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What is a customer experience strategy? Have you laid the groundwork for a successful execution?
Let’s start by defining “customer experience strategy.”
A customer experience strategy helps you define, design, and, ultimately, deliver the desired customer experience (desired, of course, by your customers). Strategy is mainly about the how, but your CX strategy may also include details about the who, what, when, and the how much of experience design and helps everyone focus on those activities or improvements that will be most impactful to your customers. (It gets everyone on the same page, marching to the same beat.) There should absolutely be a hook into your corporate strategy.
Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat. -Sun Tzu
Customer experience strategy is one of the six competencies of the Customer Experience Professionals Association’s (CXPA) CCXP exam and something every customer experience professional should be well versed in/about. CXPA defines job tasks focused on CX strategy as:
- Define a customer experience strategy that describes the intended customer experience, its linkage to overall corporate objectives, and its alignment with the organization’s brand values and attributes
- Develop experience principles and specific employee behaviors and interactions that reflect brand values and organizational mission
- Articulate the operating plan, investments, and tactics for programmatic components of the CX strategy
- Communicate and engage employees at all levels of the organization in the elements of the CX strategy
As you develop your customer experience strategy, ensure you’ve made the following preparations to yield the best results:
- Start with a customer experience vision that outlines the intended outcome/experience. Without a vision, Yogi Berra’s famous quote will become all too familiar: If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.
- Define and communicate your brand promise
- Understand your customers: who are they? what do they buy? what problems are they trying to solve? what are they trying to achieve? why do or don’t they buy?
- Outline your personas: do different customers have different needs?
- Map your customer journeys and identify moments of truth and painpoints
- Help employees understand how they impact the experience (journey maps are helpful for this) and how they’ll help to execute on the strategy
- Use the maps and the mapping exercise to break down those organizational silos; silos will absolutely be strategy killers
- Listen to your customers and prospects and be prepared to act on what you hear; experience (re)design must be rooted in customer understanding and listening
- Hire the right employees for your brand experience
- Make sure you have executive commitment, not only for the concept/strategy but also for the resources (human, financial, etc.); you may have to build your business case
- Ensure you’ve got a governance structure in place for oversight and to facilitate execution
- Outline your communication and training plan and remember that employees cannot execute on something they haven’t been briefed on or know nothing about; Chuck Martin, former VP at IBM, said: The result of bad communication is a disconnection between strategy and execution.
- Clearly spell out the steps – how will you get there and who will do what; ongoing and open communication and reiteration will be essential
Get your ducks in a row. Outline the strategy in detail. And then execute.
As Morris Chang, CEO of TSMC, was quoted: Without strategy, execution is aimless. Without execution, strategy is useless.