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From Stagnant to Stand-Out: 3 Strategies to Differentiate Your Customer Experience

Customer experience index scores remain stagnant for the second year in a row, and many organizations are working on differentiating their customer experience.

Customer experience executives from around the world gathered in New York last week to receive some disappointing news from Forrester Research at the Forrester CX NYC Conference. Despite investments of $56 billion last year, customer experience index scores remained stagnant for the second year in a row.

Thankfully, the mood was far from despair. To combat the problem, many organizations are looking at ways to deliver a better customer experience and differentiate themselves in the market.For example, &pizza presented their new customer experience strategy at Forrester CX NYC: The pizza company is now using text messaging as its only form of customer support and communication.

Will fortune favor the bold? Maybe text messaging with your customers isn’t for you, but you can still think through innovative ways to differentiate your customer experience. Let’s get into the three big takeaways from the Forrester conference.

1. Make Customer Service Easy

No, this isn’t meant to be an oxymoron. The days of having multiple customer service touchpoints and managing them separately are over. Digital touchpoints are now table stakes in your customer experience. Your customers expect to be able to interact with your brand wherever they are, whether that’s mobile, social, web, or the old-fashioned phone call (or text message, if you’re &pizza). Having these options won’t increase your loyalty, but not having them and not doing them well will hurt it.

Instead, customers expect a consistent customer experience where they can easily and quickly get an answer to their question in whatever format is most convenient for them.

For example, if your customers have access to an online community that’s connected to your support knowledgebase and knowledgeable support agents, customers can easily find answers to their questions with a simple search, pose new questions, or start conversations with other customers.

2. Strive for Loyalty and Engagement

If you think about your customer relationship in relation to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, customer support is at the bottom. Like your basic needs such as food and water, it’s expected, and without it you won’t go far.

However, thinking about the next steps, organizations today are striving to build loyalty and deliver engagement to create brand advocates, the pinnacle of the “hierarchy of customer relationships.” To do this, you need to know and understand your customers and anticipate their needs. Build a relationship that naturally leads to loyalty and advocacy.

For example, try fostering unique relationships through a community. Connecting your customers to each other and to your own organization not only helps answer support questions, but also creates a space for brainstorming and learning, putting your brand mission and values into action.

3. Map Out a Journey for Success

Customer success teams are a powerful way to deliver a better customer experience. A customer success organization can drive consistency within the organization and customers. Customer journey mapping enables organizations to plan out how to do this by asking you these questions:

  • What is the journey that your customer goes through with your business, from research and purchase to renewal and advocacy?
  • How can you empower them along the way?

Developing a journey map and showing employees along the way how they fit into the full experience helps your organization deliver that coveted consistent experience. Linking tools to each other and to that journey will make the customer experience frictionless.

For example, integrating your online community to your CRM makes it easier to track and understand the full lifecycle of the customer, enabling you to act on each phase and deliver the right resources at the right time.

Elevate Your Customer Experience

These concepts may seem basic, but when done well and linked together, they will make for a seamless customer experience. You’re no longer competing against other companies within your market – you’re competing against every other brand experience. In a world where customer experience is stagnant, those who offer the best customer experience in the way customers want it will stand out. Focus on the entire experience, building out a baseline of ease and incorporating bits and pieces of excellence throughout the entire customer journey.

Download the Engagement Trends Report 2020

Kate Zimmerman

Kate, former Director of Product Management at Higher Logic, is experienced in product management, product marketing, content marketing, market research, and proposal coordination. She has a proven track record in product positioning and messaging, value propositions, competitive intelligence, sales enablement, and Analyst Relations. She is a skilled writer, strategic thinking, extremely organized, and driven to excel. Her focus is with B2B software companies in the Washington, DC area.