Companies want their customers to achieve the ultimate in satisfaction: a consistent and satisfying experience throughout their journey with their product or service, in whatever communication channel they prefer. From before, during, and after the sale process, the customer journey through a brand is a great way to identify pain points and develop a strategy to address them. After all, 90% of American consumers rate customer service as their number one factor in determining whether or not to do business with a company.
The challenge with maintaining a consistent experience is that all your teams need a cohesive and collaborative way to see the customer’s big picture—their “journey” throughout their experience. And then they need to develop a customer experience strategy to enhance it, or risk losing a customer to another brand. After all, 80% of customers will switch brands after more than one bad experience.
Is there a way to build that kind of cooperation between teams without being too disruptive?
The best way to help teams collaborate, develop a strategy that helps enhance the customer journey, and make gains in improving CX (customer experience) is by setting expectations, developing a strategy, and using tools like the Mindful to reduce the time spent in tracking down customer data and feedback.
First, identify expectations with each team.
Identifying expectations with each team is important. Before any task is completed, the team has to ask, “What are we trying to achieve?” If there’s no clear answer, then there won’t be one for the customer when they ask the same question. You need to convey these expectations across teams as well so all departments have a clear picture of what the other departments are focused on.
Marketing expectations and CX
The marketing team is one of the first departments to affect the customer experience, which they do either through promoting the expectation of what’s to come, or building excitement around the product. Their expectations include promoting a good, solid product or service that satisfies a particular need in the marketplace.
To ensure they deliver on expectations, however, many marketers are now finding it’s not enough to just promote a product. They have to understand the customer experience in its entirety, from pre-purchase to sale and even post-purchase. Using metrics like CSAT, NPS, and CES (or these other ten metrics CX teams should be using) will help the marketing team to get a better snapshot of their customer.
Development expectations and CX
Product development teams are responsible for making the product or creating the service (that marketing promoted) for your customer. Their proficiency with the customer experience should also include a soup-to-nuts approach. By analyzing the data, they can then “follow” the customer throughout their experience.
Paying close attention to feedback from customer survey data like CES (customer effort score—which tells you how hard the customer had to work to get your product or service to deliver) will help development teams know a customer is dissatisfied with a product because it’s too hard to use. The development teams might also see where the customer has become disconnected on their journey with CSAT scores.
If a low CSAT score appears when asking what feature a customer did or didn’t like, the development team can use that data to improve the product or add/remove a feature in their next round of development.
Customer service expectations and CX
Customer service agents are the frontline workers, the crucial link in the customer experience, because they deal directly with the customer, as opposed to marketing and development, which deal with customer data to make their decisions. According to PWC, 80% of customers say agents make a significant impact on their customer experience—listing factors like knowledgeability, friendliness, and fast help as top priorities.
Although they deal mostly with post-purchase issues (like problems or complaints), customer service teams also rely on customer satisfaction survey data or feedback. They also know their customers through personal interactions like phone, chat, and text, which makes them the boots-on-the-ground team Marketing and Development should always communicate with to gather an even better framework for their goals.
Customer service goals are to satisfy the customer, make their experience as helpful and happy as possible, and get them a resolution to their issue as quickly as they can. That’s why a customer service team uses survey data (or feedback from the other teams)—it helps them guide the customer to resolution with more focus—which is good because one of the most frustrating experiences for customers is having to repeat the same issue to multiple agents during a call.
Zendesk reports that 70% of consumers believe it’s a company’s responsibility to do the background work and make sure all agents are informed of their issue. They also cite that 40% of consumers complain that repeating their issue to different agents in customer support indicates poor customer service.
Next, develop a separate customer experience strategy for each.
Although all three teams may be responsible for the customer experience, customer service teams have the most direct and influential contact with customers. They’re the frontline workers of the customer service experience, and their tone (messaging, language, and overall attitude) is immediately noticed by the customer. They set the tone simply by how they interact with problem resolutions.
Marketing strategy to enhance CX
In most companies, marketing focuses on messaging. For a better customer experience, marketing should develop messaging that doesn’t take a product-first stance—they should concentrate on what the customer needs and develop their messaging accordingly.
Patagonia knows their customer base has great concern about the environment and social responsibility, so their marketing messaging includes assurances their products are sourced responsibly, and they made their Supplier Code of Conduct readily available to all their customers. Their marketing speaks directly to the customer, and their transparency raises the customer experience.
For a better customer experience, the customer has to come before the product. Dove Soap is another example. They still market and sell soap, but now their messaging promotes self-esteem for young women. That’s people-first messaging, and all teams can benefit from sharing this strategy. It will help development teams make products that speak to a customer and their experience, and customer service teams will have a better idea of the kind of customer they’ll be dealing with.
Product development strategy to enhance CX
How do development teams enhance their contribution to a customer’s experience? One way is for the development teams to dive deep into the available data from both metrics and feedback provided by the other teams.
It’s essential all teams communicate so the development of products is made with feedback in mind. If customer service has data that says customers hated the color red for your product, the development teams need that crucial feedback so they don’t develop a red product.
Customer service strategy to enhance CX
Developing a customer service strategy is a little more cut-and-dry with customer service and call center agents. By analyzing the CSAT data, diving deep into the call logs for information, and dissecting the information from marketing’s messaging and product development’s tasks, your agents will have a pretty good arsenal of tools to help them deal with customers and enhance their experience.
Keep an eye on the basics for CX agents as well—a professional demeanor, calm and polite messaging, and a background on the customer’s journey. But more helpful than all that is a sense of empathy from the agent, to let the customer know they feel their pain and frustration. That’s key.
Other strategic tools and techniques
Omnichannel support (offering integrated support through different channels like phone, email, customer portals, and social media) is becoming more significant as companies and brands explore better ways to improve customer satisfaction. Integration is a key approach here—the ability to have any member of any team pick up a customer’s issue and assist them armed with full knowledge of their journey—and not multichannel, which just means offering support through separate, individual channels.
Omnichannel support becomes important when looking at the entirety of the customer’s journey and not just a part of it. Marketing may be inclined to concentrate on the bigger experience of the customer’s journey. But an omnichannel approach gives them a more wholistic view of the customer. If a marketing team member can look at a map of the customer’s journey and see where the experience has failed them (ex. the website’s too difficult) or supported them (ex. customer service was awesome), they can integrate that knowledge into their strategy and take credit or responsibility for different aspects of the journey.
Finding out where your customers are hanging out, who they’re hanging out with, and what they’re talking about is the only way to get an effective snapshot of the customer journey. Without omnichannel support channels, you’re only getting part of the picture.
Also helpful is mapping out your customer’s journey using pre-made templates or developing persona profiles. Journey mapping is done with real data gathered from your customer’s touchpoints throughout their journey, while persona profiles are constructed using a fictional character who represents your customer’s common behavioral patterns.
Mindful has strategic tools for all teams
A tool for all teams to consider is cross-channel solution like Mindful platform. Mindful works its magic transitioning customers across channels. And since channels are often divided by teams (a website might be owned by marketing, and phone owned by support), having a platform that connects context and tracks across channels not only enhances the customer journey, but it also connects teams together.
Big enterprises are finding that CX needs to be bridged across all departments, and many of these marketing departments are facing the fact that they serve a core function in the customer’s entire lifecycle.They’re being charged with improving the experience. One way Mindful is handling this initiative is on the Contact Us page.
Marketing is typically the owner of a brand’s website, but the Contact Us page is this in-between where it’s going from a marketing-owned asset to the call center, and the customer journey breaks down.
Imagine abandoned cart emails—and if you had the option to schedule a call to finish your cart right from the email. In moments like these, Mindful can bridge the gap between a digital marketing asset and a voice experience, tracking history, providing context, and setting the stage for a loyalty-building experience.
Mindful can be deployed as a simple solution for engineering and IT teams as well, entirely packaged without having to hardcode or be proficient in CSS. Anyone can embed the callback scheduling widget as long as they have access to the page’s HTML—it’s three lines to copy and paste. So engineering teams can actually empower CX teams to implement these widgets without taking up IT resources. Mindful also offers access to APIs, so CX teams that want to completely tailor the experience or styles of the widget can do so as much as they’d like.
Getting your teams on the same page to enhance the customer experience isn’t difficult—but it does require that teams are aware of each other’s data and feedback. Omnichannel support is also more important than ever, now that customers are communicating in different ways.
Customers expect you to meet them in their channel and to perform to their expectations. But you can’t fulfill your obligation to them without a fully functioning, cohesive team that includes marketing, development, and customer service. Make sure everyone is on the same page in order to deliver an overall excellent customer satisfaction experience.