We live in an era of business overflowing with incredible opportunity. The future is not yet written; there are no instructions or cheat sheets to give you all the answers. What happens next is actually yours to define.
That makes this time both challenging and exciting. But it’s not for the faint of heart. It’s not for those who are happy with good enough or who are already burnt out at work. Shaping the future of business will require energy and drive. You’re reading this, so I can assume you’re ready to take on the challenge.
Steve Jobs once said, “You have to trust in something your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.” When it comes to the future of business and our role in it, trust is everything.
But what can we trust? What will give us the confidence we need to move forward in new directions without the comfort of familiarity or experience?
Place your trust in the very people who define or will define your business: your customers. They and the experience you give them will make or break your business.
How you invest in your customer experience (CX) is the difference between a compelling competitive advantage and mediocrity and irrelevance.
It’s a bold leap forward to trust something as fickle as a customer relationship. But what if it wasn’t so fickle? What if the customer relationship were inherently trustworthy because of the effort you invested in its promise?
That’s the importance of CX. Customer relationships are a byproduct of the experience you design, support and reinforce.
Everything starts with a vision for what the customer experience could be compared to what it is today. Naturally, you’ll find a gap. Closing this gap immediately is your CX imperative. Investing in the CX to bring your vision to life is your competitive advantage.
Every touch matters.
And a team working with a common vision takes this to an entirely different level.
Customer experience is the sum of all engagements a customer has with you during the customer lifecycle. This relationship is an ongoing evolution and series of changes, comprising several moments of truth, beginning with awareness and discovery; shaped by information and interaction; defined by purchase and use; and reinforced by cultivation, loyalty, and advocacy.
Collectively these engagements contribute to the experience someone has and shares and ultimately to the state of brand in aggregate.
It’s a pretty big deal to say the least. There are so many ways we can get this wrong or right.
At a basic level, customer engagement is organized into five stages:
Your colleagues’ and your work is dedicated to ensuring customer interest and satisfaction in each stage. Individually they are important; together, they are decisive to your business’s success. This is why your CX is an imperative.
Engagement happens with or without us at every stage of the customer lifecycle. And each moment does one of three things:
• Adds to the customer experience
• Does nothing for it
• Takes away from it
Over time, the adding and subtracting from these moments equate to a score that much more powerful and meaningful than a Net Promoter Score (NPS).
If CX is the aggregate of engagement in every moment of truth, then each moment is only worth one part of an overall experience. For example, if you excel at marketing and sales but fail in product experience, customer support, or customer loyalty programs, you would have, at best, only thrived in two-fifths of each key moment. Your customers don’t see departments; they see one company, one brand. If one fails to deliver, then the entirety of the experience is dramatically affected. Each moment’s value is measured and added to an overall score. You can’t win in just one, two, or even three moments. You have to sweep every moment.
Let’s look at customer service. While some may think it plays only a small part in shaping customer relationships, in reality it affects every engagement throughout the lifecycle. They all add up.
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