Customer experience management is Ian Golding’s life’s work, and he is the author of Customer What?: The honest and practical guide to customer experience. Ian has spent over 20 years in business improvement, working hard to ensure that the companies he works for are as customer-focused as possible across the entire organisation. At Netigate, we had the pleasure of hosting Ian as a speaker in our recent webinar, The future of CX. In this article, we capture the insights Ian shared on aligning the layers of customer experience management.
What is customer experience?
CX is a relatively new term but working with customer experience is nothing new. CX or customer experience refers to the quality of customer interactions with a business. It can look different according to each industry, but the customer experience strategy is big business. According to a 2021 survey from Netigate, 63% of companies currently have a person or team working towards customer experience.
“[CX] encompasses not just the customer experience, but the employee experience, digital experience and in essence, the entire human experience.”Ian Golding, The future of CX
Ian believes that there are several layers of customer experience management that must be built into the foundations of a business in order for CX to actually be improved.
The customer journey
The first layer is the customer journey, which many customer experience specialists spend a lot of their time focusing on. In short, the customer journey is every interaction that a company has with their customer. The ultimate goal along the customer journey is to convert potential customers into paying customers. Each journey is made up of touchpoints, most commonly the website, check-out, and social media interactions. These touchpoints should be as smooth as possible to ensure no customer hops off halfway through the journey.
The next layer is how CX fits within the business processes. Are staff doing things every day that impact the customer? How does CX fit into the different elements of the company? Many business processes and policies were built long before the customer journey was defined, so it’s important for companies to reassess their processes to make sure they are aligned with the customer experience and journey. How are everyday tasks contributing positively to the customer experience? If the answer is that they don’t, Ian explains that we must then ask why we are doing them.
Finally, the third layer is technology. Companies spend huge amounts of money to make processes faster and more efficient. Technology is a way to do this, with most companies reporting they use at least one dedicated platform to CX. As a direct result of the pandemic, this trend is growing. However, it doesn’t automatically lead to an improved customer experience. Ian Golding believes that this could be a waste of time and money. Ultimately, he says, CX is about people:
‘And what we must not forget is the organizations exist to give people what they need, what they want. They do not exist to make money.”Ian Golding, The future of CX
Ian argues that it doesn’t matter what technology or business processes are in place, you need to be collecting evidence that you can take action on. Customer journey management to him is ‘a series of interconnected and continuous activities to improve the ability of the journey to meet the needs and expectations of customers.’
So, take some time to reflect on the layers of customer experience management at your business. Is there a smooth customer journey? Do your business processes align with your customer experience goals? And finally, how does technology improve the outcome?