CX Program Strategy

Customer Experience Program Strategy

Implementing a cohesive customer experience program strategy boosts customer loyalty and ROI, because putting the customer at the core of your business creates immense opportunity for growth and development.

Learn directly from industry pros how to execute an effective CX strategy, with the necessary accountability and governance in place to make customer-focused changes. These helpful skills, tools, tips, and resources are key to planning a customer-centric transformation that takes customer engagement to the next level.

Learn From West Elm’s Missed Opportunity

One of the most critical findings from our 100+ interviews with CX pros over the course of 2020 was the importance of selecting one emotional outcome for your experience and using it as a design target. This is because emotions are the heart of your customer experience.

But for some reason, few programs deliberately measure and manage their emotional outcomes, even though emotions strongly outweigh effectiveness and ease. (This holds true even for B2B, as Jen Zamora of Dow so eloquently demonstrated in my interview with her.)

This omission was particularly glaring for me during my recent experience with West Elm, Williams-Sonoma’s chain of high-end, artfully designed furniture stores.

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The Truth About Moments of Truth

After reviewing The Journey Mapping Playbook earlier this month, it struck me that one of the biggest misses in the book (outside of the flawed methodology) was its failure to touch on Moments of Truth. Those are the key interactions that have a disproportionate impact on a customer’s overall perception of the journey.

Don’t make the mistake of ignoring this critical data point! Moments of Truth are where you determine customer outcomes, so there’s really no point doing journey mapping if you don’t focus on revealing and addressing them.

But too many companies just don’t understand the opportunity they present.

Some take a watered-down approach. Some define them overly expansively as “any opportunity a customer (or potential customer) has to form an impression about a company, brand, product, or service.” Read more

Fitbit Proves Rich Emotions Can Overcome Poor Quality

Customer experience has three components: Effectiveness, Ease, and Emotion. But too often, CX programs focus only on the first two. Why? Because they’re simpler to address.

Emotion is more elusive and complicated. But it’s where true loyalty is earned (as opposed to just preventing disloyalty).

That message hit home to me when my Fitbit died…again!

I was an early adopter and have owned several Fitbits over the past decade or so. Almost all of them managed to fail shortly after the warranty expired. (Show of hands – who doesn’t love that?)

When the unit I was using  just over a year ago died, I decided to upgrade to the Versa 2 Smartwatch, hoping that the higher-end product would last a bit longer. No such luck.

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Fun Read/Flawed Approach (Book Review)

As an avid reader dedicated to continually expanding my professional knowledge, I’m always interested in new books relating to customer experience. This is doubly true for the topic of journey mapping, since I contributed to one of the early books on the subject (Mapping Experiences by Jim Kalbach) and co-wrote a comprehensive guidebook (How Hard Is It to Be Your Customer? Using Journey Mapping to Drive Customer-Focused Change).

So I eagerly dug into Jerry Angrave’s new book, The Journey Mapping Playbook. Here’s what I found: it’s easy to read, is full of great information about setting up a journey mapping workshop…and it provides all the tips and tools you need to create really unfortunate outcomes for your business. Read more

young man with boombox and sunglasses

Learn Everything You Need to Know About CX From ’80s Music

I admit it – I’m a child of the ‘80s. We’ve got 150+ stations on our satellite radio, but it stays tuned to 80s on 8 or First Wave, except for those rare occasions when I stray to the ‘70s or ’90s stations. (Much to the chagrin of my wife, who has broader musical tastes. But marriage is compromise, right?  

During the pandemic, I’ve been listening even more, and it occurred to me one day recently that the music of that era informed my views about customer experience early on. 

Obviouslythe ‘80s were the decade of (the) Journey. Their sage advice taught me how important it is to put customers in control and deliver an experience Any Way You Want It  Read more

bad cx data

2021: The Year of CX Data

Given the year we’ve had, we need to talk hygiene. Because I suspect you’ve been neglecting it.

Not because of the sweatpants you wore in that Zoom meeting, or that you don’t always sing “Happy Birthday” twice when you wash your hands.

I mean digital hygiene, and the need to clean your data.

Each of the past five years have been hailed as the “The Year of Digital Transformation.” We thought we were working hard to digitize our experiences.

Then the pandemic hit. And we realized we weren’t doing nearly enough. New digital capabilities came up almost overnight, as agile teams worked to pivot toward emerging customer needs. E-commerce sites, digital notifications, ship from store – all capabilities that were just “in the works” a year ago were deployed quickly. Read more

What Can the CX Tech Stack Do for You?

a pyramid showing the elements of the cx tech stackCX is all about driving customer-focused change in your organization, with initiatives that drive top or bottom-line value.

And in today’s world, 10 out of 10 of those initiatives will involve technology in some way. (Actually, given all the ways we’ve gone virtual due to COVID-19, make that 12 out of 10!)

At Heart of the Customer, we know from our research that Change Makers – the most effective programs in the CX space – rely heavily on the tools in the CX Tech Stack to accelerate journey improvements and business impact, and boost the value they bring to their customers.

The good news? These tools are all readily available on the marketplace, so you can (and should) be using them, too. The CX Tech Stack is key to making a difference…and perhaps even more importantly, proving the difference you are making. Read more

An Open Letter to My Friends in IT

Dear IT colleagues,

This is our time to shine. As the world changes rapidly, your company is looking to you to deliver the digital transformations necessary to support a new reality for your customers. Those digital adoption goals set for 2025? They’ve been moved up to 2021. With urgency.

This year has shown us that a successful customer experience requires technology. There simply aren’t any projects to deliver an improved journey that can afford to overlook IT. Heart of the Customer’s research this year has also shown this to be a key differentiator for market leaders, who utilize more kinds of technology than their peers. Read more

Unmask the Power of Social Proof

At Heart of the Customer, we recently had a software client who wasn’t winning as many sales as they expected. We mapped their customers’ pre-sales journey and found that the company was putting out their best practices, but prospective clients were ignoring them.

They just didn’t consider our client a trusted authority.

It’s common problem among CX pros. You see customers making “bad” choices, such as not making the best use of your company’s products or services. So you create communications to share the recommended approach, but you just can’t get customers to change their behavior.

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An Effortless Experience Isn’t Enough

In CX, we all focus on making the experience easier on our customers. (We even made it the title of our book.) But building loyalty isn’t as simple as removing friction.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s definitely worthwhile to simplify your customer experience. Friction is a key driver behind loyalty destruction, and your organization will benefit from streamlining processes and making it easier for customers to resolve issues.

But it won’t build fans who will go out of their way to order from you. That takes something bigger. Read more