CX: A new world approach?

Let’s address the elephant in the room – we’re all pretty much over the swathe of acronyms, new processes, methodologies and approaches to business & marketing. So when we first talked about the concept of “CX” I have to admit I winced just a little.

So why coin yet another marketing/business acronym? Do we truly believe this is something revolutionary? Or are we just jumping on the self-righteous, trumped-up and over-indulgent proprietary process train?

OK – so let’s not rule out a bit of self-righteousness… we all love to believe we cracked the world’s next big problem. But do we believe we’re on to something that helps “change the game”? Pretty much… yeah!

So what is CX?

What I love about the concept of “CX” is that it is both amazingly simple yet utterly comprehensive. It’s also just a little obvious – but all too often common sense isn’t common practice.

Essentially “CX” (to us) is 2 things. The first is Customer Experience (nothing groundbreaking there!) But more importantly (and secondly), it’s a nod to the fact that the world of marketing (what we say) and operations (what we do) has become so overlapped that to a consumer they simply don’t know the difference. Internally we often reference the embodiment of marketing as “Consumer Communications” and operations as “User Experience” or UX. CX, therefore, is the discipline of (internally) merging marketing and operations to create the ultimate customer experience (externally). One can’t exist without the other.

So how do we bring CX to life?

Aha! This is where it gets just a little more difficult. The reality is creating the ultimate customer experience is both 1) incredibly comprehensive and 2) ever-changing (see my article on business innovation here).

Step 1: Understanding your customer

Keep in mind, that all times, that your business wouldn’t exist without your customers. So let’s make damn sure we understand them!

The first stage of the CX process is to understand consumer behaviour. Specifically we need to understand your customer’s attitudes to your brand & your product at each-and-every stage of the customer lifecycle. The stages of the lifecycle can change, but typically include:

  • Awareness
  • Research
  • Comparison
  • Selection
  • Purchase
  • Experience
  • Loyalty
  • Advocacy

Going through each stage of the cycle we assess the attitudes, behaviours, needs and wants of your customers/market.

Step 2: Telling your story

As Simon Sinek famously quoted:

“people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it”

People make decisions primarily based on emotion & then post-rationalise with facts. With this in mind the goal of storytelling is to take everything we know about your brand (and your audience) and tell a story that gets to the heart of your “why”. It is this “why” that underpins your entire brand (think ethos, vision, mission, values, proposition etc.)

The golden rule of CX is that your entire customer experience should be under-pinned by your brand. In many cases this already exists and can easily be brought in as a reference. Where this doesn’t exist our first step is to help you establish this (insert proprietary workshops here!)

An adjunct to this process, where applicable, is to actually challenge the business your in. It’s not an adjunct for the faint-hearted – but the results can be amazing. For those who have read/heard Blue Ocean Strategy you’ll understand the principles behind being different as opposed to being better – and the concept of creating uncontested market space. For those who aren’t I’d recommend the read (http://www.amazon.com/Blue-Ocean-Strategy-Uncontested-Competition/dp/1591396190). That said, for those businesses well happy with their business positioning it’s an adjunct that can be easily skipped!

Step 3: Defining & Optimising the Customer Experience

With your brand & positioning well in hand we take a deep dive back into your customer lifecycle. This time we’re assessing all of the touch-points, or interfaces, that a customer has with your business.

Once again we move through each agreed customer lifecycle stage, with their attitudes & behaviours at easy reference, to help determine both what current interfaces exist and (more importantly) – what interfaces should be created (or re-engineered).

Step 4: Harnessing insights to better inform the customer experience

OK – so we’re all pretty fed up with the hype surrounding big data. Big data, in-and-of-itself is just not all that exciting… sure, big fat infographics with “mashed up” information look kinda cool. But what’s really exciting (clearly) is the insights that can be gleaned from them.

No need to panic though, there’s rarely a need for you to get data scientists involved… at least not in the early stages. For most businesses there’s significant insight in basic data (small data?) that can be gleaned & actioned relatively quickly and (somewhat) easily. Think website analytics (Google Analytics), email reports, CRM data etc. And you’d be surprised what can be achieved using the likes of Excel before you need to go down the big (and scary) data road.

Think you need more data/information but don’t have the right tools in place to capture them? You might need some better systems & platforms.

Good news is, as a customer (you are a customer right?), we can help you with all of the above.

With the right platforms, data and (more importantly) insights at hand you can regularly (we suggest monthly) present & implement recommendations that continually drive business innovation and enhance customer experience.

Step 5: Rinse & Repeat

Did I forget to mention the concept of the ever-evolving business? Let me summarise: You can’t rest on your laurels here. CX is not just a process but also an ongoing discipline. So put aside some time in your calendar – you need to be analysing your data, developing hypotheses, and refining your customer experience on a constant basis.

CX just sounds a little too hard to me! Is there an easier way?

Being the most amazing brand you can be is never easy work, but we’re here to help you through the process. Plus we can create some kick-4r5e experiences for your customers along the way!