more intentional decisions about how they present themselves during customer-facing interactions.

Why a CX Strategy Matters

Think of all the ways a customer interacts with your brand. Maybe they find you via Google search or social media. They might read some online reviews before reaching out to you. Some might opt in to receive your email newsletters or SMS text messages. Or maybe they find you in the real world by walking by your storefront or seeing your brand at an event. 

All of these experiences take very different approaches, but you need each of them to support the brand image and outcomes you want others to have.

Sometimes, you have real-time involvement in shaping the experience because you’re face-to-face with the customers (in-store, in-person, live chat, etc.). Other times, customers are experiencing your brand in their own ways and on their own schedule. However your customer base discovers and engages with you, you need to present your brand in a way that’s consistent and sets the right expectations.

That’s where a customer experience framework is so valuable. It includes all of the different ways a customer might engage with your brand as well as the action steps you need to take to create meaningful experiences. 

Once you know where customers are experiencing your company and its products or services, you can decide how you want those experiences to look and function.

Your strategy should include customer-facing roles as well as roles outside of customer service. Everyone associated with the organization, from employees to vendors to influencers to the C-suite, is responsible for embodying and protecting the brand. When you collect feedback from other roles within the company, you’ll be able to create a more well-rounded CX framework.

How to Develop a Customer Experience Strategy

Learning how to transform customer experience and brand perceptions can be game-changing for brands. Let’s explore what goes into the customer experience optimization process, step-by-step.

1. Review the Current Customer Service Landscape

To create a customer experience map, you first need to know your starting point.

Conduct a customer experience analysis. Examine how customers are currently experiencing your company. Make a list of all the different touch-points, including those where you speak directly to customers and ones where customers “self-serve.”

You should also explore customer service KPIs that indicate success. For example, your Net Promoter Score (NPS), customer churn rate, online reviews and ratings, and similar metrics may reveal some clues about what you’re doing well and what you can improve.

2. Map Out the Customer Journey

Customers will experience different touchpoints with your company based on where they are in their journey. For example, a customer who isn’t familiar with your brand but needs what you offer is more likely to discover you via search. Someone who has already bought from you may go directly to your website or see you in their inbox.

Creating a customer journey roadmap will help you visualize all the different ways customers engage with you. This map should outline the different channels a customer is likely to use, along with their pain points at each stage. 

Developing a customer journey roadmap makes it easier to identify potential areas of friction. Once you know where friction exists, you can find solutions to eliminate friction and create better experiences.

Using a customer experience journey template can make this process easier and more thorough. Here's a great customer experience map example to get you started:

Customer Journey

 

3. Learn More about Your Customers’ Expectations

What your customers need and expect from you should play into your customer experience strategies. There’s nothing quite as impactful as giving the customer exactly what they want, and they’ll remember you for it — especially when they don’t get their expectations met by other brands.

All customers expect brands to be courteous and helpful and to provide the basic services for which they’re known. Beyond these, brands should dive deeper into what customers really want from the brands they do business with. Some customers expect fast service, while others expect high-quality materials. You can use tools like Linkfluence to learn more about customers’ pain points and expectations, including those they may not have shared directly with you.

4. Identify Potential Areas for Improvement

As you work through your customer experience roadmap, make notes of areas you’d like to improve. 

For example, your research might reveal that customers get frustrated with long hold times in your contact center. If this is the case, you might look at ways to streamline your call flows, such as offering different menu prompts to be served faster or using on-hold music and messages to shorten perceived wait times.

5. Create an Improved Customer Experience Plan

Knowing where you need to enhance customer experience will help you choose your next step. 

Consider a variety of solutions that will help you create a better customer experience. For example, customers looking for quick answers might benefit from self-service resources on your website instead of having to reach out to an agent. 

Start looking for ways to develop your digital customer experience strategy. Outline each problem you’re trying to solve, the proposed solutions, and why you chose those solutions. Then document it so you always have a guide to refer back to.

6. Invest in Staff Training to Deploy the Customer Experience Plan

Part of learning how to enhance customer experience and influence brand perceptions is to ensure everyone is on the same page. A customer experience management strategy is useless without execution, so take time to train employees on your strategy and its importance.

Share how you’re making improvements to your CX. Set expectations for employees to follow. Let them know about any new resources you’re implementing to support a better customer experience. You’ll have an easier time gaining buy-in when your team knows why you’re making these changes.

CX Strategy Best Practices

Enhancing customer experience serves a variety of purposes. It can increase customer loyalty, improve customer satisfaction, meet more customer needs, and even serve as a model for other brands to follow.

To achieve these and other business goals, though, your customer experience management framework needs staying power. Start building customer experience improvements that make an impact with these best practices:

Maintain an Objective Mindset

Never fall into the trap of thinking your customer experience is “good enough.” While you might think you’re delivering on customer expectations, your customers and data may say otherwise. 

Try to approach your customer experience insights with an objective mindset. Be open to seeing new possibilities and improvements so you can continue meeting your customers’ needs. 

Continue Collecting Customer Feedback

Customer Feedback

Developing a CX strategy isn’t a one-and-done activity. Be proactive about collecting customer feedback and using those insights to make impactful changes. Building a customer experience program takes ongoing effort, especially as your company introduces new products, services, and ways of engaging your customers.

Take Advantage of AI and Automation

AI and automation technologies can do some of the heavy lifting in building a customer experience program. They allow you to serve more customers, increase responsiveness, and treat every customer as a priority.

You can use AI and automation across multiple touchpoints, such as chatbots on your website or scheduling email campaigns in advance. AI-driven tools like Linkfluence can collect consumer insights across digital channels and track consumer sentiment about your brand’s experiences.

Data-driven tools help you keep a finger on the pulse of your CX efforts and know how and where you’re moving the needle (and where you’ve stalled).

Gaining Customer Experience Insights with Linkfluence

Developing a customer experience strategy supports your sales, marketing, and customer service efforts. It helps to build loyalty by meeting customers where they are and giving them what they expect. And with Linkfluence, you can measure the impact of your CX and know your efforts have been worthwhile.

Linkfluence is a consumer insights platform that helps you get inside your customers’ minds. Learn how they talk and feel about your brand. Listen to conversations they’re having on social media and other channels to discover pain points and unmet needs. Then use these insights to chart your customer experience roadmap and show your customers you get them. 

Schedule a demo to learn more!

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