A CEO’s job is to have an influence on every decision that impacts market growth, increased profitability, and cost savings.
They focus on identifying action items that yield direct positive results, and choose where to allocate budgets effectively. In the past, customer-centric programs haven’t appeared to directly yield profits so CEOs passed on them in favor of other, more immediate solutions. This resulted in management professing a fleeting commitment to customer programs, but never making them a core strategy.
Before, customer programs were regarded as reactive and cost-heavy, but now they are seen as proactive solutions, necessary for prolonged success and revenue growth.
However, now many companies are finding that investing in customer experience programs actually increases customer engagement and satisfaction, resulting in enhanced loyalty and sustained business. With customer success taking a place at the table as a mainstream field—as essential as sales, support, or marketing—the CEOs’ perspective has changed. Before, customer programs were regarded as reactive and cost-heavy, but now they are seen as proactive solutions, necessary for prolonged success and revenue growth.
The Customer Experience Success Triangle
The Customer Experience (CX) Success triangle is made up of three prongs: product, content, and people.
In the post-sales ecosystem, customer experience is affected equally by each sector of the success triangle. Each section alone doesn’t ensure an optimal customer experience, but when efforts are made in each segment cohesively, a superior customer experience can be achieved. When implementing the success triangle, it is no longer good enough to focus on individual interactions with customers; instead a holistic view of the customer base must be taken.
The goal is to create a consistent customer experience across all touch points that meets or exceeds the standard you have set in terms of your base KPIs. At every touch point, you will ensure that the promise of a positive experience is being upheld, and that the customer experience meets a certain level of superior service. This coordination between the teams responsible for the product, content, and people requires oversight from an executive mentor, who can be appointed by the CEO to guide operations, and assess success.
When considering a product’s contribution to the success triangle, it’s key to answer the question, “What is the product or service worth to the customer?”
To ensure a cohesive customer experience, keep in mind that the end goal is to constantly measure and optimize the value that customer is deriving from the product. If you know customer sentiment and usage data, you’ll be able to pinpoint the features that can derail their engagement.
If you know customer sentiment and usage data, you’ll be able to pinpoint the features that can derail their engagement.
A good product—from a customer experience perspective—should address:
- Ease of navigation
- Intuitive user interfaces
- A logical flow through the application
- Simple and quantifiable ROI
- Pleasure garnered from use
When the customer begins using your product, the first step is to engineer easy navigation. If your customer can utilize all key features without needing to contact a support team, you’ve hit the baseline. If the UI is intuitive, odd layouts are avoided and interactions within the product feel natural and look familiar.
If the UI is intuitive, odd layouts are avoided and interactions within the product feel natural and look familiar.
For example, in order to compete with Uber, Lyft had to create an application without friction for those converting from Uber. Otherwise, those customers they worked so hard to acquire will switch right back over. Similarly, the customer journey needs to be a step-by-step process so that customers know where they are at all times. They need to realize value quickly, so they’re motivated to continue use, and the overall experience has to be gratifying. If they like using your product, they will continue to do so.
Content is an essential component of the customer experience success triangle that’s not always given the right attention. Content strategy is not easy to execute, as it takes investment, and requires time to realize the benefit. However, each part of the success triangle fits in with the others, and content can directly complement the product. Creating the right content allows onboarding to go seamlessly, and makes customers impressed by the sophistication of your offering.
Creating the right content allows onboarding to go seamlessly, and makes customers impressed by the sophistication of your offering.
Expectations can be exceeded by adding tutorials that are fast and clickable, with videos, images, and examples, so any questions are answered right away. If they have an issue, help content should be readily available in articles, diagrams, and live chats, so that they aren’t left hanging and frustrated for long. If templates can be useful for an organization using your product, create basic outlines for common scenarios, and show customers how easy it is to standardize best practices.
Case studies can add depth to your offering, and provide customers with inspiration for new ways to utilize your solution. A knowledge-base of industry relevant pieces will position you as a vendor, as well as a thought leader in the space. Webinars, white papers, guest articles from industry heroes, and more will make their content curation a much easier endeavor. If you offer extra features than what they are paying you for, their gratitude will expressed through their continued business.
When the product and content are complementary, your employees bring the two together to function seamlessly. They create and utilize the resources in the optimal fashion so that no customer is left confused and dissatisfied. Thus, coordinated customer experience efforts cut churn off at the knees. In the meantime, your staff must always be assessing the status quo, and making adjustments as needed.
Coordinated customer experience efforts cut churn off at the knees.
On the service and support teams, the focus should be on reducing the response time, and time to resolution. That way, even if something goes wrong, which inevitably happens, the customers don’t have time to get restless and look for other options. A second focus, one that is possibly more important, is the necessity for tracking customer engagement.
Find out which features increase NPS scores, and make sure the content and product point customers in that direction. Train them to think proactively like Customer Success Managers. Emphasize activities that make customers more successful, and help them meet their business goals. If you know what ROI the customer is getting from the product, you can see how to up-sell and cross-sell them when the moment is right.
The Customer Experience Roadmap
An active customer experience should involve regular updates on customer personas and data including frequent reviews and updates on content, inventory, and journey maps. Since customers are not static and evolve, your content and data needs to evolve as well. If you keep improving, the customer doesn’t have time to get fatigued with your offering.
It’s also important to build customer value models, which are data-driven representations of the ROI to the customers. Customer value models are based on assessments of the costs and benefits of a given market offering in a particular customer application. The value models will help understand how to develop product roadmaps.
Every organization needs to demonstrate urgency when it comes to the post-sales customer experience. It’s important to maintain high quality customer relationships by delivering value over time, and continuously innovating to keep the relationship fresh.