5 Non-Customer-Facing Departments That Impact Your Customer Experience
By Ron Welty, Founder & Chief Client Officer
Customer experience shouldn’t be siloed to one role or department in your organization. In addition to customer-facing positions and frontline associates, your non-customer facing departments can have just as big an impact on your customer experience. It’s important to get all departments on board to ensure you’re delivering consistent customer experiences at every touchpoint. According to Adobe and Econsultancy’s Digital Intelligence Briefing, organizations with this kind of cross-team approach to customer experience are 20 percent more likely to significantly exceed their top business goals. Here’s how non-customer-facing departments can improve your customer experience.
Behind every great customer experience is a team dedicated to delivering it. Creating a culture focused on the customer starts with bringing the right people into your organization and providing ongoing training as your company hones its customer experience strategy.
From writing job ads to reviewing resumes to interviewing candidates, when hiring for any role within your organization, ensure your recruiters’ hiring standards align with your customer experience strategy. Your human resources team should also implement training programs to keep your associates’ skills sharp and communicate your evolving customer experience goals.
When customers are presented with product offerings that create friction, it’s going to impact their overall customer experience. According to Salesforce, 76 percent of customers expect companies to understand their needs and expectations.
Your product development team likely already conducts focus groups and market research to analyze competitors and keep up with emerging trends. However, it’s equally (if not more) important to also listen to what your current customers are saying about your products and services. What issues are they experiencing? What features don’t they like? What offerings do they wish your products had?
To gather customer feedback, keep up with their evolving requirements, and continue to improve customer experience, product development teams need to leverage voice of the customer (VoC) tools. Product developers should consider sending emailed surveys, using QR codes and register receipts, and conducting telephone-operating surveys to connect with customers at key touchpoints to receive their subjective feedback regarding products and services.
While your marketing department likely doesn’t speak to your customers face-to-face, they do communicate indirectly through advertisements, email, social media, content, videos, and more. It’s important to ensure your marketing message, voice, tone, and materials align with your customer experience. For example, if you’re a luxury automotive brand that sells high-end customers on an exclusive lifestyle, then you probably shouldn’t create a video advertisement around a family road trip or write a blog post about “Sweet Sixteen” gift ideas.
When looking to allocate funds and ramp up departmental offerings, Gartner reports that marketing will soon own the majority of budgets for customer experience efforts. As you continue to improve your customer experience, rely on your marketing team for data on who your customers are. Your marketing associates will be able to analyze your website, mobile, social media, and email analytics to create buyer personas (or customer personas) that can be shared across the organization and provide descriptions as to your customer’s age, gender, location, income, behaviors, and hobbies. This information will be vital as you continue to personalize the customer experience across all touchpoints in their journey.
Having the right technology in place to implement your initiatives will be critical as you continue to place greater emphasis on the customer experience. Yet, PricewaterhouseCoopers found that nearly half of executives believe this is where their companies lack.
Looking ahead, most organizations agree that agile systems like cloud technology will be necessary to improving the customer experience. The cloud will enable your company to test new marketing initiatives, product updates, and other projects in a cost-effective and low-risk manner and quickly meet customer demands. Because SaaS (Software as a Service) applications like customer databases, Big Data, and quality management can all be easily connected to the cloud, you’ll be able to develop a more holistic understanding of your customers, while ensuring your products are delivering the best experiences possible.
In order to implement and maintain this technology, you’ll need an information technology (IT) department that’s dedicated to improving your customer experience. Communicate your customer experience goals and expectations to your IT associates, so they can design your infrastructure around those objectives. This way, for example, if your IT associates need to schedule maintenance, where your website will be down for a few hours, they can work with your teams to identify when your customers are least active and create a message conveying the scheduled maintenance to any customers during that time.
A commitment to customer experience is an investment every company should make. Studies show that by 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator, with one in two organizations looking to redirect their investments to customer experience innovations.
It’s important to show your chief financial officer and financial analysts the return on investment that an exceptional customer experience provides. By creating better experiences, you’ll be able to meet key performance indicators (KPIs) like increased customer retention and a lower churn rate. Not to mention, the majority of customers will pay more for a better customer experience.
As a result, customer experience-driven companies tend to see an average annual revenue growth rate of 15 percent more than other companies, according to Accenture. Investing more in customer loyalty programs, associate recognition programs, artificial intelligence, and the other departments listed above will provide the positive return on investment needed to strengthen your bottom line.
Evaluate Your Customer Experience
IntelliShop has the solutions your organization needs to evaluate your customer experience. Our mystery shopping services are designed to evaluate the customer experience at every touchpoint of the customer journey. We also offer voice of the customer tools, competitor analysis, and compliance audits to provide a holistic view of your customer experience. Our findings are then presented to you in a detailed, actionable InSite™ report to create a real and effective plan to help your business go from good to great. Contact IntelliShop today to request a consultation.