Every company wants to deliver a great customer experience, but not every company has identified or implemented the customer experience strategies that enable them to follow through.

What customer service best practices should your customer experience strategies include? We looked at the entire service experience—including awareness, purchase and adoption—in our Customer Experience Best Practices Study to discover the key differentiators between companies that have raised their customer satisfaction (CSAT) score and those whose CSAT remained steady or declined. Respondents evaluated 50 service practices, including leadership activities, cross-organization collaboration and training and coaching. We also examined data on respondents’ spending patterns and key performance indicators.

Our results showed important distinctions between Leaders—the 55% of organizations reporting improved customer satisfaction—and Laggards—the 37% of organizations with stagnating CSATs and 8% with declining scores. The differences between Leaders and Laggards were particularly striking in the following five customer experience strategies.

1. Understand How CX Links to Business Outcomes

In our survey, 77% of Leaders, compared to 52% of Laggards, said they had a clear understanding of the link between positive customer experiences and business outcomes. Unless your organization’s senior executives appreciate the benefits of a customer experience strategy, they’ll move on to other initiatives that may seem to make a greater impact on the bottom line.

To link outcomes, customer experience professionals need to build a business case that demonstrates the return on investment of improving your customer experience strategy. One way to support your case is by tracking customer experience metrics that measure increases in productivity, efficiency and cost savings. Meanwhile, decide how to quantify the longer-term impact of improvements that will appeal to customers and build loyalty.

2. Define and Communicate a Vision for the Desired Customer Experience

Almost two-thirds of Leader organizations (65%) have communicated a vision that clearly defines their desired customer experience, compared to 38% of Laggards. This customer-centric, proactive step guides every action that these organizations take.

A key component of building a vision is translating the concepts underlying the vision into action. One step in this direction is to understand the difference between intended and actual experiences at every touchpoint with customers. Your organization can kick-start this process by constructing a journey map to highlight gaps that, if resolved, would enable you to deliver more positive defining moments and exceed customer expectations.

3. Deliver a Consistent Customer Experience That Aligns With Your Brand Promise

In our 2019 World-Class Sales Practices Study, we found that organizations that deliver a consistently high experience across every channel—including inside sales, field sales, e-commerce, channel partners and customer service—have higher win rates, quota attainment and revenue plan attainment. So, it’s not surprising that our Customer Experience Best Practices Study showed that Leaders (63%) beat Laggards (45%) in this attribute.

A seamless experience between each touchpoint improves the customer experience; so does living up to what your organization promised customers that it would do. Hold your customer-facing teams accountable to your brand promise and measure how well they deliver on that promise.

4. Implement a Voice of Customer (VoC) Program That Monitors Your Customer Experience Delivery

Just over half (52%) of Leader organizations have a VoC program, compared to 23% of Laggard organizations. Hearing about the customer experience secondhand, even from front-line reps who interact with customers daily, isn’t the same as consistently collecting feedback straight from customers.

Organizations need to conduct customer surveys that gather quantitative as well as qualitative data. Obtaining both kinds of customer perspective data raises your organization’s awareness of friction in its customer-facing processes.

5. Use VoC Data to Drive Continuous Improvements

Leaders (52%) again outpace Laggards (26%) by nearly double in having a VoC program that captures the right information to understand the customer experience. Customer feedback is worthless if it goes unused; this data only offers value when organizations translate it into learnings that inform a customer experience strategy designed to build greater customer loyalty.

Stakeholders from sales enablement, sales and service should use VoC data to guide their approach to easing customer tension. Managers will find VoC data useful in highlighting opportunities for additional customer service training and coaching.

Take the Next Step and Move From Knowing to Doing

Knowing that you have a problem is the easy part; it’s doing something about that problem that requires hard work. Many organizations know they should improve their customer experience, but they haven’t yet taken the steps required to follow through on that knowledge.

Our customer experience training teaches the key employee behaviors that help organizations transform from Laggards to Leaders in customer satisfaction and other key customer experience metrics. Contact us now to learn how our Service Ready training can close your organization’s knowing-doing gap and elevate your customers’ experience.

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