In a busy organization with many competing priorities, it can often be difficult to stay focused on even the most important aspects of keeping a business performing exceptionally. Customer experience (CX) platforms often involve many different teams across an organization, and thus it’s critical to ensure a big-picture view is kept. Too often, teams can get too concerned with measurements and performance in their silo within the organization, but truly successful CX platforms are built, measured and optimized holistically.
This organization-wide approach is best when the measurement criteria are broader than a specific set of channels or actions and instead focus on operational performance and business-level objectives. Having worked with clients to create custom CX strategies and plans, here are three criteria I believe make for a successful customer experience optimization plan.
A practical customer experience measurement platform is one that enables maximum value with minimal time and dollars spent maintaining it and keeping it current.
It also means that the metrics, analysis and insights you get from your measurements are able to inform your business. These need to be ROI-driven insights you can share with your team and other customer experience stakeholders.
For instance, if the analytics you get from your customer experience platform take hours of processing and crunching in order to get a cohesive report about its performance, it’s not practical. The more difficult any platform is to use, the less likely it will be used, which can cause things to quickly fall into disrepair as workarounds are found.
A simple but classic example of this is how an outdated website will often cause salespeople to make their own PDFs, landing pages and other workarounds to avoid having to send people to a website that doesn’t reflect the current reality. Doing so skews all your numbers and disrupts an optimal customer experience.
A CX platform with scalability can keep up with the growth trajectory of your business. Being scalable means that it can handle both a growing external customer base, as well as the internal teams that will be operating it.
A scalable customer experience platform doesn’t always have to be able to handle exponential growth, but it needs to be able to handle the fluctuations and changes in your business. This may either be steady growth (whether fast or slow), or it could be massive fluctuations in volume during short periods of time.
For instance, an e-commerce company may experience a high volume of customer activity during the holiday shopping season. This includes purchases, returns and all other types of customer inquiries and complaints. Rapid fluctuations take a different type of scalability than a system for a company that is growing more slow and steady, or with less volatility from month to month or season to season.
Similar to being scalable, your CX measurement needs to be able to be modified and added to over time. Where this differs from scalability is that being improvable may mean that existing systems or steps in a process can be modified and optimized without the need to necessarily handle more traffic, inputs or data storage.
An improvable customer experience platform is often made to be modular, with distinct parts each playing a role but seamlessly working with another. This modular approach allows different components, such as tracking or measurement tools, to be switched in and out as needs change or as better components become available.
Another way to make sure your customer experience platform is made to be improvable is to customize it to your business in a way that is easy for your internal team to modify as needed. This will often require an internal technical team with a broad understanding of the different needs across the organization. While there can sometimes be risks with creating proprietary systems, a mix of proprietary and off-the-shelf systems has worked well for some of the clients I work with.
Your customer experience measurement must be flexible and adaptive enough to change with the times. While we talked about scalability and improvability, there are many other factors that might need to be modified over time.
An agile customer experience platform can change with a business as it grows, evolves and as demand in different areas changes over time. Though we mentioned scalability earlier, this doesn’t always involve growth. For instance, in a world of continual disruption of industries and often well-established practices, an agile customer experience platform can adapt to new platforms, modifications to internal processes and changes in tactics from marketing or customer services teams.
Measuring your customer experience takes a lot of strategy, coordination and continual optimization but can have huge returns on even slight improvements in consumer satisfaction.