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?
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.
Why Customer Retention is the True Measure of SaaS Success
Guest Post by Callie Reynolds for The Petrova Experience In SaaS (Software as a Service), like in most businesses, sales is king. Sales gets the glory, and while I’d like…
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…
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…
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…
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 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 CX design journey to talk about the design of emotions and feelings. The new…
How a Personal Interaction builds Customer Loyalty
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).
How to Extend Your Travel Experience Value Proposition
Last December the Ladders published that discusses business travelers who extend travel beyond the timeline of the business trip. The article says, “[a]ccording to a new study by La Quinta by…
Culture Starts at the Top
Without a leader who believes that today’s business success is about acquiring and retaining customers, you cannot even begin the process of building a culture. Leaders who are passionate about the customer are also passionate about creating culture and employee engagement.
Autonomous Customers, Traveler Privacy and More Questions for CX Professionals in a Changing World
“As we move toward a more automated culture, most travelers will adapt to a Jetsonian, automated lifestyle. Every industry we know will be disrupted. For those of us in aviation,…
How to Prepare for AI: Dispatches from CR Summit, Charleston
On the eve of the #CRSummit in Charleston, customer experience leaders from various industries held the first AI Committee meeting. AI is a challenging topic to cover because it has…
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.
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….
Customer Facing Experience: Communication and Hospitality
Today, we are talking about communication as part of the customer facing experience. This is one of the most misused and misinterpreted notions both in our professional lives and our…
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,…
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…
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…
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…
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…
Culture Is King – The Power Of Employee Engagement
In 2017 we introduced our ROI series recognizing the challenges all customer experience professionals have to obtain funding for CX initiatives and to prove their positive returns. Our second ROI…
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.
Why you need a defined culture for customer experience?
When designed and built correctly, customer experience expresses an organization’s brand. Your brand and marketing promises serve as a guiding light to your experience team. Similarly, organizational culture serves as a goalpost for the service side of customer experience.
Human Experience: Do You Really Know Your Customers?
Steve Jobs said: “Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need before they realize it themselves.” He did not just say that….
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…
Employee Experience Strategy and Customer Experience Depend on Strategy
This week, Andy Newman wrote a great article in The New York Times about the life of a retail sales agent. He used the example of an Old Navy sales…
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.
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.
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…
Customer Experience Audit: Domino’s Making the Right CX Choices
Editor’s Note: This post is part of a series of Customer Experience Audit – as series of articles featuring examples of good customer experience and bad customer experience in practice….
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.
Are You Ready to Go Exclusive with Jane, Your Digital Concierge?
In 2015 JetBlue introduced bag fees. Seven years after the competition. The media exploded. Many publications were negative. They blamed the airline for “selling out.” One headline read “A New…
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…
Customer Experience Audit: Starbucks Bets On The Physical Experience
Starbucks is opting in for the physical experience in order to become a lifestyle brand while other brands are investing in omni-channel experience.
Customer Experience, Self Service, and the Gift of Time
Time is the most precious gift in life. If you think about it, time is the one thing we all want more of. As we get older and busier, time gets even more valuable to us.
What is Customer Experience? What are the Faces of CX?
Each area of CX represents a path for CX professionals to impact business health and build successful careers. One of my favorite CX analogies is that it is like the blood in our bodies. When CX is done well, it touches every aspect of an organization. That’s what makes customer experience so much fun! You will never be bored working in CX.
Customer Experience Technology View of your Call Center
By 2022 the global cloud based contact center market is growing from USD 6.8Bn in 2017 to 20.93Bn in 2022. This makes for CAGR of 25.2%. If you do not…
The One CX Goal You Need to Set for 2019
For 2019, I urge you to make only one CX goal – bring about business success with your customer experience work. Don’t just do work in the general sense. Rather, set a CX goal that has a real impact on your customers and their experiences with your brand.
How to Be an Entrepreneur: 5 Things I Learned in 5 Months as an Entrepreneur
The life of an entrepreneur is different every day, but the one thing that remains the same is that we are always learning. These are my lessons in how to…
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…
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…
3 Ways to Create a Better Employee Experience Strategy
Guest Post by Gabe Smith, CCXP for The Petrova Experience The relationship between employee experience strategy and customer experience has long been discussed. Without engaged employees, we’re told, it’s difficult…
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…
Hospitality and Why We lack Seamless Travel Experiences
Hospitality is taken for granted across government agencies, airlines and hotels. In my line of work, I often hear “I want to have the JetBlue customer experience.” Although many claim…
From Pain Points to Magical Moments: Transform the Customer Experience
Argyle Journal interviewed Liliana Petrova about emerging self service technology and meeting and exceeding customer expectations in airports. One such way, as Liliana explains, it to create magical customer experience…
Customer Experience Design – Make the Customer Know Who You Are
Now that we have helped you become experts in the design of space and function and the design of feelings, it is time to turn our attention to aesthetics, and to connect customer experience…