Customer Experience News & Trends

How to get the most out of your CX initiatives

Brace yourselves for this hard truth: Most initiatives to improve the customer experience are a waste of money. But fear not, there are research-backed tactics that can make your CX plans work.

More than 75% of B2B companies could be wasting up to half of their investment on ineffective customer experience initiatives, a recent Accenture study found.

In fact, more than half of the leaders in the survey admitted that their customer experience programs achieved little, flat or negative return on investment (ROI) in terms of retaining customers and building revenue.

Still, even though leaders recognize their plans aren’t working at this point, more than 40% of them still intend to increase spending on the customer experience by at least 6% in the coming year, the study found.

Of course, we want to help our CXI readers spend that money well and see results from their customer experience initiatives. So follow these five best-practices culled from the research:

1. Put power where it’s needed

We all know that what’s measured, gets done. But in many customer experience initiatives, no one person or unit is totally accountable for the success (or failure) of the effort because so many groups are involved in the customer experience.

Researchers suggest getting a leader (whether it’s an outright VP of Customer Experience, the sales manager or a customer service executive) involved deeply and empowered in the finances of the initiative so someone is responsible and accountable for results. Plus, giving an initiative proper leadership from the start helps ensure the strategy will ebb and flow as customer needs and expectations change over time.

2. Adopt a new customer model

Most customer models are still based on the customer journey that existed before the Internet — a sales funnel that started broad through awareness and consideration to the narrow filter of purchase and use. That model doesn’t fit many businesses any more, nor does the typical customer exist anymore. Customers are more educated than ever by the time they reach out to you — thus the experience starts before the organization even knows it.

While everything seems far more advanced, researchers actually suggest that organizations focus on the basics first in a new model. Yes, create the new journey (with awareness and consideration factored in well before your proactive introduction), but focus on getting the basics at each stage consistent before adding any new touches.

3. Deliver the easy experience you promise

Some companies loves to tout how easy it is to do business with them because they have “friendly reps standing by,” “24-hour web chat,” “easy-to-use apps” or “the newest technology.” Then customers are essentially forced to use different, less-convenient channels — usually because they’re the ones properly staffed.

Don’t market any channel that isn’t fully capable of handling the demand that will come with launches, products, promotions, etc. It’s better to lead customers to traditional channels (phone, email or brick-and-mortar stores) if that’s where they’ll get the highest quality experience. They prefer it that way.

4. Invest wisely

Understanding the new customer journey lays the groundwork for improving the customer experience. Organizations can best establish what needs to be improved and where they should invest by looking at:

  • existing investments and determining the ROI on what has been done
  • which investments and efforts have been noticed and are valued by customers, and
  • where other organizations excel in the customer experience.

5. Be serious

Going forward with any customer experience initiatives, organizations want to build a plan that has quality standards built into every step. Then the steps can be managed and measured to ensure the investment pays off, customer satisfaction increases and the company builds a reputation for an outstanding experience.

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