CustomerExperience, CXStrategy, CXREFRESH

Customer experience is a term used to categorize and describe the experience a customer receives while interacting with a business’s marketing and sales messages.

Ideally, these interactions will make up a “path to conversion”, also called a customer journey, that facilitates the progression of a potential customer from the introduction to the completed sale and beyond.

In fact, for traditional retailers, like Abercrombie & Fitch, Build A Bear, and Nordstrom, customer experience has been successfully employed to differentiate themselves from their competitors and create a brand synonymous with quality.

This emphasis has also impacted the bottom line for these companies. Forrester reports that improving CX can increase profitability by more than 500%, as well as reducing customer acquisition and employee hiring costs.

CX starts with engaging customers with relevant events well before the sale and continues after the sale with advocacy and brand loyalty.

The secret ingredients for a great CX strategy

Define the right style

Your CX strategy changes depending on the predictability of your market, and to every market, there is a different strategic style. The Harvard Business Review, suggests the four strategic styles below. They include:

  • Classical: This style is best for companies that operate in highly predictable industries. Companies utilizing a classical style build a favorable market position by planning well into the future, and remaining with the same strategy for several years. Ask yourself: Can I sustain my customer experience strategy for many years forward?
  • Adaptive: This is best for companies in unpredictable industries. Such companies require a more adaptive strategy that can be easily and rapidly changed. Ask yourself: Is my infrastructure one that can change rapidly? Is the decision-making process quick and easily adaptable?
  • Shaping: This is one step beyond the adaptive style. While it too changes frequently, it focuses beyond the boundaries of the company to define new markets, standards, and business practices. Ask yourself: Do I leave room for market feedback to power rapid decision making?
  • Visionary: This bold and entrepreneurial style can create entirely new markets or visions, and views the environment as a way to be molded to a company’s advantage. But it’s more similar to a classical strategy because companies take calculated steps to reach goals without switching tactics. Ask yourself: What does the future hold for the industry and how can we provide a customer experience that disrupts it?

Create a journey for your strategy

While it doesn’t have to entertain, a good strategy should tell a good story. First, ask yourself what is the correct place to start? Some might start with detailing the goals up front. Some might prefer to opt for a “problem-solution” type of story, which details current challenges and their solutions.

Second, establish a theme by asking what is the main point of your customer experience strategy? Like any good story, your strategy should have a build up to a literary climax. For example, in the “problem-solution” model the climax is reached when presenting suggested solutions and their foreseeable outcomes. Finally, a good strategy brings it all together with a solid conclusion.

Map your customer data

Map out the touchpoints, collect data, and figure out how to optimize the process. We all collect data. However, for your data to effectively fuel decision it should address questions such as:

  • How do customers find you?
  • Why do they choose you over your competition?
  • How easy is it for them to leave reviews?
  • What sort of incentives do they receive to purchase again?
  • How (often) do they receive customer support?

Go for omnichannel

Striving for an omnichannel experience is an important part of an effective CX strategy. Omnichannel businesses provide customers with a seamless integrated shopping experience

When creating a CX strategy, it’s necessary to keep in mind the omnichannel experiences that most customers will traverse.

Focus on the customer

Always maintain a customer-centric approach. Ask yourself: What do my customers want? And what is the best way I can provide it?

Don’t assume that you know what is best for your customers. Spend time talking to them and collecting data. Find out what is important to them, why they choose the products that they do, and what matters to them when they shop. Focus on their needs. It’s all about them.

The ideal customer

If you are losing customers, find out why. Was the customer ready to buy? Was the customer the right fit? But be sure to also study the profiles of your best customers so you can understand what you are doing right.

Using all the information, come up with a description of your ideal customers, and then create a better customer experience with them in mind.

The ideal journey

Using your customer data to address areas that should be improved, map out the ideal customer journey. Ultimately, it should be an experience that allows your customers to easily find what they are looking for, quickly purchase it, and then return to buy more.

Research assets, cost analysis, and KPIs

What will it take to implement your CX strategy? Make a list of the assets you have and will need to deliver the strategy. Consider what sort of impact the strategy will have on resources, but be sure to show the expected return for these expenditures.

Create a timeline

Customer experience management involves lots of touchpoints and its optimization is a cross-departmental undertaking.

Keep in mind, different departments have different goals, so map out a timeline and prioritize. Is it more important to focus on discovery or retention?

Create a reasonable plan, with the ultimate goal of achieving a truly seamless customer experience that includes everything it should.


Reading time: 4 min
Fintech Startup, Fintech Companies, CX Strategy, Customer Experience, CXREFRESH

Fintech is hands-down one of the biggest tech trends of the past decade. Fintech-powered technologies have revolutionized almost every segment of the financial industry – from insurance and investment to payment gateways across continents – with the few that remain expected to taste the power of fintech over the coming years.

The impact of fintech also shows in the numbers. Fintech startups raised around $8 billion in VC funding over the past two quarters in 2018, with Q2 registering a record-setting $5.2 billion in investment.

Still, even with the good numbers and even better prospects out in the field, most facets of fintech are still quite new. Players will have to chart new grounds for CX, largely because of the expanded role of technology as an intermediary between the average fintech company and its customers.

Here are some of the most significant challenges for companies within this space that are looking to improve CX.

For years, regular customers had been subjected to sub par treatment from traditional financial institutions like banks and credit unions. Apart from the invention of the ATM back in the 1960s, banks generally stayed away from user-oriented technologies that would have improved customer experience.

Customers also had to deal with long queues, customer service reps who really didn’t care about the customer, long and tedious load application processes, and other negative experiences that made it a nightmare to walk into a traditional banking hall.

Poor CX is actually one of the main reasons why many fintech startups have thrived in recent years. For many of them, CX is a standard service offering, thanks to the incorporation of technologies such as artificial intelligence and mobile/internet banking in many banking processes.

However, these startups still have their work cut out for them. With traditional banks having destroyed CX in the financial and banking industry over a long period, fintech startups will need to redefine CX and focus on revamping user experience.

  • Information privacy and data security

Staying safe on the internet is always an issue when sensitive information and data is transmitted via networked connections. 2018 saw some of the biggest security breaches in recent years, with the Equifax and Yahoo! data breaches going down as the biggest hacks of all time. Plus, with more people and things becoming connected to the internet, some of these hacks won’t need to be sophisticated and may even begin from your home Wi-Fi connection, as this ForRent infographic illustrates.

With fintech, nearly every technological innovation revolves around internet connectivity. While digital banking, blockchain technologies, cryptocurrencies, and other facets of fintech continue to revolutionize CX, they also increase risk levels associated with confidentiality and security of customer data.

Going forward, the biggest challenge here for fintech startups will be to improve the safety and security of data during online transactions.

  • Ease of access and usability

No one wants to spend hours setting up an online account when they could have spent a few minutes opening an account at a local bank. One 2017 study found that convenience, swift registration, and overall usefulness and usability of the UI were the most important aspects of mobile payment services.

Even though ease of use and accessibility remain the biggest selling points for fintech startups, a good number of customers often get lost during navigation, which creates barriers for widespread adoption.

For fintech companies, every platform should be user-friendly, with simple UIs on mobile apps and websites to help improve the user’s experience.

  • Providing custom experiences for the growing millennial population.

In 2017, millennials surpassed Generation X to become the largest portion of the American labor force. This group also represents over $200 billion in annual purchasing power, making them a significant demographic for fintech companies. Most of the people in this group grew up online, with most of them ditching traditional banking systems for financial companies that are riding the fintech wave.

With so much at stake, fintech companies will need to design products and service offerings that speak to this generation. Millennials are hungrier for custom and more personalized experiences compared with other generations.

To keep up, this requires fintech startups to rethink traditional ways of improving CX.

Fintech Companies          Biggest CX Obstacles        CX Strategy             Customer Experience        Fintech Startups       Traditional CX

Reading time: 3 min
CXREFRESH, Customer Experience, Customer Expectation

Customer expectations are “changing”. Customers expect the same customer experience “quality” levels  as they “get” them from the best-in-class, regardless of industry. Higher customer expectations means upping the ante to meet them. That’s what everyone tells you – and it’s true.

Nevertheless, it’s key to not lose ourselves in providing “wow” customer experiences. The end-to-end customer experience requires more than that. Furthermore, customers don’t (always) want that “exceptional” experience or service.

The top five “traits” of the ideal customer experience:

  • Fast response to enquiries or complaints (essentially, the stuff people want to be answered most): 47%.
  • A simple purchasing process (note that the research was sponsored and has a focus that is somewhat consumer-oriented and shopping-oriented): 47%.
  • The ability to track orders in real time (in other industries and situations we see the same – insurance customers, for instance, want to be able to track claims process progress online): 34%.
  • Clarity and simplicity of product information across channels (clarity and simplicity always matters in a customer context and a mindset of ubiquitous optimization): 25%.
  • The ability to interact with the company over multiple channels (you knew that and of course it’s not just online): 22%.

Lessons for digital customer experience optimization

Consistent customer experiences, fast response times, accuracy of information, choice and, last but not least, simplicity. That’s what matters and, again, it isn’t new at all. In fact, the findings in this research completely correspond with our growing attention to provide frictionless experiences and remove hurdles, one of the topics that rule the debates in, among others, optimization, customer experience and contact centers.


Reading time: 1 min
Customer Experience, CXREFRESH, CX,

Many current business models are being disrupted. Retailers that are just providing shelf space will soon be out of business. Amazon is continually disrupting existing business models by combining a customer experience based on utility, with convenience at the center of their strategy.

The multi-channel buying habits of consumers demanding a seamless experience pose complex challenges businesses.

Businesses that are thriving have figured out ways to design experiences that attract and retain customers by offering a personal experience that is relevant and personal. Sometimes entirely new business models are required, other times altering the existing model is all that is required.

Creating new products is a daunting task. One study has identified what they term a “decay curve”. According to this study, it takes over fifty ideas to create a new product. By ideas they mean an idea that has been screened, analyzed, developed, tested and marketed.

The Customer Experience Challenge

The customer landscape is rapidly changing, it’s being transformed by a confluence of technology, the internet, and new consumer social behaviors. Digital transformations in unrelated industries play a role in shaping consumer expectations in all industries. For example, when Starbuck’s created their mobile app that enabled increasingly elaborate purchasing interactions, other industries began to look for mobile solutions.

The availability of smart devices provided unprecedented mobile computing power for consumers. As the adoption rate of these devices has soared, so have expectations for a personal, seamless mobile experience.

In the new consumer landscape disruption isn’t a destination or an event, it’s a journey. Companies that want to survive recognize that the reality of the new competitive ecosystem requires new rules of engagement. This shift in mindset starts at the top, it’s a critical success factor.

Consider some of these statistics

According to McKinsey over half of all customer interactions happen during a multi-channel journey.

Today’s internet consumers want their online questions to be addressed promptly; 42% expect a response within one hour.  Source Gigya

45% of consumers prefer a cross-channel combination of online, mobile, and in-store shopping. Source Gigya

68% of consumers agree that shopping today is less about brands or products themselves and more about what they are feeling and needing. Source Gigya

74% of modern consumers rely on social networks to guide purchase decisions. Source Gigya

86% of buyers will pay more for a better customer experience, but only 1% of customers feel that vendors consistently meet their expectations. Source CEI.

Various studies detail levels of customer frustration with the friction they encounter in many organizations. Having to wait on hold for lengthy periods of time, repeat the same information to multiple employees across multiple channels, and failing to get their questions answered in a timely fashion are just a few examples of friction.


The Customer Experience Solution

McKinsey’s research dispels the traditional buying funnel. In the new landscape, consumers operate differently. The new buying process is more like a journey than a linear trek through buying stages. To be relevant firms must recognize that their customer’s experience journeys vary depending on the product or service they are offering. These journeys are continually evolving with the rapid pace of digital innovation.

A few journey examples might be:

  • Onboarding
  • Making a payment
  • Resolving a customer service issue
  • Billing
  • Reordering
  • Checking product or service availability

Brands that are closing the customer experience gap are finding ways to remove friction by transforming the customer experience from moments to journeys. Even more critical, is evaluating the efficacy and experience of each journey from the customer’s perspective.

Most companies are finding ways to get their employees in close proximity to their customers so they can observe and interact with customers to gain an empathetic perspective. In an ecosystem, solutions may be found outside your existing buying process.

Customers expect a seamless multi-channel experience that gives them access whenever wherever and however they choose to connect. When in the midst of a journey, they expect to continue with the process from their last contact point.

50% of all customer interactions happen during a multi-event, multi-channel journey.

Embracing the Customer Experience Challenge.

Removing friction requires agility, collaboration, engaged stakeholders and a culture that nurtures continuous learning and an accurate understanding of what matters most to the consumer. Consumers and brands now function in a world of constant innovation; all are subjected to a barrage of multi-channel noise each and every day.

Here are five factors that can contribute to a satisfying and differentiating customer experience.


An innovative culture is the fertile soil of new ideas and innovation. It creates the space where the mission, vision, and values of the firm align with the behaviors of the employees. At its best, it’s a community of all stakeholders working toward a common goal.

Are you part of creating a culture that values the customer experience? When values are aligned employees are motivated to serve the customer and each other. Is everyone able to articulate the mission and values?  Are new employees screened for behavioral alignment with the values of the organization?


Feedback is the fuel of innovation. Giving and receiving feedback is a skill that must be developed and honed. Our biology works against us. The brain doesn’t always appreciate feedback, especially the developmental kind.

The folks at IDEO, a design thinking firm, are careful about language. Because they must provide a lot of feedback they have adopted language that encourages candid feedback. When critiquing they use two types of statements:

“ I like …….”

“I wish….”

I like is obvious, I wish is a way to communicate improvement feedback without any judgmental baggage. Personally, I like these statements and I’ve found them quite useful.

Social media has created the opportunity for a dialogue with customers and associates. Emerging tools offer marketers a means by which they can monitor and even enter conversations. However, it’s important to understand the appropriate etiquette to avoid missteps and maximize the benefit.

Asking customers, prospects, and employees open-ended questions is a very useful practice. We are often blinded by our own knowledge and assumptions. Allowing, even encouraging candid feedback is a helpful way to identify opportunities and challenges.

Good listening practices can serve as an early warning detection system allowing companies to respond before potential problems become serious ones.


Consumers are frustrated by an inability to get:

  • answers to their questions
  • resolution to their problems

According to an American Express survey, 78% of consumers have bailed on a transaction or not made the intended purchase because of a poor service experience.

More importantly, when companies engage and respond to customer service requests over social media, those customers spend 20% to 40% more money with the company than other customers do.

Many companies spend a great deal of time and effort defining the customer’s journey. They realize that designing an engaging customer experience can offer many benefits and ultimately have a positive impact on the bottom line.

Try asking your associates a few open-ended questions about their experience with each other, customers, supplies. Ask them about suggestions for improving their lives.


Customers expect quick answers and solutions; this is essential if you are committed to listening socially. Even if you aren’t committed to social listening customers are increasingly presuming you will be listening or they’ll switch to a competitor.

Associates need the tools, training, and trust to quickly handle and resolve customer questions and complaints without transferring consumers from one department to the other. Ask frontline stakeholders to identify gaps and barriers that create friction and slow down responses. Are these gaps created internally? Externally? Experiment with design changes that offer faster solutions. In some cases, self-service options may be an effective alternative.

Speed is often relative, so it’s important to appropriately set and manage expectations. Make use of the feedback loop to develop an appropriate understanding of how your customer defines speed.


If companies are going to transform the customer experience from moments to journeys, then they’ll have to be willing to continuously learn and make adjustments. This is a new paradigm for many because it may feel more like a laboratory than a business. Successful companies will always be innovating, trying new ideas and methods, keeping what works and dropping what doesn’t.


Reading time: 6 min
CXREFRESH, Customer Experience, Global CX

Today’s rapid pace of disruptive change is shaping customer expectations and, therefore, Customer Experience (CX) in ways that threaten to leave less agile brands behind.

What’s more, customers are judging brands against their most recent stellar customer experience. Your CX must be on par or your business future could be in question.

Customer Experience is at the top of every business’ priority list. It concerns the CEO to the CMO and even the CIO. Emerging technology, changing consumer needs and effective use of customer data are critical elements to ensuring your Customer Experience Strategy is as powerful as possible in a competitive and digital landscape.”

In this article, we’ll look Top disruptions that have contributed to and are shaping Customer Experience and Customer Experience strategies today.

The increased pace of change.

Technological advances are unfolding at a vastly accelerated pace and it seems that not a day goes by without the next groundbreaking development emerging. What was groundbreaking yesterday is yesterday’s news today – I am being facetious but the reality is that the half-life of technology seems to shrink every year.

The challenge in all this from a Customer Experience perspective is to identify what is useful, relevant and desirable. The big wins being realized from this disruption happen when technology is humanized and made relevant to real people.

Abundance of customer data.

These days, brands are collecting vast amounts of data about customers, their interactions, buying preferences and behaviors, and more. Essentially, data can be collected in three ways:

  • By asking customers for it directly (via profiles and preferences).
  • By indirectly tracking customers (via interaction analytics).
  • By connecting other data sources to our own (via third-party data providers).

Data collection on this scale, and the manipulation of the data collected represents a huge opportunity for the savvy disruptors to gain a competitive advantage and secure big wins over the competition.

Bear in mind, however, that in order to get the most from big data’s potential, it’s necessary to “translate” the information into actionable strategies that companies can use to grow sales, increase profitability and enhance Customer Experience. “Actionable” is key. If your translation is too complicated or doesn’t clearly demonstrate value, there’s a real danger it will be ignored.

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML)

Most applications of AI for business lie in the AI subset of machine learning. Programmers have designed clever algorithms that can “learn” from previous results and shape outputs based on that accumulated knowledge. These capabilities are being leveraged today to detect patterns in customer data, behavior and needs which, in turn, enable enhanced customer experiences through hyper-personalization and responsive customer service.

However, AI still has a long way to go and a massive amount of disruption is still lurking somewhere down the road. If you consider machine learning as functioning on a single layer between input and output, deep learning (the future) will function across complicated cross-functional networks, multiplying its output capabilities exponentially.


While you might consider video as being yesterday’s disruptor, it deserves a special mention because not only has it turned the way we consume information on its head, there are serious downsides to not engaging with video.

A good example is how video relates to your business website – if you’re looking to get found in organic search that is. One of the metrics Google uses to determine the relevance of your website or web page is “dwell time”, which is how long a user spends on page. Video greatly enhances this metric.

Brands today can leverage video in old and new ways to enhance customer experience – old, but still good, as in step-by-step instructions on how to use your product or new as in a virtual reality video that allows you to test drive a car when you can’t go to a dealership.

The seamless omni-channel experience.

Regardless of whether you use Salesforce to manage customer support, SAP to manage orders and Riversand (Product Information Management or PIM software) to manage product information, your customers expect a seamless and unified customer experience that doesn’t require them to hop across systems/applications to do what they need to do. This implies integration across your enterprise.

This holds true regardless of how your customers choose to interact with your brand, be it via the web, a mobile device, social media, IVR, a call center, chat or any other available channel. A seamless omni-channel experience, with a strong and relevant brand presence at each stage of your customer’s journey, is key to delivering a superior customer experience, encouraging brand loyalty and maximizing customer satisfaction.

Seamless CX Spells Opportunity For Your Business.

Intelligent use of customer data and integrated digital experience platforms represent a serious opportunity for savvy businesses to outperform their competitors. A seamless omnichannel experience, with a strong and relevant brand presence at each stage of your customer’s journey, with the right message and functionality, delivers a superior and compelling CX that builds trust and relationships.

The mantra of modern enterprise is “disrupt to deliver more value” — use it to your advantage for CX.


Reading time: 4 min
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