Developing a customer experience strategy

Mark Cameron

Mark Cameron
Mark Cameron is CEO of customer experience innovation agency Working Three and a world renowned digital strategy commentator with well over 400 published articles. Specialties: Digital innovation, Digital customer experience strategy, Social media strategy, Digital strategy, Online Marketing strategy. He blogs at markrcameron.com and tweets from @MarkRCameron.

Customer’s today are dealing with a complex array of digital channels and messages. Social media, websites, mobile apps, email and in-store digital displays are all playing a part in the brand experience – and on top of this is the different types of content each of these channels distribute like text, audio, interactivity and video.

From a brand’s perspective the communication space has become so fragmented and is evolving so fast that most digital strategies are out of date before they are signed off. For many businesses trying to deal with this complexity they have started to move beyond channel based strategies and towards more holistic multi-channel customer experience strategies.

Another factor influencing the need for businesses to focus on the entirety of the customer experience, from end to end, is that it’s reached a point in their development where customer acquisition is not the core measure of success. Obviously as a business scales up acquiring new customers is key to success, particularly for consumer-facing brands. But as a company matures, and the market they play in becomes more competitive, retention becomes as important – if not more so. Retaining and understanding current customers is the key to discovering new revenue opportunities and increasing the overall lifetime value of each customer.

This is where customer experience strategy and design becomes vital for the businesses continued growth and success. While a marketing focused digital strategy will focus mostly on the awareness raising aspect of the customer journey a customer experience strategy looks at whole process – and is designed around developing long term relationships.

As a business leader there are essentially two ideas to get your head around if you are about to start down the path of a customer experience, or customer-centric, strategy.

The first is learning to think like a customer. This is not as easy as it sounds. For example, your marketing and branding will have set expectations about how they will be treated and what the customer will receive. From there the customer will interact with your brand in some way. The result of this interaction will be the experience the customer has, and this well elicit and emotion, ranging from delighted to angry, which will determine how the relationship they have with your brand will evolve. They more you understand this journey the better you can manage the resulting relationship.

And this brings us to the second concept: that customer experience design needs a process. The customer journey discussed above is the first step. Then you need to do deeper discovery, build out some concepts, test and validate and finally implement. This is not something you design and push out to market as a finished product. You need to be agile. The end result is all about your customers so they need to be part of the process.

Digital technologies are disrupting many industries but for each there are also new revenue opportunities to be had. A customer experience strategy is a fast way of uncovering the untapped revenue in your business.