Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The 4 Phases of Customer Maturity

These days the list of things that can go wrong in creating and managing the processes that comprise the execution of the customer experience is endless. Despite the complexities in managing all aspects of the customer experience, companies' intentions are in the right place.

In fact, a Forrester study has revealed that companies are ambitious when it comes to customer experience (CX). Forty-seven percent of executives use CX as a competitive differentiator in their industry. But their efforts are weak as just 53 percent measure CX quality consistently, leaving half without a way to tell if they're succeeding. Additionally, less than a third track everything the firm is doing to improve experience. Only 15 percent follow a design process – meaning that 85 percent of firms have no systematic approach to determine what a differentiated CX looks like.

Forrester found that CX leaders achieve customer maturity when they follow a path: Repair, Elevate, Optimize, and Differentiate. Recently, Principle Analyst Megan Burns shared the four requirements necessary to advance each phase with 1to1 Media.

1. Repair
Before they set out to create experiences that satisfy customers, firms should first fix the experiences that pain customers. By doing that, CX leaders begin to change the way their businesses operate. In these initial steps, they must identify problematic customer experiences, prioritize the fixes, coordinate implementation, and measure results.

2. Elevate
In this phase, Burns says to share customer insights routinely, measure thoughtfully, and use the metrics to reward. Most importantly, take best practices and made them standard.

3. Optimize
To take CX from OK to good, companies need to develop sophisticated CX toolkits. That's why, in phase 3, customer experience leaders should: model the relationship between CX and business results, build strong experience design practices, and sharpen employees' CX skills.

4. Differentiate
Burns said that organizations that succeed at differentiating their CX do so because they're unwilling to think differently. This requires companies to deploy advanced research techniques to mine for new types of insights. It also requires the development of a business architecture that's based on customer journeys instead of internal processes.

Amanda Ciccatelli, Social Media Strategist at IIR USA in New York City, has a background in digital and print journalism, covering a variety of topics in business strategy, marketing, and technology. She previously worked at Technology Marketing Corporation as a Web Editor where she covered breaking news and feature stories in the tech industry.  She can be reached at Follow her at @AmandaCicc. 
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