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A company’s relationship with its customers means understanding their experience at every touch point along the customer journey. From the time a potential customer first considers making a purchase, the importance of understanding customers’ needs not only improves the buying experience, but helps companies improve their bottom lines. However, Forrester Research is predicting that in 2018 customer experience (CX) performance will take a dip.

According to Forrester’s 2017 CX Index™, CX quality plateaued or declined for most companies, as most CX initiatives carried little weight to deliver meaningful change internally. Yet despite companies’ inability to deliver on a quality CX, customers’ expectations will only continue to rise, meaning if companies can’t deliver, Forrester further predicts that 30% of companies will see additional declines in CX performance – declines that will ultimately impact their bottom lines.
 
To refocus businesses on realizing customer priorities, improving customer satisfaction and increasing revenue, executives need to deliver CX strategy and business value by understanding customer needs via research, experience planning, through engaging marketing content and implementation.
 
To execute a successful CX strategy, companies need to focus on building successful teams that focus on the five key areas including:
  • Team orientation and partnerships. CX teams are dependent on help from others — you cannot perform CX in a vacuum. Success comes from building strong relationships with your business and technology partners. The teams need to work together to establish a CX vision with experience goals that align to business goals and are feasible within the existing technology platform. Alignment with the technology team will shape technology decisions going forward.
 
  • Competency. CX is not just a function that’s part of a development or delivery process. Architecting a world-class customer experience requires a CX methodology, knowledge and skills to execute against a plan. Customer research, journey-mapping, empathy-mapping, developing insights, managing stakeholders, delivering process, content or user experience enhancements, and CX competency will drive measurable results.
 
  • Influence. What people think of us determines our level of influence. If we want to impact the business beyond quick wins and drive meaningful operational change, we must increase our ability to influence leaders and decision-makers. Influence is rooted in trust and we earn trust through action, exhibiting the right qualities and delivering measurable results.
 
  • Bring positive core attributes. The most influential CX team members are credible, leveraging business intelligence and data; service-oriented individuals who truly care about the customer and focus on their needs; impartial in holding everyone equally accountable; experts who are focused and specialized in the art of customer experience; pragmatic in anything they propose; determined in not losing sight of the vision to positively change the way we all do business; and inspiring, bringing a passion and excitement that is contagious.
 
  • Cultivate a reputation, which starts with communicating a clear and compelling vision of success. Explaining how and why CX can make things better, backing it up with data, while acknowledging the magnitude of the task, can give the team purpose. Being credible, pragmatic and inspiring.

How to deliver a CX strategy
Delivering a CX strategy requires having a defined process – here’s what that looks like:
  • Start by understanding the business goals, create shared business and experience goals, and reinforce actions by including business partners in every step of the process. Being expert, service-oriented and collaborative at every step.
 
  • Own the reputation by holding everyone accountable to the commitment of CX improvement.
 
  • Track and follow up on all assignments throughout the process. Be determined and impartial, eliminating bias and follow the data.
 
If Forrester is right about the 30% decline, companies have a perfect opportunity to begin laying out their CX strategies.
 
About the author
Peter Morada is a principal with Audienz, a Seattle-based firm specializing in marketing campaigns and content for technology B2B sales and marketing professionals.

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