The fifth edition of Salesforce’s State of the Connected Customer report indicates that 90% of buyers say the experience provided by a company matter as much as products or services.

Weaving a top-notch customer experience is equally demanding as the development process of a product or service. The struggle is due to the fact that today customers demand a pleasant customer experience every moment they interact with a brand. Creating an end-to-end customer experience is a complicated task because the digitally growing world has given rise to omnichannel CX. 

The path a customer follows to stay in touch with the brand is no more linear. A customer discovering your brand on Instagram might want to interact with your brand through email and not Instagram DM or comment section. The complexity of understanding customer behavior and the pattern they follow to make a purchase is increasing due to technological advancements. On top of that, there is zero space for making mistakes in this heavily crowded and competitive market, as losing customers forever negatively impacts a business.

An excellent end-to-end CX brings favorable customer outcomes. Brands need to focus on enhancing the throughputs in the system to lead to successive positive experiences. 

How to Improve End-To-End CX?

For instance, a prospect discovers your brand from a Facebook advertisement and gets aware of the brand through social media. But the candidate decides to review your product feature through the company website and proceed to make a decision. Having a few queries regarding the product, they do not find the customer support page and leave looking for alternatives. If a company provides a solution to a customer query on Facebook, then it needs to do the same on the website.

Businesses need to improve the seamless end-to-end customer experience to avoid the formation of isolated CX on different touchpoints that ruins the customer journey.

7 ways to level up the end-to-end customer experience

Here is a detailed explanation of the 7 best practices to keep in mind to enhance end-to-end customer experience:-

1) Rework Customer Journey

“Journey mapping is a creative process that allows you to understand – and then redesign – the customer experience. The output is not just a ‘pretty picture;’ once the map is developed, it is meant to be a catalyst for change.” says Annette Franz, CEO of CX Journey Inc.

The ineffectiveness of the customer journey is due to the lack of proper understanding and execution of journey mapping. First, it is crucial to get into the customers' shoes and avoid operating through the lens of brand standpoints. 

Here are 4 action steps to refine the customer journey:-

  • Look for every possible channel, apart from the already existing one, that your customers may prefer to interact with the brand, such as live chat, phone calls, social media posts, and many such mediums.
  •  Form a clear strategy to incorporate the customer journey map generated and test its credibility. 
  • Implement the strategy and observe if or not customers can get into the next stage of the sales funnel more conveniently than before. 
  • Keep reworking to map the journey and deliver an effective end-to-end CX with the help of VoC and customer data.

2) Remove Potential Roadblocks

“It takes months to find a customer… seconds to lose one.” – Vince Lombardi.

Retaining customers is touch. Due to frequent changes in customer behaviors, holding on to a smooth customer experience throughout the journey is challenging. Customer face roadblocks because brands find it daunting to catch up with customer trends in a shorter period of time. 

To reduce customers' difficulty, your brand must work towards boosting the Customer Effort Score (CES) by constantly making changes until you obtain a best-fit solution. As per Gartner, a low-effort interaction costs 37% less than a high-effort interaction. And low-effort experiences reduce costs by reducing up to 40% of repeat calls, 50% of escalations, and 54% of channel switching. 

The benefits of a good CES are enough for a brand to work on it. Here are a few tips for maintaining a decent CES to optimize the end-to-end customer experience:-

  • Decrease your average customer service response time.
  • Be there for your customers at every touchpoint.
  • Enhance CX in every customer self-service section.
  • Evaluate and refine customer-facing endeavors.
  • Be quick in generating relevant solutions for each negative customer feedback you receive.

3) Make Use of Customer Insights

The dynamic nature of the consumer market is pushing companies to make decisions based on customer insights. The ever-changing customer expectations have made insights a valuable asset for brand growth. According to a Forrester report, Insight-Driven Businesses (IDB) are eight times more likely to speak that they grew by 20% or more than beginner firms.

Nowadays, several customer experience analytics platforms have emerged that assist brands in becoming insight-driven businesses and deriving impactful conclusions. The AI-driven analytics solutions from these platforms entitle companies to provide valuable offerings to the customer at every customer point of contact.  

To illustrate, Clootrack, in its customer insights reports, mentions top category drivers that allow a brand to create a unified customer experience that increases Customer Lifetime Value (CLV). For instance, let's take Clootrack's 2022 report on Customer Experience in Energy Drinks Industry. The report states the top 5 category drivers that influence CX and drive customer's decisions while purchasing an energy drink:-

1) Taste & Flavor

2) Price

3) Sugar Content

4) Usage

5) Energy Boost

Any energy drink brand can use the above findings and get ahead of the competition by working on improving the factors that compel customers to go with a particular product or service. Similarly, customer insights enable businesses in all industries to flourish by delivering a consistent positive CX to consumers. 

4) Provide Personalized Customer Experience

Salesforce reveals that 70% of consumers say a company’s understanding of their individual needs influences their loyalty.

Customizing offers by leveraging the customer data gathered from various sources lends a hand in furnishing the best customer experience. Generalized offerings are unprofitable as they fail to attract customers. Lack of personalization pushes away customers, drastically reducing the Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) score and brand revenue. 

A 2018 research by Epsilon indicates that 80% of customers are more likely to make a purchase when brands offer personalized experiences. These days, brands can hyper-personalize the customer experience by delivering custom-tailoring solutions. Catering customer-specific solutions reduce churn rate and help an organization become customer-centric. 

With the targeted solution, consumers get unique experiences that bring favorable and anticipated consequences for all customer programs installed to create supreme value. Here are a few tips to supply personalized CX:-

  • Increase relevancy in solutions with the help of techs like AI and ML.
  • Stay versatile and outperform customer expectations by generating omnichannel personalized experiences.
  •  Customize messages while upselling and cross-selling products or services.
  • Promote a customer-first mindset in organizations to prioritize customer-focused operations.

5) Promote Interdepartmental Collaboration

“Many brands still think that customer experience is part of marketing. This mindset deters them from enacting the entire customer experience journey effectively. If this is the case, brands need to collaborate with key departments (e.g., IT, sales, marketing, nance, etc.) to remap the entire customer journey for their major products and services.” says Larry Leung, Principal | CXO at Transformidy, in Clootrack's 102 CX Expert report.

The flaw in the collaboration of different departments crushes the customer experience. Misalignment of operations disrupts the internal working system, generating a gap between the brand and the customer. It negatively affects the customer acquisition and retention rate.

The presence of quality customer experience at each customer interactivity end is only possible when all departments unify their actions toward providing an effortless customer journey. Breaking departmental silos brings clarity to the operations and enriches CX. 

Here are a few pieces of advice to break silos and promote interdepartmental collaboration in your organization:-

  • Establish and follow a shared organizational vision.
  • Use collaboration tools for better team association.
  • Organize training sessions and workshops to keep teams updated regarding customer-related brand strategies.
  • Promote transparency among departments and encourage them to be on the same page and work on the same information.
  • Ensure the communication channels in the organization allow fluent cooperation between teams.

6) Encourage Well-Planned Transformations

In 2016, Mckinsey reported that the B2B and B2C companies that undertook comprehensive transformation in customer experience processes witnessed a 10 to 20% reduction in cost to serve, revenue growth of 10 to 15%, and an increase in customer and employee satisfaction.

A well-structured customer experience transformation process improves operational efficiency as brands repeatedly work on upgrading the CX by focusing on the values a customer receives from the offerings. The planned transformation will guarantee the successful implementation of the rethought CX undertakings. Committing to the changes with proper visualization and approaches brings your organization closer to your CX goals faster.

It becomes a lot easier for a customer to deal with your brand as CX transformation maintains adaptability. Changing customer concerns due to the continuously evolving technology are addressed with speedy and suitable offers that further strengthen the consumer and brand relationship. 

Here are a few points you should follow to execute a worthwhile CX transformation:-

  • Align CX goals with your business objectives and create a plan around this alignment.
  • Develop a customer data strategy to use customer data to its fullest while transforming.
  • Automate customer service to allow employees to work on a more complex task that improves end-to-end customer experience.
  • Govern and keep revamping the CX processes in iterations to keep up with the positive transformation upshots.  

7) Nurture Smooth Communication and Self-Service

Smooth communication and self-service are customer delight factors. Polishing up both aspects lowers the friction customers often face while interacting with the brand.

i) Communication

Clear communication with the customers at each contact point increases consumer confidence in the brand solutions as issues resolve swiftly. Furthermore, it reduces the inconvenience the customers and service providers have to face due to repeated query calls. Your brand needs to train employees to foster and possess better communication skills because it:-

  • Reduce potential conversation barriers by simplifying the customer interaction processes.
  • Increase sale conversions as satisfied customers are more likely to make purchases.
  • Improve employee productivity and bring expected end results. 
  • Gain customer trust as customers enjoy the after-effect of the efforts put in by your staff members to comfort them and deliver appropriate solutions.

ii) Self-Service

A 2017 Microsoft report revealed that 90% of customers globally expect brands or organizations to have an online self-service support portal. Customers prefer self-service as it empowers them to find the answer to their difficulties in a prompt manner. Self-service portals are the 24/7 available customer help pleasing them with rich information at their fingertips and furnishing a great end-to-end customer experience.

Here are a few self-service models for customers self-help on your website:- 

  • Create dedicated pages for the knowledge base and blogs.
  • Conduct webinars whenever any new feature rolls out. 
  • Avail videos on the hows and whys of the features.
  • Automate customer service through chatbots.

Final Thoughts

Businesses need to watch out for customer satisfaction throughout the customer journey to get the desired results. Your brand can assure that customers remain happy and stick with you for a comparatively long duration by adopting measures that enhance end-to-end CX. Refining an end-to-end customer experience requires planned and directed actions. 

The following 7 steps aid a brand in improving the end-to-end customer experience:-

1) Reworking customer journeys,

2) Removing roadblocks, 

3) Using customer insights, 

4) Providing hyper-personalized CX,

5) Promoting interdepartmental collaboration,

6) Encouraging well-planned transformations, and

7) Nurturing smooth communication and self-service.

These measures are a path to establishing a robust system for maintaining a best-in-class CX. Frictionless CX builds a strong customer-brand bond, serving various benefits to both parties. 

Read More:- 5 Steps To Accelerate Customer Experience During Digital Transformation.