A Customer Experience Strategy will Define Your Success in 2021
While there may not be a magic pill to guarantee the perfect customer experience, there is one thing that every organization needs to transform into a customer-centric business. And that is a customer experience strategy. Customer experience strategy in 2021 is not something you save for later when you can afford it.
Today we continue our discussion of 2021 customer experience trends. Let’s start by thinking about what happens if you start 2021 without a defined customer experience strategy. Say you are in healthcare. With no customer experience strategy, you will end up having to scrap massive tech programs that can cost you up to $100MM. If you are in aviation, you are looking at $50MM. No one can afford this coming out of the challenges of 2020.
What is Customer Experience Strategy and how can it save you from financial demise in 2021?
Customer experience strategy is a blueprint of how you envision what your customers’ experience should be. Having it empowers you to communicate your vision to your organization so that every member of your team understands the goals of your organization. And that is half the battle. Sometimes, it is more than half. So start 2021 with this work, and you will have a great year.
One thing to flag. By itself, a customer experience strategy does not create great experiences. Your teams create those through a customer experience program that acts on your strategy, is funded by you, and is sponsored by your executive team. Let’s see this in practice. Say you are Microsoft and you have a vision statement “to help people and businesses throughout the world realize their full potential.” A customer experience strategy can be “deliver the right services and products, to the right customers at the right time.” Ok, now your teams know that you need to KNOW YOUR CUSTOMER in order to create all these value propositions.
Your teams also know the work going forward must start with the customer vs. the engineering team. To create actual experiences, your next step is to build a customer experience program that brings this to life. A program may include a customer research project that informs you about your customers’ aspirations. In your customer experience program you may also have a consulting engagement that identifies products and services you need to scrap. Yes, I know. This is hard to do. But if products and services no longer fit your strategy, they need to go.
Leadership and Strategy Create Transformation
Finally, your customer experience program can include a roadmap to build capabilities that meet customers across channels vs. only online. That’s expensive, I know. But the funding for this comes from the misaligned products and services you scrapped. For retailers, new channels might be physical stores. Or apps, or even augmented reality tools that appeal to a new generation of customers.
All of this requires your leadership and commitment to your customers, employees and the future of your organization. Strategy is the best tool to transform your organization. Notice this word: transform. This is an important 2021 word.
If you aimed to do business the way you were doing it before, you could have gotten away without a customer experience strategy. But that is not the case in the coming year. Next year, all business leaders need to redesign spaces, policies, procedures and services without changing their brand fundamentals. It’s the only way to prevent financial demise and to achieve the success we all want in 2021.
Customer experience strategy will not only define your success, it will become the reason for your success.
If you are an event planner creatively reimagining the new event experience, or a retailer designing a private shopping journey, in 2021, you need to put a strategic framework around your customer experience. Are you investing in technology that will manage the inevitable lines at the entry? Are you going to have an app that has engagement tools and is not just a wayfinding tool? How are you going to sell sponsorships in the new world? What are you selling? These are the questions you must answer as you build the future of events.
Take the time to gather smart people you respect. Together, do some soul searching to understand what you and your brand can do differently and what commitments you can realistically make to your 2021 customers.
For retailers, how exactly will this private shopping experience happen? Is it going to be digital only, or physical? What principles will guide the team in the design so the transition from website to store is seamless? The answers to these questions will help you build your customer experience strategy. A side note, your customer experience strategy should be your differentiator. In other words, what works for Warby Parker may not work for Macy’s. And they can both be successful.
Strategy Enables You to Build the Pieces You Need
Once you have a customer experience strategy, the executive alignment is half-way done. After all, there is no alignment when there is nothing to align on. Your customer experience strategy serves as the glue that connects the executive team.
I have the privilege to be the Co-Chair of the Patient NODE for NODE.Health in New York. That means I get to represent the patient and his/her pain points in front of the various stakeholders of the American healthcare ecosystem. It is pretty well known that the American patient is not having good experience. Many industry experts have written thousands of pages explaining why. Regulation, bad technology implementations, wrong and diverse incentives are all on the list. Today, we add one more driver of bad patient experience – the missing patient experience strategy. By definition, strategy comes BEFORE execution. When there is no patient strategy, all actions of the healthcare system in the US are built and executed without the patient experience in mind. This is what happens when you do not have customer experience strategy.
Unfortunately, the same thread is coming up in travel. When I was moderating an aviation leaders conversation two weeks ago, the conversation kept revolving around passengers’ pains and needs. Let’s take concessions for example. Travelers starve today, because the concessions are picking and choosing when to work and airports cannot communicate ahead of time food and beverage availability. My colleagues did not seem to have post COVID customer experience strategy that would solve that pain for their customers. So, if the mandate is empathy driven experience, you figure out how to get some predictability from the concessions so you can send a communication to travelers.
Without that mandate and the strategy that supports it, we all go hungry. And that is not what I want for 2021. What about you?
Leadership During the Pandemic: Guest Post by Rachel Dreyfus
This is a guest post by Rachel Dreyfus, President, Dreyfus Advisors, who researched leadership during the pandemic. How has Covid19 influenced leadership over the past three months? Research results show…
Is Covid19 What We Needed to Build Seamless End-to-End Travel Experience?
On January 10th, we published an article called The Future of Travel We Deserve. In it, we laid out the foundation necessary to implement innovation at scale. Four months later,…
Travel Experience Stories: How Not to Leave Customers Stranded
Meet Diane. Diane is traveling with her 2 year old and 5 year old to her in-laws’ house for Thanksgiving. This is the one annual trip she takes. And she…
What is Telemedicine? Keeping Medicine at the Heart
Guest Post by Dr. Melynda Barnes for The Petrova Experience. In this post Dr. Barnes answers the question “what is telemedicine,” and reminds us to keep medicine at the heart…
Customer Experience Design – How Do You Want Customers To Feel?
Last week, we talked about CX Design in terms of space and function. Today, we continue our customer experience design journey to talk about the design of emotions and feelings. All…
Customer Experience Audit: Mobile Provider Eliminates Remote Workforce
How to balance the efficiency call center metric FCR (first call resolution) with wait and talk time? JetBlue promotes human interactions as a brand promise.
End to End Customer Experience – How to Get it Right
When we think of travel, we often think of the flight experience. But the end to end customer experience is complex, and includes all modes of transportation that get you…
Would You Pitch In To Save Toys “R” Us For Your Children To Experience? #ToysRUsGoFundMe
Last week we laid out the big moves that the leadership of Toys ‘R’ Us failed to take to evolve with customer needs and thus joins other brands as examples of…
Customer Experience Survey: Why Customers Are Not Responding
When you solicit customer feedback sometimes matters more than how you ask the questions. In the case of a survey about new biometrics boarding initiatives my team and I created for JetBlue, we had a list of feedback that was most important for us.
4 Career Tips to obtain a Customer Experience Role
In honor of the 4th of July, we are rounding up 4 career tips for CX professionals. Set aside some time during the break from work to take stock in your CX career and evaluate the steps you need to get to the next level.
How to talk to your CFO about customer experience and revenue growth
Last month we introduced the topic of Customer Experience ROI and the complexity of building a good business case for it. The Customer Experience business case is strong, but not easy to prove. Today we will focus on two big wins of a successful customer experience investment – revenue and customer growth of your business.
Aviation Industry, Coronavirus Isn’t the Only Thing Killing Us
Eighteen years ago, September 11th caused a three-day halt of the US commercial airlines and resulted in a 31.6% reduction in travel in September 2001 compared to the previous year….
Patient Experience Trends in 2021 – Telehealth is Here to Stay
Today, we continue our series about 2021 Customer Experience trends and tactics. We take a closer look at patient experience and what telehealth means for the future. Both for patients…
Customer Experience Audit: Cadillac Scores Millennial Customers with Future-Forward Thinking
Editor’s Note: This post is part of a Customer Experience Audit series. See all the audit stories. The automotive industry is right next to the airline industry in terms of…
Why Bt2B Businesses Must Think Like B2C in the Next Decade
B2B vs B2B thinking makes a real difference when it comes to customer experience. According to Gartner at least 80% of B2B buyers now expect the same buying experience as…
WeWork Does CX Right with a Wow Moment
Used at the right time and place along the customer’s journey, the Wow Moment is an excellent retention technique. When a brand creates personal, relevant experience at exactly the right time, it can build a lifelong, loyal customer relationship.
Get Customer Experience Basics Right and You Don’t Need to Invest in Wow Moments
Wow Moments are a Customer Experience hot topic. Customer experience professionals ideate how to build, prioritize, finance, and measure these Wow Moments. Chip and Dan Heath wrote a whole book on the topic: The Power of Moments. No Wow Moment saves you from negative word of mouth if your brand fails to get the customer experience basics right or to deliver the expected brand experience consistently.
Customer Experience Plan is More Important than Ever
Last week we published eight Customer Experience Trends to look out for in 2021. Today we are diving deeper into the first one: Customer Experience is more important than ever…
Organizational Culture and Access to Information
By and large, people perceive culture as an HR discipline. The most common perception is that culture covers the soft side of performance. Culture is about how you do things, not so much about what you do. This approach to culture could not be more wrong. In fact, organizational culture is about so much more than a few words in a performance review sheet. It is about leaders expressing values, and the action guidance their cultural behaviors provide.
CX Skills Builders: You May Have a CX Job and Not Know It
Last week we talked about the identity crisis of CX professionals and we urged you to fix any small problem or seam on the customer journey in order to build internal brand equity and buy in.
United CEO does not care about #customers happiness. Really?
Lately, I have been thinking about United Airlines. In the beginning I thought about them because someone asked whether it is possible to build a customer-centric culture in a company…
Paperless Customer Journey – JetBlue Deviceless Boarding
JetBlue Biometrics – Innovation and Disruption This year, JetBlue entered the ranks of the innovators who disrupt industries by applying customer experience technology. They not only imagine the future. They…
What is Human-Centered Design and how to Leverage it in 2021?
At its core, design is about value creation. In the world of Customer Experience, value-driven design requires CX professionals to use empathy to imagine a future customer experience that is…
How a Personal Interaction builds Repeat Customers
A customer-centric methodology is key to the successful outcome of my interaction with Hello Spud. It is the reason this story appears here, and not among the CX Big Fails! The company did not send an automated response. It did not deliver a message stating “sorry we couldn’t help you, would you like something else.” Instead, the company co-founder reached out to me personally across multiple channels (a handwritten note, followed by personal emails).
Customer Experience Audit: Uber Bets On Self-Driving Cars With Big Volvo Purchase
The question that remains unanswered is who will be part of the future of transportation. Uber is going for the vertical integration – the whole pie. The future industry of urban transportation will be made of players in three different categories: cars, self-driving software, and ride-sharing network. In contrast, Lyft approaches the future through partnerships.
A Customer Experience Strategy will Define Your Success in 2021
While there may not be a magic pill to guarantee the perfect customer experience, there is one thing that every organization needs to transform into a customer-centric business. And that…
Freelance Customer Experience Lessons for Freelancers
For small businesses and freelancers alike, it’s important to recognize that your business is as strong as the relationships you build with your customers. That’s just one of the key…
Customer Experience Audit: FedEx Omnichannel Disaster
In our Strategy, Org Design & Culture series, we cover customer-focused companies that are willing to adapt, take risks and discover new ways of staying relevant. Sometimes, we encounter brands…
Coronavirus Travel: What Does Hospitality Mean Now?
I want to tell you about my recent passenger experience. Earlier this week, I traveled to New Orleans from JFK Terminal 5 in New York. I had planned an airport…
Customer Experience Audit: eBay’s Vibrant Marketplace of the Future
Editor’s Note: This post is part of a series of Customer Experience Audits. They highlight advances in artificial intelligence in retail and other technologies. See all audit stories. Two years…
Let’s Get You Certified as a Customer Experience Professional!
Like all mature professions, customer experience has a certification that is internationally recognized. Adding it to your resume will signal to the business community that you are serious about customer experience and your aspiration to be part of its leadership ranks…
Even the US Government is Jumping on the Customer Experience Train
As we get ready for 2021, we have been diving in to the top customer experience trends we see on the horizon. So far, we have looked at why customer…
What Can Casino Consulting Firms Learn from Airlines?
Today we’re talking about casino experience. Casinos and airlines are similar in their operational complexity and sense of wonder. They also are similar in the way they can implement technology…
Customer Experience Tips and Best Practices In 2017?
This is Post 2 of Liliana Petrova’s series on customer experience tips, lessons learned, and best practices for the new year. The article appears on the JetBlue Blog. In it,…
Hiring Tips: Who Should I Hire First on My CX Team
The pressure to demonstrate business impact and ROI on your Customer Experience initiatives quickly makes your first hire even more important. As usual, there is no answer that fits all scenarios perfectly. We have some helpful strategies to consider based on the structure of your organization and your goals.
Healthcare Whitepaper: Impact of Patient ‘I Wants’ in Healthcare
Rachel Dreyfus joins The Petrova Experience with a guest blog about patient experience. Background A culture of positive patient experience is increasingly important in Healthcare, affecting patient outcomes and satisfaction….
How To Define Your Purpose And Have Unique Culture
If you Google the word “purpose” you get the definition “the reason for which something exists.” This is a challenge if you think about it in the context of an…
What is the best question for your CX Survey?
As customer experience professionals, we need to factor in this disconnect when we design surveys. And when we react to survey results. Customers have an image of who they want to be. However, their behaviors do not always reflect that image.
Lessons Learned at the Forrester Conference: “Data is the New Sexy”
Once a year I look for an event to attend where I can learn something new and get better at what I do. This year, I attended an event hosted…
Poor Integration is Bad for Customer Journey and Worse for Brands
Although we all have bad customer experiences, there is still a big debate about “the CX field” and whether it will survive the test of time. There is no doubt…
Customer Experience Audit: New York Times Beats Google
Editor’s Note: This post is part of a series of Customer Experience Audits. In this series we walk you through customer experience examples across industries. We feature brands that made…
Do You Know Why The Iconic Brand Toys ‘R’ Us Closed Doors Despite All Our Memories? #RetailBlues
The year is 2016. You are the CEO of Toys ‘R’ Us. Your brand still controls 13.6% of the toy market although the company is highly leveraged, a strategy of…