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Thursday, July 7, 2022

Designing Your Customer Engagement Strategy by Laura Patterson * [42]

How would your customers categorize their experience with your firm? A Forrester Research study that shared the findings from interviews with more than 4,600 U.S. consumers about their interactions with 133 companies across a variety of industries revealed that ONLY 13 firms received “excellent” ratings, while 45 were rated either “poor” or “very poor.” Clearly the results suggest improving customer experience and customer engagement will drive better business results.

Defining Customer Experience

Forrester categorizes the customer experience as the sum of three elements: meeting needs, being easy to work with, and providing customer enjoyment. The more complex your internal processes and the more interconnected technologies you have, the greater the opportunity to negatively impact the experience. Companies who are too internally focused, struggle the most with improving customer experience. To affect customer experience and engage customers you need to be a customer-centric organization. Customer-centric organizations evaluate processes, technologies, personnel, and decisions in terms of the impact on their customers and recognize that customer experience and engagement can be a valuable differentiator in the market.

Customer Experience

How do your touch points impact your customer’s experience?

Earn High Marks

Companies who achieve high marks for customer experience generally have invested in cross-channel alignment, established customer-centric metrics, and have a customer-centric culture. These organizations recognized that a positive experience is the responsibility of everyone in the organization. The organizations objectives, strategies and metrics are aligned in order to facilitate the customer experience.

Customer-centric companies have mapped all the customer touch points and are committed to improving touch point effectiveness. Studies suggest that few companies are good at mapping their customer touch points. Mapping customer experience across all touch points has a tangible impact on the ability to engage with customers. Companies who have mapped the customer touch point process feel this approach has positively affected the success of their customer engagement strategy. Mapping customer touch points is something any company can initiate.  Improve your touch point effectiveness with our Touch Point Effectiveness Workshop.

Four Key Elements to Delivering the Ideal Customer Experience

When it comes to metrics, customer-centric companies monitor customer metrics such as engagementloyalty, retention, growth, and on-boarding for new customers.  Research suggests that the ideal experience fulfills four key elements:

  1. Convenience: An enterprise needs to deliver on ease of contact, short wait times, through any channel the customer prefers
  2. Competence: Humans or self-service tools need to have fingertip access to all necessary information and be consistent across all channels
  3. Personalization: Companies and their web sites must recognize and remember the customer, and use existing information about them appropriately
  4. Proactivity: A company must proactively reach out whether by phone, text message, or other channels. The topics range from a simple follow-up to informing the consumer about relevant products and services (while still respecting the need for permission and being mindful of customer preferences).

While improving customer experience and engagement won’t cure all the problems your company is facing, it is a pivotal opportunity. Customers are becoming increasingly intolerant of poor customer service. Customer engagement is seen as being about creating relationships which result in value both for customers and for organizations. Research by E-Consulting and Cscape found that a customer engagement strategy increases long-term customer value and the value delivered to customers.

Develop Your Strategy

After you take a look at your current capabilities and map your customer touch points, you can begin to develop a strategy that will enable you to create the ideal experience and improve engagement with customers. To deliver an ideal customer experience, it is important to have a well thought out customer experience and engagement strategy. To be successful the strategy will need to address customer interaction in all its forms (web, phone, etc.), personnel skills, infrastructure to support customer-centric processes and data collection, business process, and customer-service and engagement data.

Laura Patterson is a marketing practitioner, consultant, writer, and speaker. Contact her at  laurap@visionedgemarketing.com. Also, check out Laura's other articles [22 & 38] on the Customer Value in the Now Economy blog.

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