Customer experience (CX) is — for better or worse — defined by extremes. Everyone remembers a stellar interaction or a frustrating exchange, but few people take notice when something goes exactly as they expect it to. And unfortunately, it’s easier to deliver a lackluster experience than an above-average one. Startups and growing businesses especially need to work hard to prioritize CX and create excellent interactions early and often.
Yet due to lack of resources and time, many businesses inadvertently prioritize CX second to their product. They see the path to a positive experience through the lens of the product itself, but the customer experience is a multifaceted one. In reality, product quality and customer service excellence should be equally prioritized.
Recognize the power and potential of CX
CX encompasses every interaction, emotion, and perception a customer has throughout their journey with a company. By understanding and optimizing these touch points, emerging brands can shape positive customer experiences that contribute to their brand reputation and differentiation.
Numerous case studies and resources — like this one from tech giants IBM and Adobe — have shown businesses that prioritize CX tend to be more successful and experience higher revenue growth. By placing the customer at the center of their operations, these companies create tailored experiences that resonate with their target audience. They invest in understanding customer needs, preferences, and pain points, allowing them to deliver solutions that truly exceed customer expectations.
Recognizing the power of CX starts by defining those experiential touch points. Each opportunity for interaction contributes to the overall experience — and can influence customer perceptions of the brand. Through a CX focus, businesses can cultivate customer loyalty and advocacy, transforming satisfied customers into enthusiastic brand ambassadors.
Moreover, startups and other businesses that actively respond to product reviews, address customer inquiries promptly, and engage in omnichannel interactions demonstrate their commitment to providing exceptional CX. These efforts not only enhance brand reputation, but also showcase a willingness to listen, adapt, and continually improve, which resonates with customers to drive business success.
Keys to cultivating phenomenal CX
What does it take to put CX on the same priority level as product development? Understanding the role of CX in business success is only the beginning. It requires concerted follow-through with a focus on:
- Cultivating a customer-centric culture. By prioritizing customer needs and feedback, startups and mid-size businesses can align their operations to deliver exceptional experiences. Encouraging employees to empathize with customers and providing avenues for regular customer interaction can help shape a culture that values and understands the importance of CX.
- Establishing clear brand values. Startups and mid-size businesses should define their brand values and align them with CX goals. By integrating these values into every customer touch point — from marketing communications to product design and customer support — startups and mid-size businesses create a coherent and memorable brand experience that resonates with customers.
- Communicating effectively and listening actively. Provide multiple channels for customer feedback and actively listen to their concerns, suggestions, and preferences. By acknowledging and acting upon customer feedback, startups and mid-size businesses demonstrate a commitment to continuous improvement that meets (and exceeds) customer expectations.
In addition to these foundational commitments, startups and mid-size businesses need to realize that with growth come new CX challenges and considerations. It’s important to adapt a CX approach at scale by:
- Leveraging technology for personalization. By implementing personalized recommendations, targeted marketing campaigns, and intelligent chatbots, companies can provide individualized interactions that enhance customer satisfaction (and loyalty).
- Seamlessly integrating across touch points. To provide a unified CX, startups and mid-size businesses need to deliver a seamless, frictionless experience across channels. CX should be consistent across a website, mobile app, social media, in-person interactions, or any other channel.
- Harnessing analytics for insight. A data-driven approach enables startups and mid-size businesses to optimize CX strategies and identify areas for improvement. Continuously monitoring and adapting can enhance CX and enable these businesses to meet changing customer expectations at scale.
The key takeaway is this: CX needs to be a core value and part of the company’s overall growth strategy. Businesses can’t afford to see it diluted across channels or overlook it as a crucial pillar of the brand’s evolution.
The role of BPO in CX
Making CX a central point of focus isn’t always easy for product-driven startups and mid-size businesses. Business process outsourcing (BPO) offers an opportunity to make it a priority.
Outsourcing CX functions to a BPO provider allows startups and mid-size businesses to hand off crucial touch points to a provider whose sole role is to exceed customer expectations. By entrusting customer support to a BPO, businesses also benefit from the provider’s well-established processes, skilled agents, and advanced technologies geared toward enabling a seamless experience. This frees up the internal team to concentrate on product and strategy, without compromising CX.
In an omnichannel world, a BPO can meet customers on their preferred communication channels without compromising quality of service. Equipped with tools to track each interaction — even if customers switch channels — BPO provides opportunity to create consistent and cohesive CX regardless of the communication platform.
CX is more than a function — it’s a key differentiator and a long-term business driver, if it is given the attention required.