If you ask a chef the secret to her perfect chocolate cake or incredible seasoned steak, the response always begins with the right ingredients. Developing a mouthwatering, must-come-back-for-more experience for your customers is no different: Start with the right ingredients and you'll end up with a recipe designed for the highest quality customer experience.
The following are five ingredients to ensure you end up with the perfect recipe for customer experience.
1. Define your objective. The first step in a customer experience campaign is always to define your objective. What is the intended outcome? This forms the basis of your recipe. If you don't define this quickly, then others will do it for you. Your customers will set expectations and find a competitor if you fail to meet them. Your sales team will define what is easiest to sell and your operations team will struggle to meet the demands. A strategy will be defined one way or another, but you have more control and better outcomes if you do the grunt work upfront. This is often the toughest step, but it's the most important. Put simply, you must fully understand what you want the end result to look like before execution.
2. Ensure cross-functional alignment. Make sure that everyone who is responsible for delivering the product or service clearly understands the strategy, objectives, and their role in the execution. This is akin to the metaphor for creating a tree swing (see image below). Everyone agrees in theory to the same tree swing, but they each have their own vision and plan for execution. Be sure to communicate cross-functionally to ensure everyone's executing on the same strategy, with the same goal in mind.
3.Design from start to finish. Take the time to observe your customers and your target market, listen to your frontline employees, and map the customer journey from the moment customers recognize that they have a need to their final solution. Then design the experience from the ground up to lead your customers naturally to the outcomes that you desire. This takes more than a great product experience and more than a helpful smile at checkout. Every last detail of the customer journey should be planned and deliberate.
4.Plan for growth. This is another sticking point for many companies. Either they stick with what they have always done but expect different results, or they create a perfect solution that is challenging to deliver today, much less tomorrow. You have to be creative and innovative within the constraints of what is feasible and viable because a great customer experience is reliable and consistent. Ask yourself: Can you deliver this level of service for 100 customers, for 1,000, for 10,000? If not, what is your game plan? How will you scale up and down, and how will that impact your customers? Don't leave this to chance-you must plan for it. Design an experience to match your growth.
5.Measure and adjust. Once you have defined your experience, and only then, can you establish criteria for measurement. The point of measuring is not to pat yourself on the back, nor should it be used solely for compensation. The real purpose is to understand what's working, what needs tweaking, and to identify red flags quickly. Much like a great chef, understand there is an element of experimentation before you can perfect a recipe.
The right ingredients are foundational to a high-quality customer experience. Define your objectives, clearly communicate them, take into account the entire customer journey, plan for the future, then revise the plan as needed based on results.
The measurements help ensure you meet your objective, the ingredients are essential to success.