In 2018, a Spectrum customer experienced 3 no-show technician appointments merely for an address-change request. After going through a yelling incident, 10 futile calls, and 15 days without internet, the customer was made to pay for those 15 days of non-service, something their accounts department was unaware of!
And the result - The customer had to switch to a competitor's services. So what went wrong for Spectrum?
There was a lack of a standard customer experience strategy across the organization. There was also a lack of exchange of crucial customer information across multiple departments. Each department was focused on its own strategy and silos, which made it impossible for the customer to experience a smooth customer experience.
Every brand must consider realigning its objectives in the same direction. Even if one of the touchpoints in a customer journey backfires, it can leave behind a trail of bad experiences and no-shows. Hence, it's imperative to understand what a uniform CX roadmap means and how detours from that can hurt your brand.
What is a Uniform Customer Experience Strategy?
A uniform Customer Experience (CX) strategy is like a mission where every stakeholder must share the same goal. It's a planned roadmap for companies to ensure fruitful customer journeys across all the touchpoints.
According to Forrester, a uniform CX strategy is one where experiences match content, functionality, and a coherent brand personality to user expectations, tasks, and context across every customer touchpoint.
For instance, Zalando ensures a cohesive and unified customer experience by combining the fashion wing, IT operations, and logistics. All its touchpoints are well-aligned, including product search, sizing guide, order transactions, product delivery, returns, and refunds.
What Makes a Uniform CX Strategy So Important?
102 big-shot CX experts from 5 continents participated in Clootrack's Global Customer Experience Survey, in which Rajesh Rangarajan, the Ex-Director of Digital CX at Tech Mahindra and Current Senior Director at Capgemini - affirmed the importance of a uniform CX strategy:
"The fundamental problems start with not having a unified vision of customer experience. Sometimes organizations don't have a vision, only aspirations or intent. Customers demand better experiences when interacting with brands, especially in digital spaces. But the lack of vision and inertia to move from the status quo possibly impedes progress in the desired direction."
Lack of Uniform CX Strategy - A Challenge for Brands
Your happy customers expect a consistent experience while interacting with your brand, while new customers look for a good one on their debut. Introducing the right CX strategy should be the least of your worries if there's no unified way of pursuing it.
A detour from your vision in the CX space is like a one-way path toward the cliff inviting you to have a great fall like Humpty-Dumpty. So what's stopping the companies from ensuring a streamlined vision across the organizational spectrum?
1. Presence of Organizational Silos
Companies tend to operate within a bifurcated set of silos, eliminating the scope and hope for their customer success narratives to enter. Breaking down organizational silos is only possible through significant changes in the cross-functional company policies. For instance, expecting your finance department to be as aware as the marketing teams would be futile unless the goals are realigned and visibility is ensured across channels.
2. Inaccessible Brand Attributes
Brand attributes and customer experience guidelines lose themselves amid hundreds of PDF files and unreachable web versions. The problem is that companies pose a challenge for themselves by not educating their entire workforce about the CX vision from the grassroots level. This, along with inadequate means of internal communication between departments, results in the lack of a uniform vision of the intended CX strategies.
3. Lack of Cross-Division Oversight
Despite a wide range of predefined standards, organizations lack mechanisms to ensure coordination among different teams. For example, you may devise a standardized set of CX guidelines and even circulate them successfully across departments. An evident lack of cross-division oversight and governance poses a severe challenge for organizations to implement their CX strategies coherently and in a uniform manner. A major reason behind such a scenario is the senior management already has a lot on its plate, and there is no systematic process to ensure proper execution.
4. Inconsistent CX Journey
Every business follows a different product/service delivery cycle depending on what it sells and how it sells that. This cycle commences with a shopping experience and continues with purchases, online or offline. Subsequently, the entire journey can consist of several operational facets such as transaction processing, logistics, tracking times, follow-ups, and so on before the final delivery.
Even after delivery, there are functional touchpoints such as product returns, refund requests, service requests, or general inquiries, to name a few. Among such myriad factors, it can be exhausting for a brand to sync its CX strategies and goals with the relevant stakeholders. Ultimately, no matter where and what kind of bad experience a customer goes through, it's the brand that faces the final wrath.
3 Reasons Why Your Brand's CX Strategy May Take the Hit
Now that you got the gist of the internal implications, it's time to delve deeper into the external factors affecting your brand at a macro level. A dispersed set of CX initiatives can be fatal for your brand in the long run. Here's why:
1. Customers Spread the Word
Of course, they do, and it spreads like wildfire! The biggest drawback of an inconsistent CX strategy is that it increases the probability of bad customer experiences. For instance, a lot can go wrong during customer journeys, yet only a single instance is enough for them to shoot negative reviews all over the web.
With the increasing usage of LinkedIn for brand bashing and bad CX storytelling, featuring in negative articles is something to avoid for every brand. A recent study by Moz shows brands are prone to losing 22% of potential customers due to a negative article, which goes over 59% when three such posts are found.
2. Inconsistent CX Standards Hamper Sales
Nothing that surprising, right? Suppose a customer journey includes ten different checkpoints. Now, a non-standardized CX roadmap means ten chances for a negative experience to greet the customer. However, a standardized CX strategy across all the checkpoints is less likely to result in a bad experience. It's important to note that 42% of consumers expect a good experience across all brand channels and devices.
On the brighter side, a survey saw 65% of participants willing to be long-term customers if they have good experiences throughout their customer journey. Hence, you must ensure a consistent CX roadmap at all the stages of the customer journey to avoid customer churn.
3. Customer Service Doesn't Do Justice to the Product
You risk losing customers if your customer service isn't as efficacious as your product. In fact, 95% of consumers believe post-purchase services decide their brand loyalty! On a similar note, around 61% of such customers would directly switch to a brand's competitors due to a bad customer support service experience. This is one of the primary reasons why a uniform brand strategy for customer experience can save you from business setbacks such as customer churns.
The Road to a Unified CX Strategy
James Dodkins, CS Ambassador for Pegasystems, believes, "There is no point designing an all-singing, all-dancing, mega-experience when your basic journeys are broken. Sometimes it's not about delivering the 'best' but delivering 'good' consistently." Clarity and uniformity will take your brand a long way. This isn't just for positive CX outcomes but also applies to the processes and decisions that come into the picture.
1. Map out customer journeys to introduce CX strategies
To understand the experience customers have when they engage with your product, you can map customer journeys. Mapping the customer journey is a strategic method that visually represents each interaction your customer can have with your product over a while. Eventually, you can develop the required measures to ensure a uniform customer experience.
2. Break down organizational barriers across departments
Organizational barriers across departments ultimately harm the aim to provide an excellent CX. Therefore, these barriers should be eliminated by clearly communicating the CX-focused vision and shared objectives across all company departments. Moreover, teams from distinct departments should be encouraged to collaborate toward uniform customer service and experience strategy.
3. Set out a common context for customer success objectives
All your teams and departments should align on a common context leading to customer success objectives and, ultimately, a true CX strategy. The common goal of these teams should be to provide an excellent customer experience while sticking to the overall brand guidelines originally mapped out.
4. Indulge extensively in CX analytics using the latest technologies
Integrate the latest technologies and tools to deliver a superior CX. More specifically, use CX analytics to anticipate customer needs, track customer advocacy and create personalized and omnichannel experiences. Invest in new technologies that can consolidate and analyze significant customer data and later reorganize it so that you can act on customer insights more agilely.
5. Utilize rich customer insights for enhancing customer experiences
Rich customer insights transform data into actionable measures that help enhance customer experiences and business outcomes. Analyze customer feedback and customer interactions with your company to get detailed insights into what your potential and existing customers want and expect from you. These insights show how your target audience interacts with your business and how those interactions affect customer journeys.
Where Does a Uniform CX Strategy Lead?
The destination is pretty simple - leveraging your CX strategy consistently and effectively while ensuring that none of the checkpoints succumb to great customer expectations. Here are 5 benefits a uniform CX roadmap can offer:
1. Easier, Quicker, and Better Business Decisions
Businesses can conveniently target areas for improvement or new opportunities with significant customer engagement insights such as customer behavior, preferences, perspectives, and habits. You're more aware of areas that need the effort to provide a great CX. With these numbers in your hand, quick and better business decisions can be made.
2. A Dynamic Workforce with a Common Vision
The collaborative process of creating a uniform service and experience strategy for customers helps employees comprehend the experience your customers want to have with the brand. They foster commitment and purpose among themselves. Empowered with clear direction and focus, employees are more energetic and effective.
3. Better Brand Reputation and Recognition
A uniform CX strategy directly shapes the customer experience, elevating customers' brand perception of the business. Thanks to the vast reach of the internet, consumers with excellent experiences with your business are more likely to react positively and speak well of your brand to their friends and family, subsequently enhancing your brand reputation and recognition.
4. Higher Customer Retention Ratios
An exceptional customer experience fosters loyalty and increases customer retention. People want high-quality goods and services at a reasonable price. Companies that go above and above are rewarded with long-term loyalty.
5. Greater Sales, Profits, Revenue!
Undoubtedly, happy and satisfied customers getting personalized services tailored to their needs would favor your business more. Such customers are more likely to buy or try additional items or services and perhaps even pay more considering their overall experience with your brand.
The Key Takeaways
Uniformity safeguards your fundamental CX initiatives across all the touchpoints. More importantly, the onus of maintaining consistency is on everyone associated with your organization, irrespective of the divisions. It's pivotal for any company to break down its organizational silos, come out of it, and pave the way for brand insights and awareness to reach all the departments.
You never know at what stage customer satisfaction and emotional connection take a backseat - so keeping the entire organization in the loop with the latest CX guidelines holds the utmost importance.
With the competition rising in every industrial arena, now is the time to prioritize consistent and uniform brand experiences for customers using CX analytics.