CX Goals

It’s a commonly held belief among many brands—and the customer experience (CX) vendors that partner with them—that all it takes to solve your business challenges and meet CX goals is to turn on as many listening posts as possible. The idea behind this approach is to gather a mountain of ‘big data’ and thus be armed with every possible piece of information about your customers, your employees, other audience segments, and all their preferences.

The truth, though, is that there’s a gap between data and business challenges that just having data isn’t enough to bridge. A lot of CX vendors and programs fail to account for this gap, and thus many of these initiatives fail to make a difference. The secret to making a difference? A principle called designing with the end in mind, and connecting your CX program to quantifiable goals before any listening posts are even activated. I’m going to take you through three such goals that will help your CX program be the best it can be. Those goals are:

  • CX Goal #1: Customer Retention
  • CX Goal #2: Cross-Selling/Upselling
  • CX Goal #3: Customer Acquisition

CX Goal #1: Customer Retention

Given how much more expensive it is to onboard new customers than to keep existing ones, customer retention is a goal that permeates most every department of most every organization. A lot of brands want to use their CX program to retain customers, but they usually end up gathering a mountain of data and then trying to manually carve insights about their existing audience out of it.

It turns out that using this approach means that you’re working backwards. Rather than try to gather actionable insights only after accruing data, it’s far better for brands to dedicate at least part of their program design phase to figuring out which goals they need to achieve for their customer base. Which audience segments do you need to listen to? What channels do they use? Building your program around these questions will end up saving not ‘just’ customers, but a great deal of time and effort on your part.

CX Goal #2: Cross-Selling/Upselling

Once you’ve established which audience segments and channels suit your business goals, you can dive a bit deeper by identifying cross-selling and upselling opportunities within your customer base. This work requires nuance, but you can use the same design-with-the-end-in-mind approach here as with retaining your customers to unveil new revenue sources without having to onboard new customers. 

This goal ends up being something that a lot of brands overlook, but it should be a core driving ethos of your CX program. You should also make room within this goal for cross-shoppers and customers who transacted with you in the past but aren’t currently. With a well-designed CX program, the sky here is the limit.

CX Goal #3: Customer Acquisition

Acquiring new customers can be expensive, but everyone knows it’s a necessary goal to shoot for to sustain growth and market share. You can use the same audience segment and channel identification ethos here as with customer retention; the result will be the ability to find where new business lives and be there for it when your competitors can’t or won’t. In fact, researched properly, you can arm yourself with an idea of what these new customers will want before they themselves know!

Bridging The Gap

These three goals form a solid foundation for any customer experience program, and designing your program around them before activating your listening posts will enable you to actually bridge the gap between your big data and achieving Experience Improvement (XI). Knowing your audience and your marketplace landscape are integral parts of market experience (MX).

To learn more about how market experience shapes CX program goals and how best to get the lay of your marketplace landscape, click here to read my full-length PoV on using a combination of tech and market research to find and grow audience segments. Achieving an MX perspective takes time and effort, but the brands that master it are the masters of their verticals far more often than not.

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CX Program Goals

Has your customer experience (CX) program matured or just begun? Or is it somewhere in the middle? No matter where you’re at, CX program goals need consistent tweaking to be aligned to greater business initiatives. And with the proper alignment, your company can drive better decisions that will positively impact your customers, employees, and bottom line.

In our recent experience forum with Forrester, Goldilocks and the CX Paradigm: Too Little, Too Much, Just Right, we broke down the mystical process of melding a program and business together to work in harmony. It starts with three important steps:

Step #1: Develop a Strategic Plan

Okay, maybe you’ve been thinking, “this program’s been in the game for years, what do I do now?” or “I don’t even know where to start.” Do yourself a favor and take a step back. 

To develop a strategic plan, you need to zoom out so that you can focus on the overarching CX program goals that matter. What’s your company’s vision and how can this program play a key role? When you first identify the big-picture mission, the smaller decisions become easier. And then you can start to set trail marker goals that’ll push you towards the finish line. This will only work, however, if the CX goals you create are practical ones. Goals that are too aspirational will inevitably cause your business to lose organizational efficacy and buy-in. Make sure anything you set your program for is actually achievable. Remember: Quick wins build momentum for major buy-in in the long run.

Step #2: Establish Customer, Employee, and Stakeholder Essentials

Just because developing a strategic plan is step one doesn’t mean you’ll never have to revisit that strategy down the road. Your plan will need to continuously adapt according to several factors. Namely, who are your customers, employees, and stakeholders?

To flesh these core groups out, try analyzing the trends in your market from both global, regional, and local perspectives. What benchmarks does your CX program need to meet to stand against competitors and how will that fit into your company’s business plans? If that’s still not enough information, it’s also useful to look at how your specific industry (in terms of CX maturity) is evolving. Some industries are in the early stages and some have a long-established history. And that history makes a difference. 

Gathering these broader insights into the industry and market will help you to realize realistic goals and give better direction on how to move your CX program forward.

Step #3: Design & Assemble CX Leadership

You can’t have CX program goals without a CX team. There needs to be dedicated leaders consistently working on customer experience as your business initiatives and the business world changes over time.

One might think, “Why don’t I just have a few CX experts figure this out?” And you should let your CX pros do what they do best. But when customer experience exists in a vacuum, it ignores one crucial reality. Customer experience programs should be owned by and should encompass all parts of a business because it informs all parts of the business. Your program needs to be cross-functional to be truly successful and aligned with big-picture business goals. The more experts from various departments you bring in, the greater the perspective and outcome. The ideal CX leadership doesn’t look like a single team—it looks like multiple teams overlapping.

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