Once companies have a clear understanding of where the bottlenecks and other problems are in their customer experience processes, they can use digital tools to redesign workflows and create more streamlined experiences. Using systems that provide continuous monitoring will allow them to see the effects of the new customer experience and find opportunities for more improvements as customer expectations evolve.
Identify bottlenecks in the customer journey
A company that has created a detailed map of the customer experience will have a good idea of where the pain points are for customers, or where there are gaps between the experience and expectations.
The metrics used to prioritize which problems to address first may differ somewhat from one company to another, based on their values or broader strategic efforts. Some of the most common include:
- Customer effort score. This measures how easy it is for customers to interact with a company across touchpoints such as purchasing products or services, using those products and services, and resolving any issues.
- Customer satisfaction score. This gauges whether customers are happy with an interaction they had with a company.
- Net Promoter Score. This looks at whether a customer is likely to recommend a company to someone else and, ultimately, whether that customer is likely to remain loyal to the brand.
Each of these metrics comes with their own advantages and disadvantages worth considering. Using just one of these measures could mean losing sight of nuances in customer reactions.
Elements of great customer experience
Every company redesigning its customer experience will be doing so for customers increasingly used to digital, streamlined, and personalized experiences. Customers aren’t comparing their experience with one company to its competitors, “but with the other digital services they use every day,” McKinsey notes.
With this in mind, there are seven key elements to good digital customer experiences, according to McKinsey, that should help inform what new systems to put in place:
- Simplicity. The design should be intuitive and require as few steps as needed for a customer to accomplish a task.
- Omni-channel reach. Customers should have their choice of support channels and easy-to-find information.
- Interactivity. Customers want their experience to be dynamic, drawing on different offerings and communities such as online reviews, forums, and social media.
- Consistency. The experience should be the same regardless of the specific touchpoint a customer is using. This makes it easier for them to know what to expect when they use different channels.
- Value. Customers expect their experience will meet their needs and adapt to changing needs over time.
- Desirability. The visuals and tone must be appealing to customers, which can vary by factors such as their location or their demographic group.
- Brand. A customer experience should always reflect the company’s brand values.
Automation, machine learning, and artificial intelligence can help companies meet these digital-driven customer expectations. Virtual assistants and chatbots can surface answers to frequently asked questions. Machine learning capabilities can guide customers to the right spots within knowledge hubs and online communities to find information they need. It can also route them to the right human agent if the customer can’t find a solution via self-service.
Artificial intelligence can play a major role in analyzing customer data to better understand their needs and wants, then delivering the personalized experiences they’re looking for. And there’s evidence customers are increasingly willing to share data with companies they trust if it means getting a better experience, PwC found, with 63% of U.S. customers saying they’d share more data for a great experience.
While technology is a key part of a redesigned customer experience workflow, it doesn’t mean the experience should be entirely automated. And technology that is integrated certainly shouldn’t make it difficult for customers to reach a human.
The human element remains important to customers, according to PwC research that found 64% of U.S. customers feel companies “have lost touch with the human element of customer experience.” When automated tools learn from humans, though, it allows human agents “to be more engaged when they’re needed, provide better service and get necessary support from technology.”
Measure impact and continue iterating
After new systems are in place, it’s time to continually monitor metrics. Seeing how these metrics shift in response to the new customer experience processes will show what’s working and what might need fine-tuning.
Analytics dashboards can provide real-time tracking of changes in customer sentiment. Dashboards that leverage technologies like AI can even monitor processes to identify potential problems before they affect customers.
Given the range of options offered in dashboards and customer experience management software at large, McKinsey recommends a few helpful criteria for evaluating them:
- Flexibility. How quickly can the system adapt to any changes in metrics the company wants to measure?
- Scalability. Can the system cover the company’s needs across different countries or languages? Is it prepared to grow with the company?
- Cost. Is this just the lowest-cost option available, or is it poised to deliver the best return on investment?
A company that has invested in redesigning its customer experience for the digital age is likely to see a host of benefits. Being equipped to keep evolving along with customer expectations will help keep it on the leading edge.
Continue learning about customer experience management:
See why it’s time to rethink customer experience and what it could look like
Read about steps for mapping the customer experience before the design process
Find key statistics for making the case to redesign the customer experience