The Five Pillars of Exceptional Customer Experience

Winning customer loyalty and advocacy has never been so important as in this era of ever-widening competition. Organisations are striving harder to acquire customer loyalty – through differentiation of products and services and the overall customer experience.

Designing customer experience is a first step towards digital maturity and many organisations have undertaken digital transformation initiatives to achieve this. Importantly, having integrated information technology underpins an organisation’s ability to provide exceptional customer experience.   

Exceptional customer experience has helped many organisations cement their place as industry leaders and achieve their goals. Whilst technology innovation has been at the core for organisations such as Amazon (“check-out free experience”), and Tesla (dynamic personalization and driver profiles), others are able to drive customer satisfaction & build loyalty by providing better products and/or service options, such as  RACQ insurance & Bendigo & Adelaide Bank in Australia.

Clearly, there is no secret recipe here. An organisation’s ability to consistently meet or exceed customer expectation is the key. But meeting or exceeding customer expectations is not easy and requires an organisation to continuously focus on building customer intelligence (who are our customers & what do they need?), CX vision & strategy (how do we measure & meet/ exceed our customer’s expectation?), business process & culture, technology integration (what do we need?), and continuous improvement (how do we align to ever changing CX expectations?)

Customer Intelligence

Building customer intelligence is a continuous process and helps organisations to gain one view across customer segments, behaviour & satisfaction levels. More organisations are moving towards having an integrated data approach – i.e., customer demography, transaction history, and feedback details linked together. This data then provides useful insights which can be helpful in the acquisition and retention of customers, as well as providing an exceptional customer experience. Additionally, social listening has also now made its way into the mix of mainstream customer intelligence gathering.

Customer Experience Vision and Strategy

Organisations should first and foremost have a clear understanding of what exceptional customer service means to their customers and then translate that into a well-defined strategy with strong business processes supporting the implementation and monitoring effectiveness. A typical CX strategy could include a clearly defined service level agreement, channel strategy (omnichannel approach?), consistent customer communications, an effective complaint management system, and having clearly defined CX metrics.

Business Process and Culture

Reviewing existing business processes by looking at them through a customer lens helps the organisation to better align processes to the provision of exceptional customer experience. What this means is moving the focus from improving customer touchpoints to improving the overall customer journey, avoiding functional silos, establishing clearly defined roles, responsibilities, and workflows. Organisations also benefit significantly by fostering a customer-focused culture across the organisation.

Technology Integration

Technology integration is key to providing one view of customer data, transaction history and the status of the current request. Not having proper technology integration drives several inefficiencies. This can also lead to non-adherence to SLAs, delivering inconsistent outcomes and compromised experience and can introduce unwarranted delays.  

Continuous Improvement 

Lastly – but probably the most important pillar of the five – is continuous improvement. The objective of having a continuous improvement process in place is to ensure the organisation is aligned to changing customer needs. Continuous improvement thrives on customer and employee feedback. Organisations should therefore ensure they have strong business processes in place to capture this intelligence cross-functional continuous improvement teams, as well as the guidance of a continuous improvement specialist to eliminate inefficiency and improve their overall response to customer needs