What Makes a 'Good' CX?
The biggest and most prominent food and drink companies have bigger budgets to improve CX, which tricks other, smaller companies into believing that they have the monopoly of customers.
But when we think about the recent changes in the commercial world, we see a different picture emerging. New factors include:
· Our 'always-on' culture has led to increased customer needs and expectations
· New, disruptive technology is making it easier for businesses to connect with customers
· The ease with which customers can now access brands through social media means a level playing field for organisations of any size.
Looking at these factors, we can see that the CX landscape means any FMCG organisation can deliver an outstanding CX.
A recent survey by professional services firm Engine found that 62% of customers said businesses should focus on launching 'simpler, flexible and more affordable customer service options' to do better.
An example of this for a smaller food or drink organisation would be to ensure you have a dedicated member of staff who regularly connects with people who have reached out on social media – this is a relatively low-cost and easy-to-implement strategy to improve your CX.
The same survey also found that 58% of those surveyed suggested that businesses provide better training and performance incentives for customer-facing staff. This finding suggests that over half of customer interactions with public-facing representatives of any given company is sub-standard.
While all employees in your business who interact directly with customers must have the best customer service skills, CX goes deeper. It is about building an excellent CX strategy throughout all teams, even those you don't think need to be involved.
In the following sections, we will look at building CX into all areas of your FMCG business.
1. Construct a Clear Vision for Your CX Strategy
There isn't a universal template to create a CX strategy in your business – your customer experience journey should be unique to your company.
Think about what you do better than your competitors – and start from there.
When creating your CX, put yourself in your customer's position and aim to deliver an outstanding service that you would be delighted to experience.
The following are some areas to consider:
· Is there a gap between what your customers expect and what you regularly provide for them?
· In which areas do you deliver better than your competitors?
· Is there a crucial point in your CX to focus on where you know you can make a massive impact? Such as a greater focus on marketing communications immediately after a customer transaction.
· Do your employees have the right skills and abilities to support an excellent CX? If not, what training can you provide to ensure their skills move to the next level?
Every customer journey should be one you are proud of as an organisation. There need to be contingencies and robust systems in place to ensure every customer is nurtured in a way that elevates your position in the market.
2. Provide a Universally Uplevelled Service
Perhaps the most significant part of your customer experience is the way you connect and interact with customers.
I'm sure if asked, you could recall the last time you were unpleasantly surprised by a negative experience with a company. Whether it was a rude or inexperienced customer service representative, slow service or unclear communication, we all have stories to tell.
Some food and drink companies focus so much on one part of their business, and they lose focus on the customer experience. For example, a company that focuses on delivering a fast service may cut corners when it comes to customer care. Or a business providing a discounted service doesn't then have the resources to handle customer queries.
Delivering an excellent CX requires asking for, and taking on board, regular feedback from your customers. Some organisations fail to take the time or spend the resources on finding out what their customers want. Over time, they become disengaged with your services and brand, and they end up migrating to a competitor who is offering them what they want.
The following are ways to keep on track with your customer expectations:
· Carry out and analyse customer satisfaction survey results
· Identify the rates and reason for customer turnover
· Ask for customer feedback on products and features
· Identify and rectify the source of any recurring complaints
It is essential to remember that a large part of how customers experience a company is based on how an interaction makes them feel. Emotions drive human beings, and our decisions, particularly our buying decisions, are rooted in feelings rather than detailed reasoning.
We base a lot of our experiences on how we were feeling at the time. A customer might purchase a great product at a low price point. Still, if the experience has created a negative emotion, such as feeling frustrated, confused or even angry, they are unlikely to repeat the process.
3. Get the Whole Team On Board
Looking after customers is no longer the sole responsibility of one small subsection of your business – CX is something that all employees must address.
It is imperative that your team are engaged and hold responsibility for the various elements of the CX process, including delivering fast and accurate service, clear and timely communication, and upholding the high standards of your business - always.
Have a conversation with all employees about their role in the CX process, and build these elements into their role profile.
The following are some points to consider when you introduce the concept of a company-wide CX to your team:
· Invest in personal development training for all team members – improving their personal and professional skills and increasing their emotional intelligence will naturally increase your CX.
· Create a culture where employees are encouraged to solve problems on their own
· Train employees on the importance of 'active listening, listening with engagement, empathy and understating rather than simply listening until its time to get their point across!
· Promote company-wide knowledge – some FMCG organisations can contain insular departments. The more information your whole team has access to, the better the service they will provide.
· Encourage empathy and patience in your team and lead by example.
Companies with high-ranking CX scores are the ones who instil its importance at all levels through their business.
4. Introduce Technology to Improve Your CX
In light of the recent remote working revolution, having the latest technology to enable your team to deliver a great CX from home has been a focus for many food and drink organisations.
In our post-Covid world, where remote working has not only become the norm but is expected, your remote employees need to be able to deliver the same service as their office-based counterparts. Technology can provide a seamless communication process for your employees and your customers and enable a seamless service.
And the great news is that FMCG companies of any size can introduce technology to enhance their CX.
The good news is the latest digital project management tools can streamline customer relationships. Slack, Trello and Monday.com are all robust project management software tools.
A smooth internal process is critical to an excellent CX. Do employees struggle to share files between the office and home? Any delays in your internal file-sharing systems are passed on to customers. Speed and accuracy are vital in equal measure. Are your team up-to-date with digital file-sharing skills?
Keeping employees up to speed with all technology within your business will enhance your CX.
As well as project management tools, using a CRM is one of the best ways technology can enhance your CX. Once thought of as software aimed at sales-heavy organisations, CRMs are now widely used in FMCG businesses of all sizes.
Salesforce is the most prominent global CRM. This platform exists to enhance customer relations and increase revenue from this. There are many other CRMs available; for a comprehensive list, click here.
5. Utilise Feedback to Develop Your FMCG Team
In an ideal world, your business will continually elicit feedback which is implemented as you improve your service and employee skills. However, in reality, it's not always as simple as that.
Training and development can slip down the list of things to do in your busy organisation, but remember that the more you work on developing your CX, the better it will get.
Hold employees accountable for delivering their part in your overall CX strategy.
This can be achieved by building CX deliverables into a review process and updating employees regularly on good and developmental feedback. Doing this means they will see the impact of their actions on the CX they deliver.
The key to using feedback to improve your CX is to have a process to capture timely response and use this to report back to your employees.
The following are some ideas around capturing customer feedback to score your CX:
· Email contact forms on your website
· Customer feedback forms
· Customer testimonials and interviews
· Communicating with customers on social media
Next, let's look at how to measure your companies' customer experience so you have guidance on what to improve while sharing this data to attract even more customers through your sales and marketing.
How to Measure Your CX
Measuring your CX is critical to assess whether the strategies you have in place are working, and there are several ways you can do this.
Net Promoter Scores (NPS) – this is given as a percentage, and the score is the likelihood that a customer would recommend your company to a friend or a colleague. Organisations across the globe use this particular assessment.
Customer effort scores (CES) – a type of customer satisfaction survey that measures the ease of service experience in your organisation.
Customer satisfaction score (CSAT) – this term is frequently used in marketing and is a measure of how your products and services either meet or surpass a customer's expectation.
Improving your customer experience score will ultimately add value to your business. It is essential that you measure and document changes to your CX score for your business's continued success.
Hiring to Improve Your CX
Something critical to how you deliver your CX experience comes down to having the 'right' team in place who can provide your ultimate CX vision.
Since the pandemic, competition has increased in the food and drink (FMCG) industry. It is imperative you are doing everything you can to stand out from your competitors and win new business while you win the loyalty of those all-important current customers.
Training will help, but sometimes hiring new recruits is necessary to bring about the positive change you want.
If you would like to know more about how we can help find you the CX stars you need to improve your service and strengthen your organisation, get in touch with me on 020 8392 9959 or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org