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I wrote today’s post for Nextiva; it covers an important topic: how to scale your customer experience strategy and includes how you can implement tools like Nextiva to support that strategy.

The only true and sustainable competitive advantage brands have today is the customer experience. As a result, more and more companies are slowly getting on board with the need to design and deliver a great experience in order to support and sustain their growth initiatives.

But developing a strategy to deliver that great experience isn’t as simple as just deciding you’re going to do it and then doing it. A lot of work goes into that strategy. And you’ve got to make sure it scales, as well; it’s essential in order to maintain competitiveness, drive customer satisfaction and loyalty, optimize operational efficiency, and facilitate long-term growth and success for your business.

What is a Customer Experience Strategy?

A customer experience strategy is a roadmap for creating meaningful, memorable, and positive interactions that foster long-term relationships with customers, drive loyalty and advocacy, and ultimately contribute to the growth and success of the business.

Over the years, I’ve come up with what I call the building blocks of a successful customer experience strategy that outlines the key components of the strategy.

As you can see, it’s not for the faint of heart. A lot goes into that strategy – and then more work needs to be done to execute it. To be set up for successful implementation and ongoing execution of a scalable strategy, you’ve got to be operating in a customer-centric culture that ensures that employees are more first. This is foundational.

At the same time, take a look at your people, processes, and technologies – always linking employees and what’s happening to support and facilitate the experience internally to what’s happening for the customer externally – to ensure the strategy yields the desired outcomes and scales as the business grows.

Why Scale Your Customer Experience Strategy?

Scaling your customer experience strategy is important for several reasons, including:

  • Meeting growing demand: As your business grows, so does the demand for your products or services. Scaling your strategy ensures that you can meet the needs and expectations of an expanding customer base without compromising quality or satisfaction.
  • Maintaining consistency: Consistency is crucial in building trust and loyalty with customers. Scaling your strategy allows you to maintain consistent service levels across all touchpoints, regardless of the size or complexity of your operations.
  • Driving satisfaction and loyalty: By scaling your strategy, you can consistently deliver high-quality interactions that meet customer expectations, leading to increased satisfaction, repeat business, and positive word-of-mouth referrals.
  • Optimizing operational efficiency: A well-designed customer experience strategy leads to streamlined internal processes, reduced friction points, and improved operational efficiency. In scaling your customer experience efforts, you identify and address inefficiencies, automate repetitive tasks, and allocate resources more effectively to drive cost savings and productivity gains.
  • Adapting to changes: Your business and the industry are constantly evolving, as are customer expectations. Scaling your strategy allows you to adapt to changing market dynamics, emerging trends, and evolving customer preferences in a timely manner, ensuring that your business remains competitive and relevant in the long run.
  • Facilitating growth: A great customer experience is closely linked to business success and growth. Scaling your strategy provides a solid foundation for sustainable growth by attracting new customers, retaining existing ones, and unlocking opportunities for expansion into new markets or segments.

As you can see, a strategy that scales is essential for maintaining competitiveness, driving satisfaction and loyalty, optimizing operational efficiency, and facilitating long-term growth and success for your business.

Optimizing People, Processes, and Technologies

Optimizing people, processes, and technology is essential for successfully scaling your customer experience strategy.

People

Customer-centric culture: Deliberately design and foster a culture of customer-centricity throughout the organization and ensure that incentives, recognition programs, and performance metrics are aligned with customer experience goals. Encourage collaboration, communication, and teamwork across departments to reinforce the importance of delivering exceptional service.

Employee training and development: Invest in comprehensive training programs to ensure that employees have the necessary skills, knowledge, and resources to deliver exceptional customer experiences. Provide ongoing development opportunities to keep employees updated on best practices and evolving customer needs. Build out a customer room so that they have 24/7 access to everything they need to know about customers and the customer experience.

Empowerment and autonomy: Empower frontline employees to make decisions and take actions that prioritize the needs of the customer. Provide them with the authority, tools, and support needed to resolve issues efficiently and effectively without unnecessary escalation. Step away from the script, trust them, and encourage them to do what’s right by the customer.

Processes

Streamlined workflows: Identify and eliminate inefficiencies in customer-facing processes to streamline workflows and reduce friction points. Simplify procedures, automate repetitive tasks, and optimize resource allocation to improve operational efficiency and enhance the customer experience.

Nextiva, a unified customer experience management platform offering comprehensive communication solutions, has features such as generative AI, workflow builders, and no-code automation that can boost productivity, reduce repetitive tasks, and drive customer delight. It also shows all conversations within one user-friendly dashboard, providing advanced analytics and insights.

Cross-functional collaboration: Break down or connect silos to facilitate seamless collaboration, sharing, and communication. Implement cross-functional teams or committees dedicated to improving the customer experience and driving alignment across different parts of the organization.

Continuous improvement: Establish a culture of continuous improvement by regularly reviewing and refining processes based on feedback, data, and insights. Encourage experimentation, co-creation, and innovation to identify new opportunities for enhancing the customer experience and staying ahead of competitors.

Technology

Integrated systems: Invest in integrated technology platforms that provide a unified view of customer data and interactions across all touchpoints. Implement CRM systems, marketing automation tools, feedback and analytics platforms, collaboration and project management tools, and customer support software to centralize information and facilitate seamless communication.

Nextiva is an interesting platform that makes sense to have in a customer experience tech stack. The following is a quote from their new CRO, Jim Nystrom, on why he joined Nextiva.

The vision of Nextiva is part of what attracts me to Nextiva. It is delivering a cloud-first, comprehensive, employee and customer engagement platform. It breaks down traditional barriers and democratizes the tools needed to foster internal collaboration and customer delight. Never before has a single technology provider delivered a more comprehensive technology solution for employee and customer engagement. And we’re just at the beginning.”

Automation and AI: Leverage automation and artificial intelligence to automate routine tasks, personalize interactions at scale, and deliver proactive support. Use chatbots, predictive analytics, and machine learning algorithms to anticipate customer needs and provide relevant recommendations and next best actions in real-time.

Scalable infrastructure: Ensure that your technology infrastructure is scalable and flexible enough to accommodate growing customer volumes and evolving business requirements. Invest in cloud-based solutions and scalable architectures that can adapt to changing demands and support future growth initiatives. A platform like Nextiva, which is supported by top technology players and boasts compliant certifications, allows for seamless integration with other platforms, ensuring scalability without compromising quality or efficiency.

By optimizing people, processes, and technology in alignment with your customer experience strategy, you create a foundation for sustainable growth, drive customer satisfaction and loyalty, and differentiate your brand in a competitive marketplace. Let’s dig a bit further into best practices.

Scale Your Strategy – Best Practices

Scaling your customer experience strategy requires careful planning, execution, and ongoing optimization. Here are some best practices to consider.

1. Design a customer-centric culture: A customer-centric culture must be the foundation of the organization. It will drive how discussions, decisions, and designs happen – all in the best interest of the customer. It’s a culture of continuous improvement, collaboration, communication, sharing, and teamwork across departments, ensuring that everyone is working toward a common goal of delivering a great experience. Never lose sight of customers in all you do.

2. Understand customers: Ensure that your strategy is rooted in a deep understanding of your customers, their needs, preferences, pain points, and problems to solve. Listen to customers, gather customer feedback and data at every stage of the journey, develop personas, map customer journeys, and develop service blueprints to guide your ongoing continuous improvement efforts.

3. Make consistency a priority: Consistency is key to delivering a seamless and memorable customer experience. Customers expect consistent experiences across the brand. Establish standardized processes, service standards, and communication protocols to ensure that customers receive consistent service and support across all touchpoints, regardless of location or channel.

Nextiva’s omnichannel capabilities enable businesses to maintain that consistency. Teams no longer need to bounce between multiple apps to understand how a customer interacts with their business–they can see the entire conversation/journey in one view and work together to deliver amazing experiences every single time.

4. Empower employees: Empower frontline employees with the training, tools, resources, and authority they need to deliver exceptional service and to resolve customer issues effectively. Ensure that your customer-centric culture fosters accountability, autonomy, and continuous improvement to encourage employees to take ownership of the customer experience.

5. Leverage technology: Invest in technology solutions that scale, most importantly, and that streamline processes, enhance efficiency, and improve the overall customer experience. Leverage CRM systems, automation tools, AI, and analytics platforms to personalize interactions, automate routine tasks, and gain insights into customer behavior.

Amir Erez, founder and CEO of Cedar Financial, had the following to say about his experience with technology that scales, streamlines processes, and increases efficiencies:

With Nextiva we are now properly armed in real time with a 360-degree view of our end [customers]. We can better and more efficiently service them on their terms – whether that be a call, chat, SMS, or email. We’ve seen a substantial increase in efficiencies in the range of 40% as well as an uptick of agent revenue generation…

6. Monitor metrics and celebrate successes: Don’t make them the focus but monitor key metrics and use insights to iterate on your strategy and adapt to changing customer needs and market dynamics. Celebrate successes, recognize achievements, and share best practices across the organization to foster a culture of continuous improvement and innovation.

Nextiva’s customer-driven roadmaps result in hundreds of new features each year, demonstrating the platform’s responsiveness to changing market dynamics and evolving preferences. By leveraging modern architecture, Nextiva enables businesses to adapt to changes effectively, ensuring competitiveness and relevance.

7. Plan for scalability: This is probably a no-brainer, but design your strategy with scalability in mind to begin with, anticipating future growth and expansion. Implement scalable processes, systems, and infrastructure that can accommodate increasing customer volumes and evolving business requirements without sacrificing quality or efficiency.

In Closing

Scaling your strategy requires continual monitoring and iterating in order to create a sustainable approach to delivering exceptional experiences that drive customer satisfaction, loyalty, and business growth.

Know that putting the customer front and center will never steer you wrong. Understanding your customers, training employees on their needs, monitoring and adapting, and delivering the experience they expect at that time – at the right time – will lead to great outcomes for all constituents.

There is only one boss. The customer. ~ Walt Disney

ABOUT ANNETTE

Annette Franz is an internationally recognized customer experience thought leader, coach, speaker, and author. In 2019, she published her first book, Customer Understanding: Three Ways to Put the “Customer” in Customer Experience (and at the Heart of Your Business); it’s available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle formats. In 2022, she published her second book, Built to Win: Designing a Customer-Centric Culture That Drives Value for Your Business [Advantage|ForbesBooks], which is available to purchase on Amazon, Books A Million!, Target, Barnes & Noble, and thousands of other outlets around the world! Sign up for our newsletter for updates, insights, and other great content that you can use to up your EX and CX game.

Image courtesy of Pixabay.