Customer at the center: Why human-centric CX matters now more than ever

The customer experience is in decline and it’s hurting your business. Learn about uncovering siloed structures, automation pitfalls, and data chaos.
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Customers continue to be dissatisfied with digital experiences. The Wall Street Journal reported on the National Customer Rage Survey in March about the increasing issues Americans are experiencing with products and services. There are so many things to think about when we talk about “Customer Experience”, it is easy to misplace goals like “Best in Class Customer Experience.” At times, it just feels like a buzzword that digital products must use.  When you take inputs into account (like usage data, retention metrics or KPIs) without considering the human customer at the center, you put the quality of your CX at risk. Putting the customer at the center of all experiences will allow companies to return to excellently designed customer experiences. Learn what’s at stake when it comes to CX and how to put and keep the focus of your digital product strategy where it belongs: on the wants and needs of your customers.

The customer has spoken: Experience is everything

Customers care about experiences and they are not afraid to report on those experiences online. Social media and review sites are full of issues and complaints about experiences that fell short of customer expectations. And they’re not afraid to deploy “revenge” tactics to make companies pay extra for their bad experiences. 

To avoid negative interactions (and their cost to brand reputation), companies need to put customer problems directly in the center of their digital experience. Don’t solve for the perceived problem, solve for the human involved. Great digital products and services come from a human-centric approach to design that will take your customer’s experience from good to great. As Tallwave CEO, Jeff Pruitt, outlined in a LinkedIn article earlier this year, there are three key considerations for leaders who want to put their customer in the center.

Curate great automation

Automation can relieve the burden of live customer support on teams and lower costs for operations. It seems so simple to line up a workflow that customers experience often and give carefully scripted responses to their questions. When it works, it can save customers time and save companies money. Unfortunately, automation can easily fail. One misplaced automation step or edge case can trap customers in a maddening circular workflow or drive them to give up altogether. 

Automation can and should be used for straightforward and simple scenarios, but there should always be an exit strategy. Don’t let your customers get caught in a loop of wrong answers or assumptions.  Automation creation and testing is a great time to utilize cross-team collaboration. Working with multiple teams illuminates biases so you can eliminate them. Your customer support team probably has lots of examples of workflows that could be built into automation that would be good for customers. Giving a variety of teams an opportunity to test automation will bring a unified approach to automation experiences. 

Unify data collection

Many, many years after the Big Data revolution, we are still trying to figure out how to collect, manage, and utilize the vast amounts of data available to us. In digital products, we can collect and curate data on the usage of our own product as well as many other contributing factors to the customer experience (demographics, device type, traffic, etc). When we leave the marketing data up to the marketers, the usage data to the product team, and the support data to the service team, we miss the opportunity to visualize the entire customer journey through all relevant lenses. Centralizing and using quantitative data as an input in all company decisions, but especially decisions about digital product strategy, is critical for keeping the customer at the center of CX. Quantitative data isn’t the only input— research, field studies, and classic conversations about experiences are still important—but it can drive internal discussions across teams to act in a holistic way to enhance customer experience.

Fix organizational silos

How often has your company reorganized its teams in the last 5 years? Especially for growing companies, re-orgs feel like second nature. Your team may do it to shake things up or to re-align as priorities move or the market changes. While changing your organizational structure can certainly be commonplace, organizational silos shouldn’t be. Don’t let the company changing around you break your focus from cross-team collaboration and overall company strategy toward great customer interactions. 

Even without the fracturing effects of restructuring, preventing siloing between teams that all play a role in CX delivery is important. Product-led companies, in particular, need to align on problem statements across marketing, customer service, product development, and support. If a single team is out of step with the others, customers end up confused or misguided by the experience. When the customer problem statement is forefront in everyone’s mind, the alignment can be spectacular. Every single team across the organization working to solve customer problems with great customer experiences can create really powerful momentum and the collaborative relationships it fosters between teams can help solve automation and data issues that can pop up. When you focus on creating great cross-team dynamics, you will be surprised at what else will start to fall in line.

(Want to know more about AI/SGE trends, data collection and silos, and CX heartbreak? We have more on these topics, too.)

The bottom line: Delight and ignite

Keeping the customer at the center of digital experiences is more vital than ever. It won’t just create loyalty from both customers and staff, it will also change how you consider customer experience design. People learn and change every day and we must stay ahead if we want to succeed in delighting them. Being thoughtful and inclusive about when and where to deploy automation will break down organizational silos and keep customers feeling supported. Unifying data collection and usage across teams will keep alignment on the central issues and ensure teams are talking realistically about what the data is telling you. Keeping the customer at the center of the experience will create opportunities to work across teams, solve problems together and create great experiences that delight your customers and ignite your products. Are you ready to create human-centered solutions and experiences for your customers? We’re ready to roll up our sleeves to delight and ignite. Let’s chat.

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