Digital Customer Experience
We have officially left the information age and moved on to the age of the customer. Information is plentiful and readily available to everyone (just Google it). Organizations are now focused on the capabilities and skills required to acquire, and more importantly, retain customers through outstanding customer service. Technology has blurred the lines of physical and virtual services and companies are zeroing in on optimizing how they deliver Digital Customer Experiences (DCX) to set themselves apart from the crowd. Here are 10 key elements for developing and delivering successful DCX programs.
1. Executive Mandate
To build a successful DCX program, it needs to be a top priority. You need the right people to understand what DCX is and the massive (positive) impact it can have on your customers and your organization, if you are successful.
2. Clear Strategy
Take the time to clearly define what you want as an end result from the program (objectives) and then break each objective into realistic, actionable plans. We often joke that strategy is easy. Google it and then read and read and read. After a while it all starts to sound the same. Great strategies all seem to have extremely similar characteristics. Your strategy doesn’t have to be written in stone. You can circle back after you learn and make adjustments to it. In fact, we strongly suggest that you do!
3. Team Approach
One person dedicated to your DCX program isn’t enough. This needs to be a team effort. Focusing on making things better for your customers is mission critical and your entire org needs to be thinking about it. But you also need a dedicated (or at least virtual) team whose number one responsibility is to continuously improve your customer’s experiences.
4. Fund It
All too often, initiatives like these are done in part-time capacity and on the cheap. It doesn’t take much to make a project like this successful. If this is truly a key initiative for the organization, then make sure that the team has the resources it needs to be successful. We’re not saying throw everything, including the kitchen sink, at it. But a little goes a long way and your organization should start to see progress on the implementation plan quickly, which should lead to actionable results.
5. Management Support
DCX programs span multiple business and operational groups. The DCX team will need to get buy-in and collaborate with managers throughout the organization. If the DCX team is a virtual team, it is absolutely necessary for these managers to understand the initiative and what it will take for their employees, and the program, to be successful. More importantly, these leaders are best positioned to know the needs and frustrations of your customers. Encourage these managers to share their knowledge and focus on effective ways for them to provide input and see results.
6. Process Driven
When working with so many moving pieces, and people, it’s important to know how things are going to work. Take the time and walk through your key customer journeys. Map out what it takes for someone to do business with you. Make sure that you have processes for collecting ideas, and feedback, from customers and employees. These efforts increase collaboration, but more importantly, allow you to identify gaps that can be improved.
7. Flexible Solutions
When implementing strong DCX programs, you want to use technology as a force multiplier. You want to use technology to help prove out your hypotheses through experimentation. You want to experiment with your brand, messages, services, products, interactions, touchpoints, journeys and everything else that you have to offer. You want to leverage your existing IT systems where all your valuable information is stored. In fact, you want to squeeze more value out of those systems of record. To do this, you will need flexible solutions that can rapidly evolve.
Tell your story. For your DCX program to be successful, you have to tell people about it. To tell people about it you need to develop content. Part of this story is an internal story to get your team and your entire organization behind the program. Another part is to build a community of interested people. Yet another is to your partners and your entire ecosystem. Make your story is fun and interesting. Use your story to add value to your customers, partners and employees. Create a buzz. Get people talking about it, using it and collaborating with you.
9. Measure Objectives
You defined your objectives in your strategy. Now define how to measure success. Establish a baseline of where you are before you start the program so you can track your amazing success. Use tools like surveys, site analytics, page / article likes, comments, followers, email subscribers, completed profiles, revenue, repeat business, and referrals. Get creative. Get tracking! Don’t be afraid to come back and redefine your objectives and your metrics as you learn.
10. Deliver Consistently
You have to be able to go the distance. Starting and stopping or fading away is what turns people off. So build controls into your strategy, team, processes, budget and everything else to help prevent this and to help you be successful. Most importantly align to your passion, have fun and do cool stuff!