This blog is part of a series about the operations pain points that many organizations face as they tackle digital transformation and change management. Our experts provide insights and recommendations based on their decades of hands-on experience and tackle some of the most pressing business and technology pain points.
Throughout this series, we’ve talked about the importance of communicating internally with everyone in your organization, planning, and tackling business disruptions. These internal factors are imperative for the success of any digital transformation.
Another desired outcome for digital transformations is the improvement of the customer experience. Regardless of industry, product, or service, ensuring a better customer experience can enable a better bottom line and enhance brand reputation.
When it comes to digital transformations, understanding what your customers want, need, and will be delighted by is as important as the technology investments you make and the strategy and planning you follow for true success. Optimizing the customer experience through human-centric improvements and innovation is the path to sustainable digital transformation success.
What are the biggest considerations for the best customer experience?
The first step is understanding not necessarily what customers say they want, but to understand what they need through their interactions with an organization’s products or services.
For example, customers may say they want lower prices and believe they shop accordingly; but in reality, they may happily pay more than the lowest cost to a competitor who offers better service and more convenient purchasing options.
The customer experience for any business comes down to a few key factors:
- Know your customers: Identify buyer personas and develop a customer journey map to visualize and identify any gaps, ensuring that different personas have what they need to buy from you.
- Know and evangelize your brand: Make sure that your brand message is clear, focused, and conveys how you address your customers’ needs and solve their problems or pain points.
- Put your customer first: Rather than focusing on features or company missions, all marketing and messaging need to convey how you serve and benefit your customer.
- Make things easy and pleasant: Making the customer your number one priority includes making sure that your website is clear and easy to navigate, content and communications are helpful and personalized, you do and deliver what you say you will do and deliver in the time promised, and you thank people for their business.
- Implement feedback: Provide mechanisms for feedback and have a system for monitoring and implementing valid feedback quickly.
What should you include in customer journey maps?
As mentioned in the above section, it’s helpful to map the customer experience for each persona to ensure that your organization meets their needs and minimizes any friction during the buying journey.
A great example of minimized frustrations is what some businesses have implemented since the COVID-19 pandemic to improve their apps. For example, a large global retailer improved their curbside pickup speed through app features that utilize location tracking and alerts the business location when customers are on the way. Plus, customers can click a button once they have arrived.
The difference in service is palpable when some curbside pickup apps require people to text or call a phone number once they have arrived. It’s this type of differentiation and customer benefit that can set your business apart from your competitors.
Questions to answer as organizations map customer experience journeys include:
- What does my customer currently think, feel, and do?
- What do I want my customer to think, feel, and do?
- How does my customer currently engage with my business?
- What would be the optimal way for my customer to engage with my business?
- What changes are needed to improve processes and to optimize customer experience?
Your customer journey maps will inform your overall customer experience strategy so that you can make targeted decisions and investments to best serve your customers.
How can organizations define a customer experience strategy?
In addition to creating a customer journey map for each persona, organizations should have a strategy for continuing improvements to their customers’ experience.
Define how you will provide optimal customer service: Whether you have a help desk, checkout counter, or app-dependent service, it’s crucial to ensure that the service provided is professional, polite, and knowledgeable and meets your customers’ expectations. Define and develop training programs for staff and a knowledge base as appropriate for your customers. Train service staff to take the time to listen to customers and accurately identify why they’re contacting your business and what they need and to resolve their issue with a positive disposition.
Offer convenience, flexibility, and consistency: The goal is for every customer to walk away satisfied with your business. Use your customer journey maps to streamline both your in-person and digital experiences so that customers feel it’s simple, easy, and fulfilling to purchase from you. A great example of this is how one big-box home improvement retailer allows you to not only order products and services from their app, but also helps you navigate within their stores during in-person visits.
Create personalized interactions: Because most people are now used to very personalized recommendations through streaming and large retailer apps, any business that doesn’t personalize interactions with customers may seem antiquated and less business-savvy. Develop ways to personalize customer engagement and outreach by implementing automation and AI in your processes.
Prioritize ease of use and simplicity: The face of your organization is your website, so ensure that it’s easy to navigate and free from superfluous pages, sections, or topics. Any communications to your customers should also be pared down to minimal and meaningful touchpoints that are personalized as much as possible.
Implement listening and feedback programs: Develop processes and systems for gathering and applying feedback from your customers. This includes social listening — the practice of monitoring your reputation and brand on social media channels — as well as surveying customers who engage with your organization.
These five strategy-building steps will help you optimize your organization’s customer experience and can be implemented into your digital transformation.
Start your transformation journey
If you’re wondering where to start, our strategy and roadmap services or professional services for transformation governance can help. For more operations and digital transformation support, read the other blogs in this series: