CX Principles: Why bother?
Customer Experience (CX) Principles do what they say on the tin – i.e. they are a set of guiding principles which exist to inform the design, delivery, optimisation, and ongoing measurement of your CX. They are customer-led, grounded in the customer’s desired emotional state, and comprise the key ingredients of a great experience with your brand.
‘But why do we need them?’
‘We already have brand values, employee values, digital/ UX design principles in place…’
‘…Aren’t they just another set of principles to remember?’
…These are just some of the valid challenges that we hear from our clients’ stakeholders and employees. Below is a summary of the five key reasons why CX Principles add value to a business and are key to CX success:
1. Make your CX vision a reality
Many businesses have a CX vision – a statement which summarises the business’ aspirations and the experience it wants to deliver to its customers. For example, IKEA’s CX vision is to, ‘create a better everyday life for the many people’ whilst The Ritz-Carlton strives to ‘enliven the senses, instil well-being, and fulfil even the unexpressed wishes and needs of guests.’ However, although they come across as genuine and inspiring, what do either of these statements (and words such as ‘better’ and ‘enliven’) actually mean?
Vision statements alone are open to interpretation and therefore at risk of being nothing more than a nice idea without the necessary substance behind them. CX Principles act as a framework, with underlying attributes, designed to remove ambiguity and clearly define what your CX vision means and how employees should aim to deliver it in practice.
2. Develop a customer-centric culture
When embedded successfully across an organisation, CX Principles unite colleagues from all business functions around one goal – delivering the best possible outcome for the customer. This means that customer will be one of the lenses that a business challenge or proposed change is viewed through, i.e. ‘If we make this change, what impact will this have on the customer and their experience with us? How will we make them feel? And what will they do differently as a result?’ CX Principles therefore support the development of a customer-centric culture by:
- Facilitating customer-led conversations
- Highlighting that everyone, from back office to frontline, has a role to play in (and an impact on) the experience delivered to customers
- Looking at the experience holistically, cutting across business silos and supporting cross-functional working
Organisations who are truly striving to be customer-centric may also take this one step further, including their CX Principles in their employee review and renumeration criteria.
3. Deliver a consistent experience
In today’s omnichannel world, customers are increasingly connected through technology and, in fact, can be interacting with a brand via multiple channels at any one time. And customer expectations are simultaneously evolving – 75% of consumers expect a consistent experience wherever they engage with a brand (irrespective of channel) and 87% of consumers think brands need to do more to provide a seamless experience. CX Principles take account of all relevant channels, with underlying attributes that are generic enough to allow for nuances across channels, yet specific enough to support the design and delivery of a consistent CX. For example, a business may have a principle around ease/ reducing customer effort, with one of the underlying attributes being focused on the customer ‘getting to where they need to be in a maximum of two steps.’ When translated into different channels, this could mean two options on an IVR menu, two clicks on the company’s website, or face-to-face contact with two colleagues in branch/ store.
4. Differentiate your experience
In the age of the customer, a brand is only as good as the experience that it delivers. CX Principles are therefore not only built on what your customers want, need, and expect from your type of business – e.g. a building society or digital retailer – but also what they want and expect from your brand specifically. This means that:
- They will need to be aligned to, and deliver upon, your overarching business strategy, CX strategy, and brand promise (a brand experience)
- They have the potential to include ‘signature actions’ which differentiate your brand from the competition and make your experience both unique and recognisable (a branded experience); for example –
- The DoubleTree cookie, with which guests at DoubleTree Hilton Hotels are greeted at check-in to make them feel special and valued…
- …Or the Starbucks tradition of labelling the customer’s cup with their first name, to make the experience feel personalised
5. Measure your CX performance
Last, but by no means least, CX Principles can add depth to your CX measurement, ensuring that the business remains focused on measuring those ingredients which matter most to its customers. Businesses with established CX Principles are able to understand:
- The impact of each principle on overall metrics (e.g. CSAT/ NPS/ CES), highlighting the components of the experience that they may need to focus on or dial up
- Performance against each of the principles – benchmarking the business’ own performance year-on-year and/or versus competitors (where relevant/ appropriate) – indicating clear areas for improvement
- Which principle is most important at each phase/ stage of the customer journey, providing a clear focus for experience design/ re-design
Want to know more about CX Principles? Look out for our next blog, coming soon, where we will discuss what makes a good set of CX Principles (and why) & how your principles should be developed…