Is your customer strategy aligned with customer experience?

The term 'customer strategy' defines how an organization aligns itself to all its customer segments. Each segment should have a unique strategy specifically designed for it, based on the type of customers. Build a practical plan for optimizing relationships with customers, this is achievable if your customer strategies are well crafted, clearly articulated and have the support of various stakeholders.

What is customer experience?

Customer experience can be summed as - perception formed owing to all the interactions a customer has with a company or brand. Remember, every time a direct or an indirect interaction takes place, there is an experience formed and it holds true at all touch-points.

After understanding the brand bands you target viz. high-end, value-end or mass product and setting your commensurate expectations from each of them, it becomes equally important to ensure that they align with your customer experience. Your strategy can be to give a uniform global experience or purely value-based experience, but unless translated consciously into day-to-day operations, there will be a mismatch.

Customer strategy should be embedded into each and every customer facing process, person and technology. Only adoption at all levels from top to bottom, leadership to operations, internal departments to partners, will ensure a universal customer experience.

Why is customer experience so important?

Of the many customer interactions, a single negative experience is enough to leave your customer bitter, making them vulnerable to switch.

The goal of Customer Experience Management (CEM) is to move a customer from being satisfied to becoming loyal. The next step is to move them from being loyal to professing advocacy and then refereeing. But, the problem arises when your brand promise that sets customer expectations, does not match with their experience.

It is difficult to ensure a unified experience to your entire customer base. Segmenting them on value, then customer experience can be tuned according to their importance.

How will you ensure your customer strategy is aligned?

Unfortunately, there is no litmus test that measures the compliance of your brand strategy, but the following points may act as guidelines-

First-hand experience: Live the experience by wearing the customer's shoes or make an independent party assess the same for you.

Proactive Reviews and Surveys: The most common way of checking your alignment is by conducting surveys and learning the opinion of your customers.

Feedback management: Take early feedback and action them using workflows before they become grievances. Customers often resort to their social networks to criticise, appreciate, discuss, promote or give suggestions and these need to be considered.

Monitoring mechanism: Measure CSAT and QoE (Quality of Experience) to understand the overall level of customer satisfaction.

Challenges faced while implementing a customer-centric solution

  • Solutions are spread across multiple applications, processes, stakeholders and departments.

  • Not all customers are the same. So, to identify and segment customers into various bands based on their needs and value remains the biggest challenge.

  • Internal aspirations and commitments of every stakeholder are different and hence to have consensus over a single focused strategy remains the biggest hindrance.

  • Time required to implement such a solution is often high, along with the gargantuan costs involved to deploy such a solution.

How can CRM help you align your strategy with the customer experience?

  • Translate customer strategy into processes that are automated through technology.

  • Incorporate strategy into every customer facing function - pre-sales, sales and post-sales service.

  • Maintain a consistent customer experience using multi-channel integration on a single platform.

  • Ensure that every customer touching experience is driven by an SLA enforced process employing escalation and exception reporting.

  • Empower your employees, partners and all stakeholders with customer information sharing and actionable insights.

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