Making an Experience: What Separates Good & Bad Customer Experiences

A CX leader presents to the other leaders in her organization to achieve organizational buy-in for customer experience

Ensuring a great customer experience takes more than simply getting buy-in from the C-suite — the entire organization needs to be aligned on improving the customer experience.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what makes a great customer experience (CX). It’s a question I was responsible for answering during my time as Head of CX at HP. And now it’s something I help leading B2B and high-tech brands get to the bottom of in my current role as a customer experience solutions principal at Medallia.

While there are plenty of helpful resources available about how to improve the customer experience, what companies with the best customer experience do right, and how to launch an effective customer experience program, there are a few key CX best practices that businesses often overlook.

If you want to avoid doing the same, here is how to ensure a great customer experience that I’ve learned during my time at HP and during my day-to-day at Medallia, collaborating with around 100 of the top companies in the world to shape their customer experience strategy and execution.

4 Do’s & Don’ts for Great Customer Experience

1. DO: More than keep track of your customer experience KPIs

2. DON’T: Just share these metrics with your leadership team

While every one of the organizations I work with has some form of a CX program in place, the level of impact these programs manage to achieve varies wildly when it comes to business growth.

Those programs with the least successful customer gains have one thing in common: the customer experience initiatives are centered around tracking metrics and sharing these insights with C-level leaders. Instead of working to drive meaningful change across the organization, these teams are simply focused on keeping score.

Companies with great customer experiences, on the other hand, do more than keep score.

3. DO: Empower employees across the organization to make a difference from the bottom up

Some may argue that monitoring customer experience KPIs and sharing customer experience analytics with leadership are important steps to take to ensure a great customer experience, as keeping executives informed can help them take actions to improve the customer experience. And there’s certainly value in keeping the C-suite in the loop. 

However, if there’s one thing I learned during my tenure as the Head of CX at HP, it’s that great customer experiences happen when employees are empowered to make a difference from the bottom up, with support from the top down.

4. DON’T: Just make improving CX a priority for the CX team — get everyone involved

Lots of organizations claim to be customer-centric, but how many are in reality? While many may say that customers are their highest priority, how many align their whole organization toward the goal of improving customer experience metrics like Net Promoter Score (NPS) and customer satisfaction scores (CSAT)?

These metrics should matter to everyone within the company. After all, boosting NPS and CSAT scores has been shown to lead to higher revenue growth, which in turn can drive stock gains.

That’s why working to improve these scores should be a shared responsibility across teams, and not simply fall to the customer experience team.

Teamwork Leads to a Great Customer Experience

Researchers at the Medallia Institute asked and answered this very question, and what they found from their analysis of the customer experience programs of over 580 brands aligns with my own findings: involving everyone across the organization is essential to delivering a great customer experience.

According to the study, companies with top-performing customer experience programs are:

  • Almost twice as likely to state that their employees have direct access to role-relevant CX information — highlighting the need to truly democratize CX feedback
  • 3.5 times as likely to say that their employees use CX data to support their day-to-day decision-making
  • 2.5 times more likely to clearly communicate how CX relates to the organization’s strategy compared to lower performing counterparts

Next Steps: Get Other Teams Involved

Ready to get other departments involved in improving your company’s customer experience? 

First things first, be sure you understand the specific needs and objectives of each of the departments you want to join in your efforts. If you don’t have direct experience working in any of these functional areas, you may need to do some research and arrange meetings to get a solid understanding of:

  • Why CX is important for each department
  • Each department’s potential to impact the customer experience 
  • Each business unit’s willingness to partner on customer experience initiatives 
  • Each group’s objectives for the year 
  • What can be done from a customer experience perspective to help these departments achieve their goals

Next, create a priority list of teams to collaborate with on improving the customer experience and use the insights you’ve collected to make the case to these teams to get on board.

Now that you’ve got your cross-functional team ready to get involved, you’ll need to develop a cohesive strategy for collectively empowering the masses with specific actions they can take to improve the customer experience relevant to their responsibilities, and then rally the troops to get behind your plan.

Looking for a deeper dive into creating great customer experience for B2B? Read our report, Unleashing Experience to Revolutionize the B2B Industry.