Today’s customers have large expectations, which have actually changed significantly in the past few years. These new expectations are also forcing support organizations to rapidly adjust and transform how they deliver value to their customers.
Support organizations need to move away from the largely reactive mode of operation and become much more proactive and predictive. More than that, support needs to become real-time. They must be available at any moment, with customers having access to experts any time they may need. Everything in a modern support organization needs be interconnected, “always-on” support. It’s no wonder that today, so many are wrestling with developing timelines and strategies for the journey to create the new digital support experience that is being demanded.
Planning Your Customer Experience Strategy
To accomplish this, it’s absolutely necessary to have a well-defined customer experience (CX) strategy. In a recent poll of TSIA’s Support Service members, 41% acknowledged that their company did not have a formal customer experience strategy in place. Customer experience has always been a focus of support organizations, but for the past two years, TSIA has recommended that support executives drive or participate in the creation of a customer experience strategy for the company.
TSIA has previously stated that this needs to be a cross-functional effort between key stakeholders and is often led by Marketing. Support is positioned to be one of, if not the key, linchpins in this strategy. If the effort is not being led by other stakeholders, support executives will only benefit by stepping forward and taking lead on this effort.
Only when a solid customer experience strategy exists does it make sense to build or refine the remaining three strategies (Engagement, Modernization, Technology).
Knowing which phase of customer experience your organization is in is going to be key to knowing where you need to start. TSIA suggests a review of the customer experience maturity phases from the list below.
5 Phases of Customer Experience Strategy Maturity
Please take a moment to honestly assess which phase you believe your company is currently in:
Phase 1: No Phase
- No customer experience strategy exists.
- No priority is being given to customer experience.
- No realization as to the importance of a documented customer experience strategy.
- No alignment exists with other business units regarding customer experience.
- No organization has stepped forward to drive the creation of a customer experience strategy.
Phase 2: Realization
- Certain events have created interest in customer experience.
- There is more “buzz” about customer experience.
- A review of teams who touch customers is launched.
- A review of technology and systems containing customer data is launched.
- A directive to create a customer experience strategy from C-Level has been given.
Phase 3: Standardization
- A corporate team is established to own a customer experience strategy. This team contains members from all business units.
- A company-wide customer experience strategy has taken form.
- Policies and procedures around customer experience are becoming standard.
- More focus on the impacts to the customer experience strategy when decisions and projects (at all levels) are considered.
- Updates are now being requested from executive levels regarding overall customer experience.
Phase 4: Recognition
- There is recognition across the organization regarding the value of the customer experience strategy.
- Return on investment (people and tools) is now being recognized.
- Analytics are producing insights.
- Refinements to strategy are happening on a regular basis.
- Impacts to key metrics are now noticeable.
Phase 5: Strategic
- Customer experience is part of the corporate culture.
- Business units are now in concert not conflict with each other.
- There is now a near perfect focus on the customer. Impact on the customer experience is now a natural consideration.
- The view and health of the customer (via reports and data) is optimized.
- The customer experience with the company has now become a differentiator in the marketplace.
Once you’ve determined which phase your company falls into, make note of your answer and ask for the same assessment from other business units, as well as from members at all levels of the company. Ideally, everyone who answers will be in sync on the phase they believe your company is in. If answers do not match, this is indicative of not having a truly aligned customer experience strategy.
Learn More About Building a Customer Experience Strategy at TSW
As mentioned earlier, only when we truly understand the customer experience we want to deliver can we then build out the remaining focus areas such as the engagement, technology and modernization strategies we need to meet customer expectations.
We will have many examples of how support organizations have developed their customer experience strategy at our upcoming fall conference, TSW Las Vegas 2017. I hope you will join me and your peers in support to learn how to quickly create the ideal customer experience strategy. I look forward to meeting you or seeing you again as we all work together to deliver the support our customers expect.
Read more posts in the "Art and Science of the Customer Journey" blog series:
- "Rethinking the Sales Funnel for Existing Customers"
- "The Customer Journey in Industrial Equipment"
- "Optimize and 'Appify' Your Customer Journey Maps with Analytics"
- "Where Professional Services Fit into the Customer Journey"
- “How Customer Journey Mapping Improves the Customer Experience”
- "3 Ways Education Services Can Advance the Customer Journey"
- "Connecting Customer Value with Recurring Revenues: Two Sides of the Same Coin"
- "Managed Services and the Customer Journey"
About the Author
Judith Platz is vice president of research, Support Services, for TSIA. During her over 25 years of customer support experience, she has been responsible for supervising and coordinating multiple functional, strategic, organizational development and technical work streams, including technical support, account management, business consulting, implementation management, and training. Judith can be contacted at email@example.com.