Customer Experience (CX) is how customers perceive and engage with an organization, throughout the full lifecycle of their interaction. In today’s world, rapid technological advances have a significant impact on these interactions. In response, there has been a recent, substantial shift in the way leading organizations think about CX. And it is working. Organizations with great CX initiatives have identified measurable benefits: increased customer satisfaction, engaged employees and revenue growth.
This combination of rapidly changing innovation and the positive outcomes of CX has made investing in CX more important than ever. When private organizations don’t focus on CX, it impacts their bottom line. Digital innovation has made it easier for new companies to enter the market, increasing competition. And because consumers are more willing (and able) to adopt new technologies and products, their loyalty to specific brands decreases.
When public organizations don’t focus on CX, it reduces trust in the government, promotes non-compliance for regulations and decreases the number of citizens utilizing available services.
For both public and private organizations, CX not only affects external customers, but also internal ones. Employee Experience (EX) and CX are mutually dependent on each other. In other words, it is important to approach EX initiatives with a CX lens, since employees are customers, too. To attract and retain talented workers, an organization must be committed to great CX.
Fortunately, CX has recently become a priority of many organizations. Just as the private sector has turned its focus to CX, so too has the United States government. President Biden recently issued an Executive Order on Transforming Federal Customer Experience, aiming to rebuild trust in the government by improving the delivery of federal services. It lays out specific policies, actions and accountability measures for government agencies to employ CX strategies to improve federal service delivery.
But improving an organization’s CX goes beyond specific policies and actions – it requires a shift in thinking, culture and behavior. With that in mind, we at Wheelhouse approach our CX work through a Human Centered Design (HCD) lens. This includes a process codified by IDEO, which starts with the people we are designing for and ends with new solutions that are tailored to their needs. We do that in three phases: inspiration, ideation and implementation. Through this approach, the people – customers, employees, executives and partners – are at the forefront, guiding us to co-create CX strategies that address the needs of all stakeholders.
Getting Started: Build the Big Picture
Before diving into the three phases, it is vital to work with your team and customers to understand the current state of CX and create a vision of where they want to be in the future. Designing successful CX initiatives begins by looking at the big picture. This involves:
- Identifying why there is a need for a CX vision,
- Conducting research to provide a baseline and inform a roadmap,
- Defining the vision and determining what success will look like from the perspective of those involved, and
- Building the business case to get others on board.
Often CX is part of a larger digital transformation or technology modernization initiative. So first, we must understand the context, goals and motivations to ensure it is well integrated with other adjacent initiatives.
Getting into Action: Initial Steps to Start the Journey
Improving CX does not have to be a long and daunting process. It starts with a few key steps. Those include:
- Identify the why. Knowing and understanding the “why” provides purpose, perspective and direction to any change initiative. A compelling story around the “why” inspires people to work toward the new vision. Does the organization need to improve delivery of their services? Increase customer compliance with directives? Expand access to information and services? Document the business challenges you are looking to solve and help develop and communicate this story.
- Conduct visioning sessions. Identify and bring together stakeholders to discuss which service levels are currently being provided, what an ideal customer experience would look like and realistic expectations for the future. Avoid leading questions, and instead focus on “how might we…” questions that reframe challenges.
- Validate vision with stakeholders and gain a shared team commitment. It is important to share the CX vision with various stakeholder groups and provide an opportunity for them to weigh in. Reach agreement on the final version and definition of success. Having each stakeholder group’s perspective represented helps establish a shared commitment to achieving success.
As soon as you put those initial steps into practice, you will see how rewarding it is to focus on improving the customer’s experience. And to turn your CX vision into a reality, we at Wheelhouse are here to guide you through the process.