Every member of your team, from logistics manager to last-mile driver, has a role to play in making the end-customer happy.
But that process incorporates so much more than just the flow of goods. Supply chain management feeds, directly and indirectly, into a company’s holistic customer experience (CX).
How do you ‘design’ a customer experience?
The customer experience is the emotional sum of every engagement and touchpoint a customer has with a brand. This might be through a single transaction or a lifetime of experiences.
CX design is the art of understanding these interactions – the job each person and each technology plays – and making sure all those individual elements are perfected and choreographed to create one seamless journey for the customer.
If that sounds like a lot, it’s because it is. CX emerges from the quality of every interaction between a company and its customers: the tone of voice used in your communications; those timely push notifications informing a customer they are your next stop; that note of recognition in your customer support’s voice as they deal with a returning customer.
CX design is the art of making sure all those individual touchpoints are not only perfected, but curated to form a cohesive whole.
Who should own CX design?
Delivering a memorable customer experience is a team effort. Business, technology, and product leaders must work together with logistics departments to find out how the architecture of your operations shapes each interaction.
Leaders need to take responsibility for making the right investments in suitable technologies that let you turn the right data into the best products. When you lay this foundation, you empower your teams to play their part in delivering a differentiated CX.
How can companies implement CX design principles?
A CX transformation requires you to look down on all the various aspects of your business like a circuit board. How could one sequence of events affect the next? How are they wired up to the data and technology that goes on behind the scenes?
An internal interaction may not directly touch a customer, but ask yourself, is there something about this interaction that would be valuable for a customer to know?
When taking this macro view, try to think of how each interaction in your organisation helps create a customer experience that is:
One size does not fit all. Customers need to be presented with relevant, timely and useful information. Communications must wire into their recipients’ most recent transactions and their past experience with your brand.
When creating new demand, effective segmentation is key. You need to be composing your messaging using well-developed and researched audience personas. You then have to ensure that this segmentation is properly reflected in your customer relationship management (CRM) so that messaging can be targeted and deliberately focused on creating the right type of actions.
Only when we consider every channel can we build a complete picture of the customer experience. And only by understanding the role of business and customer data can we effectively connect all the touchpoints that add up to great CX.
Every single interaction should be considered like a small piece of this bigger picture. Each piece must be shaped perfectly to fit its adjacent pieces, providing continuity regardless of the direction the customer journey goes.
From a content perspective, both the visual and verbal elements of your communications all need to feel like they are coming from a single brand, wherever they're seen. Your tone of voice, your messaging, typefaces, logos, colours – they have to be unwavering across all public-facing materials.
Everyone likes to know where their item is, and opaqueness in your supply chain only gets customers’ hackles up. If you think you’re spotting a theme, you’re not mistaken. Surfacing relevant and timely information is critical to delivering the CX your customers deserve.
For a logistics company, that will require communicating when an item is delayed, missing or out of stock – and when this issue is likely to be resolved. People’s tolerance for disappointment is much higher when it’s coming from a company that’s won their trust by being above board (and apologetic).
So, designing for ‘unhappy paths’ is just as important as ‘happy’ ones. Always ensure you’re letting people know if you’re going to let them down, and what you’ll do to make it up to them.
Even if you offer the best customer experience in the business, you can’t rest on your laurels. You need a mechanism to collect, and act on, a range of data points.
Much of this will concern operational KPIs that you’re probably already measuring. But collecting customer feedback is just as important.
By soliciting feedback from your customers through surveys, ratings and follow-up emails, you’ll grow valuable stores of rich data while also letting customers know they’re being listened to.
It may sometimes be hard to read, but it’s always useful to know what people are saying about you. There’s wisdom in crowds, so keep an eye on Google reviews, tweets, Instagram posts; anything out there that mentions you. And don’t forget, where you can, always respond to customers voicing their concerns on these public platforms. There’s nothing worse than the deadly silence some customers are greeted with on these sites!
Making CX happen
If it touches a customer, it’s already shaping their opinion of you. There are fewer big turn-offs than inaccessible helplines, slow to load and out-of-date information on websites, stockouts, and delayed deliveries. This is just as true for supply chain and logistics businesses that sell to other businesses as it is for retailers who sell directly to consumers.
And analysts are starting to whisper that customer experience has already displaced product and price as the top priority in the consumer decision process. Given that 65% of consumers claim that their expectations for customer service have increased in the last few years, that might well be true.
Delivering world-class CX isn’t an overnight task. It will require a mindset shift and new practices to be embedded across your operations. No matter how well intentioned everyone is, a business that relies on legacy technology and outdated modes of communication will always have an uphill struggle. Modernising systems is often just the first step in a CX transformation journey.
But if you’re looking for somewhere to start, implementing a self-service portal will set you on the right path. Download our new whitepaper to find out how.
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