Why inspiring customer experience (CX) is so important!
The big goal in the Age of the Customer is to inspire customers across the entire customer journey, get them involved emotionally, and make them fans of the brand. It seems that customer experience management has arrived as part of the strategic programs of German “Hidden Champions.” In the B2BEST Barometer of the IFH Cologne, it’s clear that not only is digitalization currently a high priority, but customer experience management (CXM) has also become a focal point. The study was conducted quarterly in 2021 with a number of key areas:
- 29% of the companies surveyed spend their revenue on digital technologies.
- 50% of the investments are in the digitalization of sales processes.
- The focus here is clearly on CX: With figures rising over the quarters, 84% of the companies surveyed recently said that developing smooth and completely digital business processes is of great importance for a successful customer experience.
We find time and again that the term “customer experience” is used differently, not just within industries or disciplines, but even within the same company. Thus the expression arouses different desires, marketing campaigns are pursued with different goals, and workshops started with a different understanding of what’s at stake, although in fact all want only the best CX.
The term must therefore be clarified in the context in which it is used. The name “CX” already suggests the target image that is at stake: Giving customers and users a truly inspiring experience, no matter where they come into contact with the offerings, my products, services, or information. At all touchpoints, it must be possible to have a consistently inspiring experience with my brand, so that loyal customers are created, and they remain so in the long term.
There are many quotes from famous people in the digital world – especially Steve Jobs, who describes the most important process: “You have to start with the customer experience and work backwards toward the technology – not the other way around.” Sam Walton puts things in a nutshell from the customer’s point of view: “There is only one boss, the customer.” And Bill Gates says, “your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning,” which sets the course for all agencies and CX professionals: Really think through the business model from the customer’s point of view. That is to say, basing the company’s vision and strategy on customer enthusiasm, then saturating customers, evaluating their true needs, and creating a customer world that just works and inspires, taking into account all disciplines.
It’s about the customers’ journey with your brand. Humor deployed in the right place is definitely a good ingredient, but an outstanding CX means above all ensuring that everything works well, as customers expect today. This means that the first step = “duty” should be to remove obstacles. And then you can address obvious needs, such as returning or exchanging items ordered online at your nearest store. Again, this does not exactly cause a storm of enthusiasm, but it satisfies our customers’ need for simplicity. However, from the customer’s point of view, “it can’t be that hard.” From an internal perspective, this process requires many systems to work together and long-term projects to be implemented. Accordingly, the CEM (customer experience management) focuses first of all on removing obstacles from within so that customers can embark on what seems from the outside to be a trouble-free journey.
We have to keep in mind here that customers are not just “our customers.” Customers do not have a one-dimensional view of us, as companies so often do of their customers. Although we have developed several personas, this is only an approximate model. Every person has hundreds of touchpoints with other companies, other people, and other systems every day. People who, for example, own VR glasses, have completely different experience, they handle digital systems differently, and will bring increasingly different expectations to all touchpoints. If a “normal” product information page, possibly with exploded drawings and lists of product specifications, is still sufficient in B2B, people with virtual reality experience will expect clickable 3D models and animations in the future wherever this makes sense.
Even within one’s own competitive sector, it’s critical to offer the best possible CX so that companies can offer added value as compared to their competitors and differentiate themselves. However, customers do not compare the CX that we offer them just to our competitor’s CX, but to the best customer experience they have ever had. And with the constant availability of all information and the constant emphasis on innovations in social media, for example, the likelihood of losing the fight for our customers’ attention is growing. In addition, customer loyalty – including in B2B – is decreasing. In the context of globalization, good products alone are no longer a unique selling point. So in the future, it will no longer be enough to be a “hidden champion;” instead, efforts to offer good CX must increase at least as fast as customer loyalty decreases. There must be a change in the way the company thinks internally and adapts its processes. So we’re talking about a different mindset. Just as with agility, it is less the adapted processes than the different way of thinking that needs to be initiated: Away from reactive adaptation to market needs and toward becoming a driver of disruption on one’s own market. And few changes within organizations are as difficult and tedious as changing the mindset. It’s important to start immediately, so that success won’t come too late.
The interaction of internal company departments and processes can be checked and developed using valantic CX’s Customer Experience Framework.
Customer Experience Framework
At the heart of our efforts is the best possible CX for your customers. The challenge here is to sharpen the mindset of employees for CX throughout the company and to focus on customer experiences. Agile methods help. Thanks to the iterative approach and continuous learning from the last iteration, a change of thinking can take place gradually.
With a view to the CX, one’s own vision and the strategies and measures derived from it must be adapted. This requires people and a partner with the right mindset, expertise, and the necessary skills. And now you can measure the success of your actions with the right KPIs.