3 best practices for mastering customer experience transformation 

By Anne Catherine Feeney
Partner, Client Engagement
Jun 13, 2023

What is customer experience transformation?

Customer experience transformation, or CXT, works to align your organization’s values, structures, operations, technology, and culture to obsessively focus on and meet the needs of your customers. This alignment enables an accelerated path to achieve Participation with your audience.

CXT might sound like a buzzword, but a renewed focus on the customer is critical to success for businesses across all industries. Businesses face many challenges to achieve true CXT, including:

  • Organizational silos and a lack of stakeholder buy-in.
  • Enhancement of a singular aspect of the customer experience without a thorough assessment of the overall impact.
  • Lack of both accountability for CXT initiatives and clarity around who owns CXT.
  • Failure to identify organizations’ values and beliefs, and inconsistent or absent cross-promotion of values and beliefs across the organization.
  • Customer-centricity not a key focus.

Why now is the time for transformation

It is critical that businesses move beyond the status quo of digital maturity and customer lifetime value. While these practices remain relevant, marketers should embrace all things CXT to connect with today’s audiences.

Brands with a renewed focus on their customers and creating experiences truly centered around them will be better positioned for success in the years to come. Relevant for all audience types, including B2B, B2C, and even E2E (employer to employee), CXT forces marketers to examine their brands’ macro experiences at each intersection point along a customer’s journey. It’s important to meet hese audiences where they are in real time—be it online, on social platforms, or in-person (stores, restaurants, offices)—to ensure a seamless and holistic experience.

CXT is category-agnostic and brands in any vertical—healthcare, retail, CPG, travel, and hospitality, and beyond—need to adhere to best practices in this area to stay ahead. This means every measure must be taken to keep customers at the core of all brand touch points and, in turn, elevate a customer’s experience and affinity for their favorite product, hotel, health benefits, or place of work.

How CXT can deliver measurable benefits 

CX will undoubtedly yield business benefits for your organization, but it takes work, time, and ongoing commitment. Optimized experiences that align customer goals with business goals will allow you to reap the rewards of connected benefits and Participation—and accelerate your path to shared brand identity.

To help make your case to begin these transformation efforts now, here are some example business benefits you can expect to see as outcomes:

  • Targeted interaction produces less waste and greater ROI.
  • 2.7x more likely to increase spend.
  • Up to 10% increase in sales.
  • Reduce service costs by 40%.
  • Increase satisfaction by 20%.
  • Higher lifetime value: 1pt Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) = 2% revenue growth.
  • More likely to recommend Net Promoter Score (NPS).
  • Retain more customers and save 5x cost to attract new ones.
  • More meaningful and resilient connection through shared values—according to our recent proprietary research, 75% of consumers are likely to buy a brand that shares their values.

Customer experience transformation best practices

It might feel overwhelming to take on CXT all at once, and the good news is you don’t need to. There are three key aspects of CXT. You can start with any of them, depending where your organization is on your CXT journey.

1. Strategy transformation

Work to define your CXT vision and develop the roadmap to get there. You’ll need to examine connections between your brand values and the experiences you want your customers to have. With a foundational vision and an idea of what success looks like, you’ll begin to look inward at your teams, processes, and technologies to identify where internal shifts may be needed to support your customer experience vision.

For example, we partnered with a leading medical technology company and focused on digital strategy, technical product assessments, product integration strategy, and a gap analysis of under/over utilized products and platforms to help determine where investments were needed. This foundational work helped set a clear strategy, roadmap, and inter-company dependencies for the next two years that will transform experiences for customers as well as internal teams.

2. Business transformation

Once the foundational vision and strategy are set, the focus turns to solution design. Lean into research and insights to map out the revised customer journey and examine capabilities and operating models to identify how these might shift to support your customer experience vision. At this stage, take a close look at current state vs. future state to design specific action for various transformation workstreams, and begin change management and baseline measurement activities that lay the groundwork for the next phase.

We helped a healthcare payer build journey maps for their internal Federal Markets Front Office division after a major acquisition. The goal of this project was to understand and map out the current process of all the activities that the front office divisions perform to bring a Federal Market health insurance plan to market and understand how the front office enables broker and customer journeys. This look inwards at their business made an impact on the end customer experience and helped this organization achieve success.

3. Enablement

This phase is where you will deploy the solutions designed to drive your CXT strategy. With change management activities already in progress, your teams will be ready to transition to new processes or a revised organizational structure. This will make the culture shift to focus obsessively on your customers feel more tangible for employees. You’ll also begin to implement customer-facing changes that bring your customer experience vision to life. And with measurement activities already in place, you can measure the impact of your transformation.

For instance, our team helped a healthcare payer implement measurement tools and processes that provide an ongoing holistic review of marketing and digital touchpoints. This ensures that the customer's perspective is always top of mind for marketing decision-makers and that customer behavioral data informs the ongoing marketing strategy and experience optimizations.

Ready to embrace CXT? 

As customer behaviors and expectations evolve, organizations must look to CXT to be successful and spark consumer Participation—future-proofing their brands. This means moving beyond mere purchase or membership and toward deeper, more meaningful connections with consumers. Brands should look to develop macro-level strategies and lean into the three key aspects of CXT: strategy transformation, business transformation, and enablement.

This level of transformation takes time. No matter where you are in your CXT journey, having the right partner with a depth of experience in CXT can help position your business for success now and in the future.

ICF’s global marketing services agency focuses on helping your organization find opportunity in disruption.
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Meet the author
  1. Anne Catherine Feeney, Partner, Client Engagement

    Anne Catherine is an expert in digital transformation and integrated communications with more than 15 years of experience. View bio

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