6 steps to reverse engineer the customer experience for better outcomes
Author: Maria Alejandra Lopez
Source: Retail Customer Experience
The customer experience continues to evolve thanks to the rise of digital channels and e-commerce. This means the CX terrain is more challenging than ever as the battle to capture consumers attention becomes a 24/7 battle. With the influx of infinite scrolling on social media, advertisements plastered on every surface and online shopping occurring at all hours of the day, consumers have come to expect access to information, data and services whenever and wherever they want. This comes in addition to a desire for personalized, consistent and perceptive customer experiences…similar to the ones they already receive on a daily basis from big brands. As a result, companies must compete to create a unified CX strategy — ensuring shoppers have the best experiences possible to increase brand loyalty at each and every touch point.
Customer experience leaders see a 25% increase in revenue over lagging counterparts, according to Forrester. This proves new strategies should be equipped with the agility and flexibility to anticipate customer needs as well as react to their changing preferences and predict problems before they even happen. In turn, this will lead to stronger business outcomes.
If your company’s customer experience journey means first creating it, take a step back and figure out how and why it’s being built — in other words, «reverse engineer» it. This can serve as a valuable lesson for your marketing team to better understand the shoppers they deal with every day. With time, a refined, intelligent approach enables your business to produce successful customer experiences more quickly and with less resources.
When looking to reverse engineer the customer experience, there are six steps a brand should take.
Step 1: Understand your customers. To successfully begin this process, you must first research and discover what your customers want and need the most — as well as anticipate issues that might be on their radar in the future. What are the most important things to them when making a purchase? Quality? Selection? Convenience? From here, your team can visualize what the ideal journey should look like…and then begin to implement it. Consider ways you can integrate the insights you discovered into every action and decision your organization makes, from cold lead to conversion to loyalty and rewards programs.
Step 2: Assess where you stand. Evaluate where your company lands on the spectrum of centricity. Are you behind the pack, stuck in the past and relying on traditional forms of communication? Are you making strides through beginning to adapt (e.g. deploying market resource management (MRM) and/or digital asset management (DAM) technology) but still falling short on a completely customized CX? Or are you setting the pace, equipped with optimized resources to deliver an integrated, personalized brand experience for different types of shoppers?
Step 3: Realign your organization. Many companies have a siloed approach to customer experiences with each department delivering different messages to the same customers. In order to streamline CX, brands must transform how their teams interact with customers across the entire buying lifecycle. This involves creating a unified brand experience strategy that all roles must follow when communicating with consumers — in other words, the advertising team, sales team, cashiers (if applicable) and e-marketing team should push out similar messages to customers. Warning: this may be the most difficult step and require a change management initiative to ensure everyone is on board, but it’s not only well worth the challenge, it’s critical for brand success.
Step 4: Establish new methods. Within each department of your business, engage with the customer experience leaders to create a “CX Task Force.” These team members can jointly develop streamlined strategies to create content, campaigns and interactions that are centered on the customer’s buying journey rather than the products themselves.
Step 5: Implement an experience command center. In order to optimize growth and serve customers, your business must balance digital agility with the human touch. The volume of content required to keep pace with customers can be overwhelming to marketers. Legacy operations simply do not have the agility to support this reality — signaling a widespread need for MRM and DAM systems that can automate formerly complex processes like ideation, planning, budgeting and creation.
Step 6: Measure effectiveness. Insights are crucial to optimizing performance, understanding your customers and accelerating speed-to-market. Artificial intelligence and analytics-backed programs can help you gain insights for behind-the-scenes activities involved in creating the customer experience. Furthermore, insights will help your teams identify what is working and what is not in order to keep improving and become proactive about what’s next. It is important to remember that this step doesn’t stop after your initial reverse engineering demo — but rather, measuring the effectiveness of your CX strategy should be a continuous process that is integrated into your business.
By reversing the customer experience process and re-aligning your business away from products and toward those you serve, customers will quickly learn they truly come first. This will increase their sense of trust and help them realize your business understands their problems, values their thoughts and can anticipate their needs — redefining your company’s brand loyalty expectations.