Customer experience is a hot-button topic in marketing.
As more and more marketing pros seek to add this skill to their toolkit, advice from one of the leading minds in the field, Brian Solis, can help.
I met Solis, a former public relations and digital media executive, a year ago. My blog post about our conversation, Is Customer Experience the Next Killer App? was one of the most widely shared, liked and tweeted blogs that I have ever written. Since then, marketers are chiming-in everywhere you turn about improving CX.
I was talked to Solis again while he traveled to one of his worldwide speaking engagements discussing CX, and gathered more insights. Here are three main ways that Solis says PR and marketing pros can improve customer experience:
1. Uncover points of friction.
The first step is the most difficult. It requires that you recognize that customers’ experiences could be improved and requires you (and others) to step outside of your roles and collaborate to bring about sweeping change. But, it can start with small steps.
Any employee or manager can address customer experience by looking within their domain—whether it is sales, marketing, product development or customer service.
A good place to start is uncovering points of friction. This can be done personally or with the help of other team members and customers. Look at the experience within and outside your department, paying attention to what happens before and after your department becomes part of the customer experience.
When you involve your customers and other departments, interesting developments can appear, enabling you to identify things that are broken and how to fix them.
2. Place innovation over iteration.
Changing the customer experience may not require a complete product or customer journey redesign, but every aspect can benefit from a benchmark review through the eyes of the connected customer.
To make meaningful changes, you need to look at the experience from both ends. This leads to improvements and opens the door to innovation. It’s important to find a balance between innovation and iteration. Both are required for success.
Take a note from Steve Jobs and the development of the iPhone. Jobs didn’t want designers with traditional cellphone experience on the team, because he didn’t want any previous biases. Rather than focus on what a phone was, Jobs looked at what it could be.
3. Rethink what success means to CX.
Improving the customer experience can have widespread value. It is important to determine goals and how to measure them early in the process. Goals should focus on business value as well as how they affect the customer experience.
What’s the ROI of customer happiness? You can use existing metrics, but to truly track experience, rethink what success means and develop additional metrics that ensure how the two align.
Track key performance indicators related to customer satisfaction, shared experiences, customer paths and conversions. Focus on new customer growth baselines, looking at revenues and return on revenues once changes are completed. Also look at the journey and whether or not it is efficient for customers based on intent, context, device and immediacy.
The more tangible goals that you set, easier you can measure success.
For more insights on CX, check out Brian’s book, “X: The Experience When Business Meets Design.”
John P. David is founder and president of Miami-based strategic communications and personal branding firm David PR Group and a partner with online reputation management firm Web Fact Check. (Image via)