The first half of 2022 is behind us, and many of us may have slid on the fitness resolutions we made in January. All of us reading this know that accountability is the key to successfully making changes. Just like consistent attention to our health is important, consistent attention to our business processes is paramount as well. There is still time to get your business in shape to address the challenges of 2022 we all face: employee shortages, fewer face-to-face interactions and digital transformation that can’t wait. Investing in improving the systems you have in place and fostering a mindset within your company that elevates your overall customer experience (CX) is the fitness test for today’s business. Here are three steps to get started.
Any good fitness reboot starts with a cleanse to get rid of all the things that are holding you back from maximum output. The first step in your CX initiative, then, is to examine internal processes to ensure all systems in place gravitate to providing a better CX. Consumers today demand consistency in all forms of customer communications, which means business systems need to be interconnected and automated to ensure they have the capability to deliver omnichannel communications with ease. This is a good time to create a comprehensive inventory of the communications you send to customers and search for gaps in your communication strategy. From here, you can identify what content you need, what can be re-used across multiple communications and what can simply be cleansed from your inventory.
While cleansing systems is important, it is also important to take a close look at your company’s ability to improve the CX as a whole and begin to cleanse the individual activities that make it difficult to communicate with customers holistically. Too often, the disjointed silos of communications across the enterprise make it challenging to coordinate and integrate communications. It requires adjusting from a customer communications management (CCM) mindset to a customer experience management (CXM) one — thinking not just about the document, but more about how to ensure you are putting the customers’ needs front and center with every communication sent to them.
The business of staying connected has never been more important — or more complicated. New challenges demand that intelligent, easy-to-use tools are the future. Fortunately, there are many excellent software solutions continuing to push the envelope so you can create new ways to strengthen your customer communications. Ensure you are taking full advantage of your current CCM system to provide high-level, high-return communication options, such as adding interactive capabilities like self-service portals that make it possible for customers to interface easily with your company and ensure the delivery of easy-to-understand communications.
In addition to internal strengthening, survey your customers to discover the services they are interested in. Find out client pain points and discuss internally how an improved CX plan can strengthen your relationships. End customers are not all driven by price. Amazon is successful not just because of competitive pricing, the customer experience from order to shipping to receipt of product is seamless. Returns are made easy with prepared shipping labels and QR codes for customers without printers. Amazon is a great example of a company striving to improve customer experience on all levels. The question of customer loyalty always comes down to ensuring processes operate with the customer in mind, assessing how easy it is for customers to do business with your company.
Business is the strongest when goals, assets and customer expectations align. Cleaning house, identifying bottlenecks in the business and strengthening areas for growth is the starting point. Then, it is important to look objectively at the systems you have in place and ensure they integrate seamlessly. Periodically review the efficiency of the new processes. Consider engaging outside support from consultants that can provide specific knowledge and have expertise in the CCM market. They will know the right technology providers, best practices and emerging trends that will affect your future communications. Confirm the processes implemented match your business needs. Most successful organizations go through the cleanse and strengthen exercise at least every six months. Doing so will ensure your team is thinking creatively and looking for opportunities to improve delivery with a positive CX.
Finally, giving full attention to a holistic approach to CXM requires not only connecting systems, but it is also important to connect all involved stakeholder departments. Establishing a cross-functional team with membership from all departments helps ensure that all strategies are connected with the end customer’s needs in mind. This allows every department to share best practices, technical processes and other issues that often arise with producing customer communications.
Definitely one size does not fit all when it comes to the path to CX. However, if the mindset of the company is such that everyone understands how expanding CCM to CXM creates customer stickiness — a measure of how likely customers are to continue purchasing your product as the market around it grows more competitive — then your goal of maintaining optimal health within your business will be a success.
Gautam Jit Kanwar is president of BelWo Inc., a global provider of managed services specializing in customer communications management (CCM) consulting and delivery solutions that help companies meet strategic CX goals.