By Rick Kirkham
Working in the customer experience space for so long, I’m always reading about how businesses need to embrace ‘this or that’ customer experience strategy and see trends come and go over time.
But what strikes me the most with all this information is that it’s mostly theoretical and long-term. There is very little advice on how to practically apply those strategies, to implement change quickly and with impact for customers and the balance sheet.
And this for me is where many businesses start to struggle in being able to make a difference to that one single customer today because they’re so focused on applying theoretical principles across the board for everyone for tomorrow.
That’s why I wanted to share with you our concept of ‘Instant Impact CX’ and importantly how to embrace it.
What is 'Instant Impact CX'?
Instant Impact CX is about making a difference to the customer’s experience right here, right now, in that very moment they make contact with you.
It’s not about theory or strategy, but the practical outputs of a strategy – the tangible actions that make a positive difference for the customer from day one. And for businesses taking this route, they see an impact in less than a month. And for the customer? Well, they can see the instant impact straight away, from the moment they make their first contact.
Aside from the tangible actions, emotion and effort also play a key role in enabling businesses to achieve that instant impact (and in fact affect how successfully a business can apply tangible actions). You can read more about this in our Engage to Influence™ blog, but in essence it’s a methodology we use to apply a unique approach to customer journey design, one that guarantees a positive influence on customer behaviour at every interaction.
So how do you go about achieving instant impact CX?
The five steps to achieving Instant Impact CX
We’ve put five straightforward steps together to help you embrace instant impact cx…
1. The art of improving self-serve
The very first step in achieving instant impact is to make it as easy as possible for customers to self-serve – whether online, using tools like dynamic FAQs, or via an automated IVR that allows the customer to self-serve for basic requests such as paying a credit card bill (read our blog on average handling times for more on this topic).
Many organisations invest in these areas but often don’t achieve the level of self-serve uptake to generate the return on investment they need for it to be considered successful. This is because customers have not been engaged, a proportion of them are resistant or their instinct to talk to a live agent remains strong. You need to engage customers from the very first word they hear or read, make the journey low effort and ensure the tone of voice used throughout the journey is right for your brand, organisation and what the customer has contacted you to do.
2. Calculating the benefits
If you don’t know what you’re spending on customer contact, or what your call volumes are, how can you put a plan in place to improve them? Having a clear starting point from which to make changes is a fundamental step in achieving instant impact CX.
That’s where CX savings calculators like the one we have developed help. It evidences where you can start to see tangible results from often small changes and helps you to build a business case for change. And by having a proven link between the changes you make and their influence on customer behaviour, you can strengthen your business case significantly.
3. Connecting customer journeys and anticipating contact
This (and customer journey mapping) is often talked about theoretically, and as part of a long-term strategy, but there are simple changes you can make to see an instant result. Whether that’s something as simple as adding a thank you message after a customer completes an online enquiry form; or making sure your marketing team tell your contact centre that a new offer has just launched (the offer is likely to boost inbound calls so the team have to prepare for that).
It’s also important to avoid unnecessary contact points in a journey and foreseeing when a customer may need to reach out to you. For example, sending a series of text messages out before a delivery is due to arrive avoids the need for the customer to make contact to re-confirm or check a delivery timeslot.
It’s as simple as understanding where the connectors are in the journey and how best to engage the customer, improving both customer experience and operational efficiency.
4. Getting customer feedback right
We all know how important customer feedback is for improving the experience and building relationships. It’s also important to receive that feedback quickly and in near real-time – not one month later (yes, this still happens!).
Tools that provide sentiment analysis and verbatim responses are important to give you a clearer picture of what’s going on at any one point in time and can be implemented quickly. They can also tell you what customers are saying and feeling when you’re not asking them, which is powerful insight to receive.
5. Using the right technology
Technology is here to help us operate as efficiently as we can, no matter what – and we’re seeing this right now as businesses embrace technology like never before. There are times when the technology has to change to respond to new situations, with a prime example at the moment being how businesses have had to move quickly to work–from–home models and change IVR journeys to route callers to the right place very quickly.
Likewise, businesses are starting to realise how important it is for a customer’s interaction history to travel with them, across channels, to ensure they receive an effortless experience. Customers get frustrated when a journey isn’t integrated. Technology can make sure it’s integrated – and can do so quickly. You can find examples of these technologies here.
Instant impact CX is a way of thinking in order to strengthen the relationship you have with your customers, make customer contact easier (no matter what the channel) and ensure customers are more likely to come back. This is great for the customer but it’s also great for the business because all these things reduce the cost to serve, improve profitability and deliver a rapid return on investment.
I hope this has given you some insights into instant impact CX, why it’s important and how you can apply it.