Here’s What a Great CX Environment Looks Like – and What You Need to Do

Here’s What a Great CX Environment Looks Like – and What You Need to Do

Jeff Green |June 9 2016 6 min


Over the past few weeks, we’ve looked at the customer experience from a few vantage points. We’ve clarified the difference between the customer journey, customer service, and the customer experience (CX). The most important point to note is that CX is inclusive of many parts. And it reflects how customers, patients, and citizens perceive every step, engagement, and outcome.

Because CX is multifaceted, it demands a similarly detailed focus. Companies that do CX well can point to strategies for how they build, track, measure, and innovate every resource, function, and outcome. In many cases, they can also point to greater brand loyalty and profitability. In fact, 85% of people say they are willing to pay up to 25% more than retail price to get great customer service.[1]

The Steps to Building a Great CX

A great CX starts with Customer Journey Discovery. The process lays a foundation for a smooth, cohesive customer experience that seamlessly integrates every channel from start to finish. By undertaking this process, companies improve their control over each step and resource. Mapping out each scenario (e.g., “if customer does X, then Y happens”) allows you to know what should happen at each next step in the journey so you can put the proper resources in place, communicate with everyone in the environment to clarify expectations, and know what information and analytics will be most useful.

As we mentioned in a previous post, business intelligence (BI) has become a powerful resource for organizations seeking to create customer experiences that improve brand loyalty and strengthen the bottom line. The information and analytics generated at each point in the customer journey in turn can inform dynamic decision-making across your organization.

Done well, BI aggregates pertinent data, creates associations between data points, and works in real-time to enable the workforce to make agile decisions at the location level. For example, knowing customer, citizen, or patient volume trends can inform operational decisions that help employees to be more efficient and actually reduce wait times – or at least reduce perceived wait times by giving them the information they need to set accurate expectations.

Who is doing CX well?

In any discussion about a standout CX, a few companies often come to mind – notably Nordstrom and Ritz-Carlton Hotels. Articles are written about how these brands have become synonymous with customer service. The commitment goes to the cultural level and impacts every decision. It translates to a superior (even luxury) experience that customers notice and are willing to pay for.

Yet even in cases like these, CX often can be improved. I recently bought some clothes from Nordstrom online and took them into a store location for the included alterations (which is an element of great customer service). But once at the store, I had to wait in line for someone to understand what I wanted, then wait for a fitting room, then wait for the tailor, and finally wait for the clothes to be altered.

Simply by allowing customers like me to book an appointment via an online scheduling app, Nordstrom could generate a better sense of the alterations volume. Matching that data to their known capacity to handle the traffic, they could have the proper number of tailors ready in each location. By studying how each channel in the customer journey works together, and generating BI at each touch point, Nordstrom could enhance this piece of the CX to be as first-class as the rest of its brand.

The New York DMV is another great example of how a focus on managing the details of the customer journey and customer service can completely transform the CX – and the reputation of the brand. Facing the long held negative perception of government service organizations (particularly for DMV offices), the NYDMV implemented customer journey technology to allow citizens to book appointments and handle many services online. They also worked aggressively within the locations to make the onsite experience timely, transparent, and efficient. 

In this case, the NYDMV focused on managing what they control – their capacity to serve. By taking this to the cultural level, and shaping every piece of a seamless citizen journey, they were able to control operational capacity and equip their employees to provide the attentive, efficient support.

It’s important to remember that CX is in large part a perception effort. Particularly those organizations with high touch service environments (especially in government services) must be prepared to manage issues that people bring to the environment (like not using the resources provided to prepare for a DMV appointment). Yet by taking a detailed approach to building, tracking, measuring, and innovating, they show a real commitment to the customer, to their employees, and to the long-term value of their brand.

[1] Why Companies Should Invest in the Customer Experience, Zendesk Infographic

Jeff Green

Jeff Green

Chief Operating Officer.

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