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Why you need a holistic view of your customer experience

Dec 9, 2020
4 MIN. READ

Marketers need to start looking at the overall customer experience (CX) management to get to a real understanding of return on experience (ROX) investments.

We’ve been told repeatedly in the last few years that—much like content—customer experience (CX) is everything. That by giving customers a great experience, they’ll be more loyal and share their experience with friends. By extension, every marketer knows the need to be building great CX to attract, win, and retain customers.

For many organizations, the aspiration is still very much a priority, and for good reason. The Temkin Group found that companies that earn $1 billion annually can expect to earn, on average, an additional $700 million within three years of investing in CX.

The reality is that the decision to invest in creating better CX is often still being made in silos across organizations. Instead, start looking at the overall CX management to get to a real understanding of return on experience (ROX) investments.

What is ROX? We define ROX as the return on the aggregate of experiences an individual may have with your company. While one part of the end-to-end experience might have a good ROI, it may have a greater impact (positive or negative) on the overall experience. 

Why pay attention to ROX?

If everyone owns CX in your company, then at some point nobody owns CX at your company. That can lead to problems. Every year, companies around the world go through budgeting exercises to identify the investments that will allow them to grow and scale. Unless careful attention is paid to the big picture, investments and their returns will be looked at only on an individual project-basis. The result may create several customer experiences that conflict with each other. 

While individual projects should have an ROI, it is entirely possible that experiences are being created that conflict with the overall CX. Have you run into situations where you hear about a project from another division or department that sounds strangely similar to one that you are working on? Have you discovered processes and procedures being put in place that were not vetted across different groups that now have an impact on how your part of the customer journey works? Take, for example, a new internal software or application that could negatively impact how employees can respond to customer service complaints. This is what organizations want to avoid.

Build a CX strategy that is holistic in nature

CX works best when you have a strategy that maps back to your customers at every touchpoint and throughout the entire customer lifecycle. You want to have consistency across all of your experiences, but more importantly, the experience as a whole should be consistent. 

Some examples:

  • How does your customer acquisition experience feel compared to your customer servicing experience?
  • Do your social and email channels sound and operate differently than your website content?
  • How can an existing customer get support from you? Are your systems integrated to allow the customer to see all their information in one place, or do they have to log into several systems? 

This is precisely where a holistic strategy comes in: it looks at all of these experiences and works to create something better than the sum of all the parts. It is that strategy that should include all areas of your business that have touchpoints with the customer. It should also be a driver for where you make investments and to fully understand the return on those investments. 

Plan for employee involvement for success

No CX strategy can be executed without your employees there to support it and empowered to act on it. Far too often, CX strategies are built only with the end customer in mind, but not the employees needed to support them. Investing in training, education, and empowering employees to innovate more—coupled with leveraging data and learnings from existing customer experiences to iterate and improve on future customer experiences—are fundamental to success.

Like any initiative, build time into your plan to get business processes figured out. Then communicate the strategy and the impact on the overall business and solicit feedback. Your employees may know more about the nuances of a particular CX than you do. After all, they are the ones on the front line engaging with the customer.

Ultimately, experience-led organizations that take a holistic approach to CX—taking into account not just their customers but also their employees—will not only see near- and long-term results, but will be in a stronger position to understand ROX and capitalize on and reinvest those experiential benefits.

ICF’s global marketing services agency focuses on helping your organization find opportunity in disruption.
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