8 steps for creating a customer experience mindset within your business
9 min read
Creating a customer-centric culture within your business takes effort, dedication and hard work.
But you know what? It's worth the investment.
No brainer then, right?
Well, while it might seem like a simple idea - you know, businesses striving to put their customers first - few companies actually execute this idea as effectively as they could.
As we know, though, customers are the lifeblood of any successful organisation. And by creating a customer experience mindset within your organisation, you'll actually start to put the needs of your customers first on an everyday basis.
Ready to see how it's done? Follow these 8 simple steps and you'll be taking an empathetic walk inside your customer's shoes in no time.
Step 1. Define your Customer Experience (CX) objectives
Before you start to create a customer experience mindset within your organisation, you need to clearly define your objectives. Essentially, this will help direct your entire CX strategy and ensure you're focusing on the right areas. When defining your objectives, you want to think about the journey your customers take; this is from the very first point of contact right through to becoming an advocate for your business. Just ask yourself three questions:
When and how will your customers interact with your brand?
What needs and pain points will they have along the way?
What kind of expectations do they have?
By answering these questions, you'll be able to determine where your CX efforts should be focused. For example, if you know a large portion of your customers carry out brand research on their phones, double down on mobile optimisation. Or if you notice that customers are struggling to understand your pricing model, make your costs more transparent. Basically, by clearly defining your objectives, you can create a strategic plan for improving the customer experience across all touchpoints.
Still with us? Great.
Time to get into the weeds of CX.
Step 2. Plot out your CX strategy
OK, so you've clearly defined your objectives - perfect.
Now it's time to develop a game plan for achieving them. Essentially, this blueprint will help you align the entire organisation around the same vision: delivering great CX across all touchpoints. Not only that, it'll help you ensure all of your efforts are working in harmony to achieve that vision.
Sounds good. But what's involved?
Solid CX strategies always include the following three components:
A roadmap with clear objectives and deliverables
An implementation plan that outlines the who, what, where, when and how of achieving your objectives
A CX measurement framework that outlines how you will measure the success of your CX efforts
Hold up, we know what you're thinking...
Don't worry, we'll get to that one next.
Step 3. Map out your CX measurement framework
Creating a strategy helps ensure your company's working on the right initiatives and that CX is being considered from all angles. And that's great.
But developing a solid strategy is only half of the battle. You also need to create an effective measurement framework to make sure your efforts are actually working. Essentially, this blueprint outlines how you'll measure and evaluate the success of your CX efforts over time.
To build your framework, consider questions like:
What is the baseline? And how will you compare your results to the baseline?
What are your Key Performance Indicators? (KPIs)
How frequently will you collect data?
What tools will you use to collect data and how often?
Who is responsible for collecting data and what (KPIs) are they responsible for measuring?
How will you measure customer satisfaction, NPS, or other relevant metrics?
OK, we know that sounds fairly involved - it should be. Essentially, it's only through insight that'll get to the heart of customer experience.
And although it's challenging to answer all of these questions; some will likely need input from across the business; the insight you gain will help to underpin your entire approach.
Simply put: once you have a solid CX strategy and measurement framework in place, you can be more confident your efforts will have a positive impact on the customer experience.
But when it comes to CX, strategies and frameworks are only one side of the story.
Step 4. Tell a Coherent Brand Story
So there's no two ways around it, a cohesive brand story is the foundation of a strong customer experience.
But how, exactly?
Essentially, it's because brand stories help you connect with your customers by telling them why your company exists and what it stands for. It also helps you establish a distinct identity that differentiates your company from the competition.
Pretty important when it takes just 50 milliseconds (0.05 seconds) for people to form an opinion about your brand online.
Finally, a cohesive brand story can help you develop clear messaging and positioning for all of your marketing efforts (including customer support). Well-worth bearing in mind when brand consistency - be it your story or visual identity - can increase revenue by as much as 33%. Nice.
So what's next?
Step 5. Ensure core processes are customer-centric
As you're optimising the customer journey, you want to ensure the processes used during every step are customer-centric.
Sure, this may sound like a lot but you'll get them locked in by creating a service blueprint. Essentially, this is a visual representation of your service or product delivery and it carefully highlights each step in the customer journey.
Basically, it maps out the digital and non-digital touchpoints and processes that are used when delivering a service or product. It also shows what happens at each step, who is responsible and how it affects customers. Handy.
But that's not all it does. A service blueprint can help you build better customer experiences by showing you where any gaps are in your current service. It can also highlight any pain points for customers and, consequently, where there are opportunities to delight them with a positive experience.
By creating these blueprints, organisations ensure their strategies aren't just top-level visions; instead, they're detailed plans with clear responsibilities assigned to each employee. And the fact that they're clearly visible to the entire team helps to break down silos - ideal in a remote-working world.
Speaking of which...
Step 6. Start leveraging digital technologies
Another way to create a customer experience mindset within your organisation is by leveraging digital technologies.
Essentially, the latest tech can help to create a frictionless customer journey for your audience. And by removing all the unnecessary pressure points, you'll not only improve their journey from A to B; you'll make customer service and purchasing more appealing. You can often do this by leveraging digital technologies such as AI, chatbots and virtual assistants - both rapidly improving in functionality.
Another use would be the application of GPS. For example, you can use geolocation to recommend local options or provide directions to a physical location. This can help to reduce the amount of time wasted by customers as they try to find your business.
Step 7. Establish a culture of continuous improvement
OK, we've waxed lyrical about the benefits of continuous improvement before.
But when you're creating a CX mindset within your organisation, one of the best ways to ensure that you're always improving is by establishing a continuous improvement process.
This means that your employees should continuously be on the lookout for opportunities to learn about your customers. But to do so, they should always have the right tools and processes to gather data; it's these systems that will vastly improve your ongoing CX efforts. What's more, you need to stimulate your employees to ensure they're always learning.
So make sure they have access to the right resources, including everything from internal training programs to industry conferences and events. Providing these resources will help your employees gain a better understanding of what it takes to provide a great customer experience.
Simply put: to improve the customer experience, you must ensure the internal culture is just as great as those customer-facing parts of your business.
(8) Create a culture of CX
The final step is to ensure every person within your organisation understands how important customers are to your overall success; that creating a customer experience mindset requires more than just creating new processes and systems.
Nope. It's about changing the entire culture of your organisation from within.
This means making sure that everyone from the CEO down understands how much the business needs customers. It's about educating staff on why it's crucial for them to provide an amazing customer experience at all times; not just when they're directly interacting with them or performing specific service-related tasks.
The goal is not just for each individual employee to have a good understanding of why customers matter - they likely get that already.
Instead, it's about helping them to understand how their jobs contribute positively or negatively towards this goal. Ideally, any time an employee makes a decision or engages in an activity, it should be done with the end user in mind.
So encourage employees to think about how their decisions affect customers and how those decisions affect long-term relationships with them.
Do that and you'll start to see the long-term benefits too; increased loyalty, advocacy and lifetime value to name just a few.
Making conclusions on CX mindsets
The ultimate goal is for every employee within your organisation to feel like they're part of one big team. Essentially, they should all work together towards one common goal: delivering an amazing customer experience at all times.
Why? Well, having a customer experience mindset can be the difference between a company that's slow to adapt alongside its audience and one that stays ahead of the curve.
But when 73% of consumers already cite customer experience as an important factor in their purchasing decisions, why wouldn't you prioritise CX this year?