CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE STRATEGY
PLACING YOUR CUSTOMERS AT THE CENTRE OF EVERYTHING YOU DO SO THAT YOU DELIGHT YOUR CUSTOMERS WITH THE PRODUCTS, SERVICES AND EXPERIENCES YOU OFFER THEM
What is Customer Experience (CX) Consulting?
Customer Experience Consulting involves the use of an expert consultancy to optimise the experience of customers each time they engage with an organisation through a broad range of offerings. The best customer experience consulting will combine such methods as outside-in strategy design, customer journey maps, customer value proposition design, ideation workshops, in-depth qualitative and quantitative customer research, customer persona development and the creation of specially designed experiences to delight the organisation’s customers.
Why Customer Experience Consulting can be critical to growth
“Customer experience” (CX) is everything about a business that affects a customer’s perceptions and feelings when they engage with it. People remember the quality of their experiences – the positive as well as the negative, and naturally will seek to repeat the positive and avoid the negative. Indeed, research suggests that 86% of customers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience, whilst a mere 8% of customers feel that they are receiving that superior customer experience. Great customer experience consultants, such as we are at The Strategy Group, will shape great customer experiences to ensure that your customers return again and again for the satisfying, even brilliantly delightful experience your organisation can provide.
Traditionally, organisations look internally (’inside-out”) for new opportunities, points of view and ideas. By adding the external perspective of the customers, and by employing best-practice tools and processes, customer experience consultants can challenge the status quo and offer revelatory thinking to fuel growth and customer-centred innovation.
Much of the value in customer experience consulting comes from taking the outside-in view of an organisation that the customers can offer.
By empathising with an organisation’s customers, utilising skills we have honed in our work with many organisations, and by using the latest research, our consultants can identify key insights on how to raise the peaks and eliminate the troughs of your customers’ experience with your organisation.
Your winning strategy starts with watching and listening to your customers. Focusing intently on the customer experience regularly reveals unrealised opportunities for unfulfilled growth as it reveals unfulfilled customer needs in today’s market landscape, and also opportunities to leverage the brand for future value. Smart companies realise their customers have the crucial information required for them to grow, and thus make customers their focus.
Thus, the tactical use of high quality, expert customer experience consultants such as The Strategy Group can supercharge growth in any organisation. We can create and deliver fresh perspectives through high quality quantitative and qualitative research, delivering thoughtful and specific recommendations on how to improve customer experiences to retain existing customers and win new ones – leading to direct effect on your revenue and profits. The diverse range of offerings further allow us to tailor packages to fit the size and needs of any organisation, including businesses ranging from small to large, multinational firms, non-profits, charities, governments and more.
what makes great experiences?
Keeping your organisation current
Over and over again the 20th and early 21st century large and previously successful companies, overconfident in their competitive advantage, have been disrupted by start-ups who better understand their customers, and create excellent experiences for them. Agile consultants like The Strategy Group, highly experienced at working with start-ups and across a range of industries can see the bigger picture, and help their clients understand and improve their customer experience.
With the advent of the internet and the digital era, innovations in creating brilliant customer experiences can be made faster than ever. The perceived competitive advantage is impenetrable, until it isn’t. When an organisation loses its focus on the customer, becoming complacent and inwards focused, it leaves itself at the mercy of more dynamic customer-centric players. Without the aid of an external eye, and the in depth research and expertise that is offered by customer experience consultants like The Strategy Group, companies can struggle to compete in a market defined by delightful customer experience.
how great experiences are delivered
6 key offerings in customer experience consulting
We at The Strategy Group have identified six key offerings in customer experience consulting, which can be tailored and combined to meet the unique character and needs of any organisation.
1. In-depth Customer Research
Understanding how to delight the customer means closely identifying and listening to the customer. When most organisations talk about the “voice of the customer” they usually mean surveys and focus groups. However, these are limited by time pressure in the case of surveys and groupthink in the case of focus groups.
At The Strategy Group we pride ourselves on our ability to get out of the building and engage with your customers. We do this in a number of ways, usually starting with one-on-one interviews where we elicit their needs, pains and gains. We might observe customers in their interactions with your organisation if that is relevant – for example, in a retail setting or in their online behaviour. We capture everything – what they do, what they say, and what they’re not saying or doing.
2. Customer Persona Development
In order to deliver an amazing Customer Experience, you have to understand the customer. Many organisations fall into the trap of thinking they fully understand who the customer is, or worse, that they actually think in the same way as their customers. Invariably they are wrong. For example, how can a middle-aged executive assume they understand the world of a Millennial? Despite what they may think, they cannot.
The starting point is to construct personas – descriptions of the target audience in a way that fully describes their needs, gains and pains. There will often be several personas representing the multiple customer categories who need to be addressed.
Once personas are developed, it is much easier to develop meaningful value propositions for them that deliver real value in their eyes.
Customer experience consultants like The Strategy Group will do in-depth research to craft customer personas which genuinely reflect the diverse needs, gains and pains of the customer base of your organisation.
3. Customer Journey map
The customer journey map is an aggregated experience map, documenting the highs and lows of all interactions with the organisation from the customers’ perspective. It aims to be a consistent representation of the customer experience that accurately maps all aspects of their experience across the whole organisation.
A customer journey map will often include:
- The observed step-by-step activities of the customers
- The customers’ needs (both specific product related needs and broader needs from interactions in general)
- An emotional journey map which identifies the key for positive customer experiences and the key friction points that negatively impact their experience
- The interactions of the customers with key stakeholders
The aggregated journey map will aim to be a holistic representation of current and future customers and this understanding of the customers will guide efforts to enhance the customer experience together with creating efficiencies for the organisation.
4. Customer Value Proposition Design
Developing a strong customer experience and providing services which delight your customers depends on aligning your organisation with your customers’ needs (their Jobs to be Done, Pains and Gains). You certainty don’t want to offer products, services or features that your customers don’t want!
This is why a Customer Value Proposition can be invaluable – it allows for a comprehensive view of the value which your organisation provides to customers, what detracts from this and the key factors which attract customers. Only by understanding the value that the customer sees in your organisation can you improve it – hence a Customer Value Proposition designed and created by expert customer experience consultants is vital.
5. Ideation and Ideation Workshops
Insights workshops allow for the pooling of all the research to date to enable the distilling of all the research to-date into collection of insights that can be presented to the executive of the organisation. This can often be confronting, as the “Inside-out” view of how an organisation is performing might be very different than the “outside-in” perspective.
A key component of customer experience consulting is Ideation. When we run ideation workshops, we bring together a diverse group of stakeholders to diverge in their thinking – to really think outside the box.
Ideation Workshops regularly identify customer experience that would not be thought of in a traditional workshop. First, we encourage bold, broad thinking – the divergent phase – and then we apply the convergent lenses of desirability, feasibility and sustainability to the solutions generated.
This allows for the unique perspectives, expertise and experience of your stakeholders to be gleaned and shaped into actionable ideas which can be validated and pursued to optimise the customer experience.
6. Creating and Validating Solutions
Once ideas and insights are generated, we will assist with opportunity design as to how the entire organisation can contribute to further enhancing the Customer Experience.
Clear solutions which will enhance the customer experience and delight customers will be created, experimented with and validated for implementation across the business.
This will very often include training across the organisation, helping every staff member realise just how they contribute to the Customer Experience.
Outside-In Strategy Design – Building an Overarching Strategy
A Customer Experience strategy is critical to the ongoing survival and growth of any business – and the lack of one can leave an organisation vulnerable to disruption, with a serious competitive disadvantage. No two strategies will be the same, and the strategy at any point in time to win, retain and satisfy customers can vary from broad principles and processes which enhance the customer experience to highly specific recommendations – depending on the needs of your organisation.
A Customer Experience Strategy is often the culmination of a range of offerings, such as in-depth research, journey maps, a range of workshops and more. An excellent Customer Experience strategy will ensure a successful and productive organisation-wide focus on the customer experience, which can and will be pivotal to an organisation’s ongoing success. You can learn more about customer experience strategy here.
What a Customer experience strategy involves
At The Strategy Group, we have many years of experience in Customer Experience design, strategy and implementation. Our staff is highly trained in all aspects of Customer Experience strategy and design, from qualitative interviewing skills, through to insights generation, ideation, and even Customer Experience training across the entire organisation.
In summary, a Customer Experience strategy typically involves the following steps:
We will engage with a cross section of your customers to uncover their needs, pains and gains. This involves a 1-1 discussion with them, in confidence, about their strategy and their plans. Observing your customers is very powerful, where possible e.g. in retail
We then gather the insights from these interviews/observations and present to you and leaders in the organisation. We often uncover confronting issues through this process; however, it provides a meaningful roadmap moving forwards
Often, we send out a broad proprietary Customer Experience diagnostic to the wider customer base, and we then combine together the qualitative and quantitative research
We often also develop a “journey map” – detailing the end-to-end experience of your customers as they work their way through your processes. We always include not just the operational journey, but the emotional journey as well
We will hold workshops with you, building on all the above evidence, to co-create the Customer Experience strategy for your organisation, looking at where the negative elements in their experience can be remedied, and looking to see where the positive elements can be further developed to really DELIGHT your customers
We may create and validate customer experience solutions which optimise your customers experiences as they interact with your organisation.Part of this strategy might also include training across your organisation, not only for customer-facing staff, but for all the staff as every staff member in your organisation can contribute as to how they delight customers
We will wrap all of the above items into a complete, documented strategy, and even help you hold yourself accountable in its implementation.
We have successfully developed and implemented Customer Experience strategies across a myriad of industry verticals, including engineering, telecommunications, healthcare, financial services, retail, education and media.
Why The Strategy Group
should be your strategy partner
We will work with you to design and support implementation of a strategy for your business unit, for your entire organisation, or for any segment of your organisation where a fresh approach will add value.
We will use a combination of globally-recognised leading-edge processes, coupled with our proprietary validated toolbox to develop a bespoke, customised strategy, which we can assist you in implementing, that will deliver tangible impact and value to your organisation, employees and customers.
We have been designing and implementing strategy solutions since 2003 and we have the expertise and the experience not only to deliver, but to overdeliver.