What is a Customer Experience strategy?

A customer experience (CX) strategy is the blueprint your organisation uses to provide positive experiences at every point of the customer journey.

As a business, you know that your customer experience is just as important as the product or service you offer—maybe even more. Customers need to know that the company that they engage with is trustworthy, easy to work with, and will treat them with respect. That is why organisations are adopting a customer experience strategy to help them understand the needs and behaviours of their customers and serve them better. This means establishing a customer experience strategy that helps define, operationalise, optimise and document your customer experience.

Reduces customer and agent churn

Customer retention is one of the best ways to increase your return on investment (ROI), because returning customers need less prompting from your business as their positive experience guides their shopping decisions.

As a bonus, a great CX strategy is going to reduce your agent churn. You do not want to lose customers because your frontline employees are disengaged. Having a clear customer experience strategy in place reduces confusion and frustration for your agents and protects your business from high turnover rates.

Increases Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)

A rewarding sign of success is when you have increased customer lifetime value (CLV). Happy customers become return customers. Creating a competitive experience for them means better retention and less money that you must invest in new customer acquisition.

Exceed expectations

A customer experience strategy gives you the ability to understand your customer's behaviour to deliver expectations. True proficiency over the customer experience means that you can anticipate client needs and go beyond what is expected to cultivate loyalty and satisfaction.

Resilient relationships

Customers who are happy with a brand's CX are going to return and continue to engage with your services, especially if their one-on-one interactions went above and beyond. Customers who have a good relationship with your brand behave in the following ways:

  • Are willing to pay more
  • Forgive mistakes
  • Are likely to refer a friend
You can gain a clearer understanding of how your customers feel about their experience with your brand through Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys. NPS helps you establish a customer-satisfaction benchmark to create more resilient relationships.

Establishes stronger initiatives

From marketing to production, a CX strategy gives you better information and relevant insight into your customers to make more informed proactive decisions rather than reactive ones. You can also reduce costs and better prepare your budget by avoiding initiatives that don't work and focusing instead on successful (and carefully documented) alternative.

Boosts satisfaction rating

Customers can tell when your business cares about their customer experience, and the research and strategy that goes into an intentional CX will increase the satisfaction of your customers. By providing a positive experience and improving the satisfaction level for your customers, your brand is going to receive better ratings online and an improved reputation by word of mouth.

It is difficult to quantify the customer experience, so businesses use these metrics to measure the success of certain customer initiatives and see where they can learn and improve.
Graphic showing the metrics for a customer experience strategy.
  • Net Promoter Score (NPS)
    The NPS tells you how loyal customers are and gauges how likely they are to buy from you in the future by asking a simple question: "How likely are you to recommend [your product or service] to a friend?" Take their score of 0-10 to gain a more honest perspective from your customer experience.
  • Customer Effort Score (CES)
    Customers are going to prefer a business that is easy to work with and offers a convenient and productive service experience, so this type of feedback is gathered with the question: "How easy was it to interact and get an answer to their question with our company today?"
  • Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)
    CSAT focuses more on customer satisfaction by asking the question: "How would you rate your overall satisfaction with [your service or product]?" This is usually measured on a scale of 1 to 5.
  • Average Response Time
    Average Response Time It's important to measure how long it takes for a customer's concern to be addressed and responded to. Keeping track of these averages across your communication channels says a lot about the experience that your customers are having with your brand.
  • First Call Resolution
    This metric measures how effectively you solve customer issues by tracking how often an issue is resolved on the first call or contact. Having no or very few necessary follow-up calls is a positive sign of a commendable customer experience.
These metrics will help you actualise the customer experience so you can adjust your strategy and back up your future initiatives with useful data points.

  • Find commonalities in customer feedback
    What patterns emerge when you analyse direct feedback from customers? You may find that a certain process is no longer working or that there is a technical issue creating issues for your customers.
  • Personalise surveys
    The individual experience matters, and customers want to feel heard after they take the time to provide feedback. You can add a thank you message at the end of your survey or set up special settings to specify their purchase in their email questionnaire.
  • Follow up
    An easy but damaging mistake is to let reviews slip through the cracks, whether good or bad. A negative review can take a toll on your brand, so be sure to follow up with all customers.
  • Prioritise employee experience
    Your employees' experiences with your company are just as important as your customers' because it is the employees who create the experience of your customers. Try gathering employee feedback to improve their work life and boost your CX strategy at the same time.
  • Refine based on customer feedback
    Acknowledging your customer feedback is essential, but customers don't just want empty words. Make sure you are willing to evaluate a product or service and change things if the root issue is with your main offering.
  • Create personalisation
    By collecting relevant information about your customers, you can update and personalise the experience that they have with your product, website, social media, advertising, in-store shopping and customer service.
  • Use automation
    Do not shy away from modern technology like automation, which can make your customer interactions more convenient, saving them time and a potential headache.
  • Be proactive
    Your team of agents and managers can be more proactive in discovering common complaints and helping find solutions before the customer's experience goes sour instead of trying to respond to it later.
  • Engage in social listening
    Most modern businesses are leveraging social media to learn more about the customer experience and monitoring your brand's social media platform for mentions, trending topics, competitor behaviour and reviews of any kind.
  • Continuous team training and upskilling
    Keep employees up to speed on the trends and technologies by holding regular team trainings and feedback sessions to review success, failures and best practices.

Here are the primary steps that you need to take to create, evaluate and optimise your customer experience strategy.

Customer research

Do you know your customers and what their needs are? You can:

  • Create customer personas for better marketing efforts and address what matters to your customers.
  • Use empathy mapping to closely analyse the beliefs, emotions and behaviours of your customers and how that affects their purchasing decisions.
  • Practise stakeholder mapping and management, which entails understanding the attitudes of stakeholders as you make decisions and changes. This ensures that you'll have the necessary support to update your strategy.

Customer journey mapping

Do you understand what is required of your customers to interact with your brand? You should:

  • Understand the challenges your customers face so you can align on strategy and decide on a clear direction across your teams, stakeholders, leadership etc.
  • Create a customer journey map so you have a complete picture of the end-to-end experience of your customers.
  • Use the 5 A's customer journey mapping framework to ensure you aren't missing any of the customer lifecycle: attract, accept, adopt, amplify and advance.

Build future state experience

How do you want your customers to feel once they have experienced your product or service? The future state experience is shaped by:

Use the 5 Whys method to get to the root cause of current problems and use data to make improvements.

  • Brainstorm new strategies with a variety of people who can bring in unique perspectives; ask "what if" questions, discuss risky options, think about the wrong way of doing things to spark ideas for the right way etc.
  • Use the experience design development method to keep the momentum going on your ideas and transform them into initiatives. Use this statement: we believe ([new strategy], will solve [customer need)] enabled by [full solution], resulting in [new practice or behaviour].

Essentially, customer service is one element of the customer journey, whereas customer experience includes every interaction between the customer and your brand. You can distinguish between the two by looking at the following points:

  • Level of control
    Your company can control the service it provides while your control over CX is much more limited since you can't fully determine how others perceive your brand.
  • Metrics
    Your CSAT, CES, and NPS tell you about your customer service, and though they also apply to CX, CX includes more metrics like customer churn rates, retention rates and CLV.
  • Ownership
    Customer service is overseen by customer support managers, but CX is a shared responsibility across the entire organisation, including departments like sales and marketing.

Reviewing your current customer service strategy

Understanding and analysing your current strategy is never a "finished" task; reviewing your current strategy is going to grow your business and help you perform better for your customers. What is currently working well? Where can you improve? Gather and analyse data metrics like your NPS, CES and customer churn rate to identify potential problems.

Creating a customer journey map

You need to know the ins and outs of every point of contact and interaction between customers and your business, including over the phone, online, on social media, the marketing funnel etc. Mapping out the customer journey will help you find pain points and reduce friction in the customer experience.

Employee training and upskilling

How people are treated by your brand is a defining characteristic of the customer experience. Make sure your employees have access to proper training to easily leverage new tools and are up to speed on the latest procedures or policies. This will make your agent's lives easier while elevating your service experience.

Determining your customers' expectations

You always want to have efficient and friendly services for your customers, but there may be more specific needs or expectations from your target audience. Some demographics may prefer to find answers on their own terms using self-service options, while others may prefer to chat with a live agent via phone or chat. Know your target audience and help train your team to adapt to individual needs on a case-by-case basis.

Providing self-service solutions

With so many platforms and technologies available, there is no reason why your business shouldn't offer some level of self-service solutions. If a customer can resolve their issue on their own, they are typically more satisfied with their care and your frontline employees can focus on more demanding problems.

Routinely collecting feedback

One batch of feedback will be temporarily helpful, but consistent feedback is going to ensure that your CX strategy is always up to date. Customer needs can change, so make sure your efforts align with your current audience and find new ways to improve the customer experience.

Tracking your team's performance

Your CX strategy is not a one-and-done effort, so it is important to continuously track the performance of your team to see what's working, where improvements can be made, and whether any initiatives need to be reconsidered. Workforce optimisation can help you optimise your teams' productivity and efficiency for ongoing improvement.

The experience that you provide defines your business. As such, the right customer experience strategy can go a long way towards helping you give your customers something worth getting excited about. But strategy is only one part of the equation; to meet and succeed your buyers' expectations, you need the right tools. ServiceNow, the leading IT management provider, has the solutions.

Customer Service Management (CSM) from ServiceNow brings together AI-based workflow and unmatched data analytics to streamline processes, improve customer experiences and skyrocket your CSAT/NPS metrics. Field Service Management (FSM) takes these advantages beyond the office, providing fully integrated transparency, support and governance for agents serving customers in the field. Order Management creates an effortless customer experience throughout ordering lifecycles, offering complete transparency, connecting third-party systems and reducing fulfilment time. And through it all, the ServiceNow Automation Engine automates essential tasks, empowers agents with intelligent guidance and improves work quality and speed across your business and your partners. And that's only the beginning.

Explore the ServiceNow Now Platform® today and put your customers where they belong: at the centre of your business strategy.

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