We continually hear companies say that customer experience is extremely important to them. Yet, according to a Bain & Company survey (downloads as a PDF), 80 percent of businesses believe their customer experience is superior, while only 8 percent of customers agree.
Clearly there is a disconnect between what companies hope to achieve with their customers and what they're actually doing. As marketers, it is our responsibility to provide leadership to narrow the gap between how our organization believes we're performing for the customer and what the customer knows to be true about how we're performing. The disconnect can be resolved by a comprehensive customer experience management (CXM) strategy and practice that crosses organizational silos to deliver a consistent and compelling experience.
We have entered the age of the empowered customer, who has access to more information about your products and services than ever before, and the ability to share their opinions and experiences with a mass audience. In this new world, where the customer is in control, brands must continuously enhance, optimize, enable and support the customer journey through an effective CXM strategy. The reality is the customer experience cannot be managed; it can only be enabled and enhanced because the "C" in CXM is now in control. That being said, there are sound CXM practices that brands can utilize to acquire, serve, retain and drive commitment from their customers.
The following seven steps offer a framework for marketers before, during and after activities.
1. Create Personas for Your Most Valuable Customer Segments
A great place to start is to deeply understand the behavioral characteristics of your most important customer segments. Define the personas of these key customers, as well as the most common experiences that make up their journeys. For example, how do they become aware of your offering? How do they evaluate your products or services? What types of content and materials are they most likely to engage with and share?