Two weeks ago, I attended the Forrester Customer Experience forum in New York City. The forum focused on leveraging Forrester’s recent research to help customer experience (CX) professionals deliver better CX. What does CX have to do with communities, you may ask? Quite a lot, as I suspected and then confirmed while at the show.
Forrester conducts an annual survey measuring CX across various industries. While you would expect to see CX scores gradually increasing, they are actually stagnant year over year: the worst are getting better, but the best are actually getting worse.
Customer experience is no longer a “nice to have, when we have time” activity. It needs to be the driving initiative for how your organization interacts with your customers on a regular basis.
So, what can your organization do to deliver an excellent customer experience?
Put CX at the center of your brand
Every organization has a vision and mission statement – driving factors that are at the core of why you do business. According to Forrester, nearly all CX leaders mention customers in their vision statement and more than half have them at the center. Conversely, only 5 percent of CX laggards have customers at the center of their vision and more than half don’t mention them at all.
Take another look at your vision and make sure that it not only mentions your customers, but has them at the center of your organizational goals.
One immediate way to put customers at the center of your vision is to give them an online community. It shows that your organization is going above and beyond transactional support interactions to build true relationships between you and your customers and among your customers themselves.
Focus on the right competition
We no longer live in a world where industries can live in a vacuum and only focus on their direct competitors. Customers today compare their experience with one brand to every other customer experience they receive. That means that the mom-and-pop bed and breakfast is held to the same standards as Amazon and Apple. Crazy, right? But that’s what today’s customers are expecting.
So how do you differentiate from the best of the best? You show your customers how much you value them. It is no longer enough to differentiate on product features alone – you need to differentiate on the experience. Providing self-service options and multiple points of engagement through online community shows your customers that you’re working to support them whenever and wherever they are.
Deliver great moments
Online communities are a natural place for brands to deliver “signature moments” to their customers. These are specific instances that a brand can make a mundane transaction memorable. For example, when a customer reaches the top level of loyalty in your online community, send them personalized thank-you with highlights of their top contributions. Celebrate their contributions and loyalty to your brand. Thirty-three percent of digital transactions today are memorable – is one of those with your brand?
Gamification is a perfect place to deliver signature moments, and celebrate a customer’s loyalty. It can help establish the value behind the experience, focusing on the motivation to reach that point instead of the reward itself. This helps build habits with intrinsic motivation, building long standing engagement and relationships instead of just in-and-out transactions.
It’s important to remember that signature moments won’t fix a bad experience – but they will enhance a good one, taking CX from good to great.
Delivering great CX doesn’t have to be hard, but you have to prioritize it. Your entire organization should be behind this mission. The results will surface sooner than you think, delivering better value and driving higher loyalty.
Director of Product Management
Kate, former Director of Product Management at Higher Logic, is experienced in product management, product marketing, content marketing, market research, and proposal coordination. She has a proven track record in product positioning and messaging, value propositions, competitive intelligence, sales enablement, and Analyst Relations. She is a skilled writer, strategic thinking, extremely organized, and driven to excel. Her focus is with B2B software companies in the Washington, DC area.
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