December 1, 2021

How to Define Customer Experience Strategy

The rise of digital has given rise to a new type of customer. Today’s consumers are more informed and have higher expectations than ever before. In order to woo these hyper-aware consumers, businesses need to prioritize their experience, starting with a CX strategy.

But how do you define customer experience strategy? This phrase essentially describes the steps an organization can take to deliver and, more importantly, maintain a holistic, positive, and meaningful experience.

Read on to learn more about how to develop an effective customer experience strategy—one step at a time.

Defining Customer Experience Strategy

First and foremost, you need to define your target market and conduct user research based on the identified market segment to validate the needs and emotions of your users. Then, you can start mapping the customer journeys and identify the current friction points using data.

The next step is using that information to establish and build your CX strategy. At this stage, your goal is to come up with a plan that lays out which activities to focus on and how you’ll divvy up resources to deliver experiences that meet or exceed customer expectations AND align with your organization’s key business goals and value proposition.

At this stage, you can implement continuous discovery and improvement processes to ensure you are moving along with customer maturity and can address their problems effectively.

How to Build a Customer Experience Strategy

While the best CX strategy entails having a customer-centric mindset, every organization’s CX strategy will ultimately look different and target different touchpoints, depending on the customers they want to serve and how.

Here’s a general set of steps you can use as a starting point:

Establish a Clear Vision for Your Overall Customer Experience

Without a successful CX vision, an organization won’t be able to keep up with competitors who put the end user first.

Luckily, your customers’ wants and needs should have already given you a clear picture of the current state of your CX strategy. But how do you go about defining a customer experience vision that will align with your organizational goals?

Here, you’ll want to define what the ideal future state should look like.

Goals to focus on include:

  • Channel flexibility: Is customer context being applied across all of your current channels?
  • Faster service/time-to-resolution: How quickly do you respond to and resolve customer issues?
  • Better self-service options: Are you providing helpful content via a help desk, knowledge base, or FAQs?
  • Personalization: Are you meeting your customers’ needs on an individual level?
  • Improved cross-departmental insights: How well do you break down silos, work through inefficiencies, and create a seamless experience for customers?
  • Reachability: What channels is your brand active on, and how are they being used?

Understand Your Audience and Develop Buyer Personas

When it comes to building a customer experience strategy, you need to truly understand what makes your customers tick, how to interact with them, and what brings them to eventually purchase your product or sign up for your service.

Developing customer personas for each segment in your customer base is a step you can’t afford to overlook. While you might already have detailed personas in place, that doesn’t mean your work is done.

Take the time to comb through your research and address any gaps in understanding you might have uncovered during your audit process.

You might try:

  • Analyzing profile data: This data can be collected through social media channels like Facebook Insights or analytical tools like Google Analytics. Use it to determine who’s interacting with you on these channels and how often they like, share, and comment on your posts.
  • Seeking customer feedback: Aside from statistical data, understand the motivations behind the choices your customers make. Why are they interacting with you? Collect this information by, e.g. asking them to fill out surveys or encouraging them to participate in one-to-one interviews with you.
  • Empathy mapping: This is a collaborative process that teams use to visualize and understand what customers say, think, do, and feel. It creates a shared understanding of user needs and supports better decision-making.

Levering the newly gained knowledge, you can use data points to inform your CX strategy. However, without the right mindset across all members of your team, the best laid CX strategy is doomed to fail.

Work on Your Culture

If your culture isn’t prepared to support the customer experience, none of what you do in the other stages will sustain. In the end, culture is what keeps your CX strategy wheel spinning.

Before you can go above and beyond for your customers, it’s imperative that you address any issues with your internal corporate culture.

  • Have you established a data-driven culture?
  • Does everyone have access to the information needed to improve their touchpoint of the overall customer experience?
  • Do they know exactly what to do with those insights?

While getting the entire company on the same page is no easy feat, it all starts with cultivating a customer-centric mentality.

To ensure organization-wide buy-in, provide detailed guidance to employees about how they can contribute to the intended customer experience and remove any barriers that make it harder to adopt customer-centric behaviors.

Creating a coaching and feedback environment can also help refine and optimize culture practices for CX transformation.

Identify General Friction Points and Potential Solutions

Identifying friction points, uncovering root causes, and taking action to resolve issues—all within a timely manner—can make all the difference to a company’s bottom line.

Qualtrics recommends using the “5 Whys” to understand the root causes behind the issues you’ve discovered in the customer journey.

With this technique, you cut through all of the outward symptoms of a customer experience problem to reveal any underlying causes.

Start with areas with the greatest influence over the customer experience and brainstorm ways to address those root causes.

Remember, you’re solving for the customer—pinpointing what creates an unpleasant experience for them and then fixing the issue right away.

Invest in the Right Tools/Infrastructure/Training to Improve Your CX Program

This will be where you’ll invest in a technology that allows you to continuously evaluate customer sentiment and friction points.

Once you know why there are issues in the CX strategy and you’ve presented some possible solutions, focus on what tools you’ll need next to tackle those problems and achieve the goals you laid out earlier.

A few examples:

  • Gaps in personas/journeys: You might look for tools that help you capture and analyze feedback more effectively.
  • Slow service: Consider automating manual processes and improving self-service options.
  • Products don’t align with consumer pain points: Explore tools that help product teams and developers analyze and incorporate VoC feedback.

Keep in mind that perfecting the CX strategy is an iterative process, a continuous cycle that requires constant assessment.

Final Thoughts

In order to adequately define customer experience strategy, you need to map all the relevant touchpoints throughout the buyer’s journey to help you better plan how your brand will interact with your customers. As you continue to learn about their preferences and behaviors, you’ll find it’s much easier to make data-driven decisions about your CX strategy.

Whether you’re looking to create a seamless customer experience or put your data to work, 3Pillar Global experts can help. Contact us today to learn more about our process.

Special thanks to these members of FORCE, 3Pillar’s expert network, for their contributions to this article.

FORCE is 3Pillar Global’s Thought Leadership Team comprised of technologists and industry experts offering their knowledge on important trends and topics in digital product development.