How Mature Is Your CX?
Offering an excellent Customer Experience (CX) is a key goal for today’s organisations. It has the potential to deliver tangible benefits such as better customer loyalty and a more efficient path to acquiring new customers. But how far down the road are companies to delivering excellence in this area and what differentiates those doing it well from the others?
IT industry analyst Forrester defines Customer Experience as “how customers perceive their interactions with your company”. It has developed a model, the CX maturity framework, for assessing success in delivering excellence in customer experience.
According to this, organisations progress through four distinct phases as they move along the path to CX success.
Phase 1: Repair
The first stage – which in Forrester’s view is where around half of all organisations currently sit - is the ‘Repair’ phase, characterised by companies who devote their efforts to finding broken customer experiences as they occur in different parts of the organisation, fixing them, and measuring the results. Typically, these are firms that put their emphasis on monitoring and addressing customer complaints.
Phase 2: Elevate
Elevate is the stage in which organisations move on and start putting in place practices that allow them to deliver good customer experiences in the first place. So while reacting to complaints and broken experiences is, of course, still important, it is not as critical as it was during the repair phase.
Phase 3: Optimise
Customer Experience practices are involved within all company processes and it becomes more sophisticated and systematic about the area. Organisations at this level will model and break down the steps for an ideal experience and ensure staff are trained in best practice. Perhaps they will build an internal department that focuses on CX (or use an external provider).
Phase 4: Differentiate
The final phase ‘Differentiate’ is when organisations begin to go beyond simply providing a really good CX to delivering one that sets them apart and gives them a competitive edge over others. They might, for example, be identifying and meeting unmet customer needs through research and innovation.
In a recent blog post, Forrester quotes the example of Lego Stores as a business which has reached the all-important Differentiate phase, citing its innovative use of research to drive a better Customer Experience. The company interviewed a set of customers on camera about their likes and dislikes and then used these interviews to verify if the customer experience improvements they brainstormed with these same people really did tie in with their original preferences. The result was a rapid process for developing new ideas that successfully chimed with customers’ actual CX needs.
For companies that are thinking of improving their approach to Customer Experience some best practice tips include:
- Ensure your CX plan is aligned with your overall business strategy and brand attributes and shared across the organisation as a guide for decision-making.
- Put in place CX practices based on a shared sense of the company’s customers which is understood and accepted by everyone
- Design customer experiences across the broad range of customer interactions at every touch point — website, retail locations or customer service.
- Set up measurement and governance systems to track progress consistently, as well as to manage the evolution of CX.
- Aim to develop a shared culture and values around CX supported by recruitment, training and remuneration processes.
As companies move beyond the basics of customer service, and consumers demand more, make 2014 the year you move forward with improving your Customer Experience.