Customers have increasingly high expectations regarding customer experience (CX) because the corporate giants whose products and services they use daily set the bar incredibly high
Whether a business is consumer-facing or B2B, customers expect seamless convenience and personalized attention that immerses them in the brand experience — no matter where they are.
Thankfully, this level of CX is no longer just the domain of giants. Sonja Kotrotsos, Head of GTM and Alliances in Europe for Contentstack says the technology that makes this kind of customer experience possible is becoming more mainstream and affordable, making immersive CX achievable.
What is immersive CX?
At its most basic, immersive CX facilitates a seamless customer experience. The customer becomes fully immersed in the purchase journey, effortlessly navigating from one channel to the next without interrupting their day-to-day activities to do so.
On the more advanced side of the immersive CX spectrum, technologies such as augmented reality overlays and virtual reality headsets facilitate experiences that literally immerse the customer.
Immersive customer experiences start with a roadmap
A CX experience roadmap is simply a plan outlining the measures necessary to improve customer experience and the timeline on they are planned. Any CX roadmap should address both short-term and long-term goals for establishing immersive CX.
Defining clear goals and timelines makes it easier to gradually roll out immersive CX initiatives, helping businesses to capitalise on “low-hanging fruit” and meet long-term goals. Chopping up the plan into smaller parts makes it much more manageable.
Additionally, having a CX roadmap makes it easier to set goals and measure the CX program’s success or ROI. Setting up a customer satisfaction score (CSS) or net promoter score (NPS) benchmark helps to tie CX efforts to the bottom line.
On the mindset front, a CX roadmap will help an organisation remain committed to staying ahead of the curve by continually innovating and iterating the CX program. Customer expectations will continue to evolve, and so should a business if it wishes to remain competitive.
CMS for immersive CX
At the outset it is worth remembering that a content management system (CMS) plays a massive role in delivering exceptional customer experiences. It’s instrumental in aligning the data, processes, and people needed to create and deploy consistently immersive experiences.
A headless CMS uses application programming interface (API) technology so content can be created and stored separately from its presentation. This separation enables content and marketing to create, optimize, and distribute content while designers and developers are building the best front-end display for that content on every channel and device.
With this in place, there are then five pillars to creating a successful CX roadmap:
1. Customer intelligence
Collecting customer feedback can be as simple as asking for ratings, making it easy to leave comments, and incentivizing survey completion. However, if possible, focus groups that can discuss the customer experience with actual customers are ideal.
Businesses need to facilitate the discussion but not steer responses. The objective is real, organic customer thoughts on what works and what doesn’t. This needs to encompass the entire experience of a brand to gain a complete insight into the customer journey.
If a business already has analytics in place, this data can speak on the customers’ behalf to measure which aspects of existing CX initiatives are successful and which ones need to be adjusted.
2. Customer understanding
An analysis of the data collected should enable a business to better understand customers’ current pain points, where they’re happy with a business, and where there is room to improve.
Customers’ impressions of a brand are very different from the expectations of the business. This might not be a bad thing, but a business must decide to either take steps to alter this perception or lean into it. The fundamental goal in this step is to identify ways to improve the customer experience. This may mean doubling down on some aspects of a CX approach and overhauling others completely.
3. Customer journeys
All of the above information should be compiled into a fully mapped out customer journey. The objective is understand how each of the most valuable customer segments interacts with a brand.
Questions to consider include:
How did each customer discover the brand?
What was their experience at each touchpoint?
Which touchpoint convinced them to choose a given business above others?
How did they experience the purchase process?
Would they repeat the process?
At each leg of the customer journey, mark the pain points and CX features that customers commend, and identify opportunities to implement immersive CX upgrades.
4. Customer experience goals
Once the areas of CX improvement are identified, a business must commit to a timeline.
This is determined by impact and feasibility: and this can be assessed by a few quick questions:
Which CX improvements can be implemented right away?
Which CX initiatives does the business view as the most urgent?
Which changes will have the most immediate impact on the customer experience delivery?
What resources, infrastructure, or expertise are required to roll out the more critical items?
Which actions are dependent on other activities or infrastructure being in place first?
This creates a plan of action with all the relevant stakeholders. As always, businesses should focus on easy wins or “low-hanging fruit” first and allow plenty of time to work towards more complex goals.
5. Customer milestones
Setting milestones and benchmarks are perhaps the most crucial part of the whole immersive CX roadmap process. They are the very definition of if a given CX initiative is yielding any positive results.
Benchmarks such as a desired NPS or CSS score should be set and a business then needs to decide how regularly it will review these metrics to assess if a given CX strategy is working. These milestones should be included in the roadmap and used to take stock and adapt the strategy periodically if necessary.