Customer experience (CX) management is a key differentiator for today’s top brands. As customers interact with businesses over a variety of touchpoints and channels, it has become essential to offer a consistently seamless experience. But while everyone is rushing to launch CX programs, it’s not easy to know where to focus on driving the most value and change.

A well-designed CX program should deliver real-time, actionable feedback from customers about their experiences and expectations, as well as their future intentions to recommend or purchase. It should connect multiple types of feedback across all customer touchpoints, and help organisations to focus on the areas of greatest impact.

Using appropriate customer measures, both lead and lag, organisations can then understand their performance by leveraging real-time stakeholder dashboards and comprehensive reports that need to be fully adaptable as customer priorities and business needs change.

Qualtrics recommends three key tips for organisations to manage the customer experience more effectively:

1. Employees drive experience: Many organisations forget about the impact employee engagement has on the customer experience. At the end of the day people drive change and an engaged workforce is essential for long term success of a customer-centric brand.

2. Customer feedback is key: Managing the customer experience depends on the ability to build a stable, repeatable process for capturing customer feedback and helping people learn from that feedback so that it is embedded into the way teams work and make decisions every day.

3. Map the journey, not the moments: Businesses who map the customer journey by segment better understand the unique paths their customers take. This lets them measure things like barriers in the journey, what drives satisfaction, what drives purchase decisions, the relative importance of each stage in the customer journey and more.

Organisations that can tie journey performance metrics to actions can deliver customer experiences that are tailor-made to encourage loyalty and repeat purchases. So it’s important to measure journeys, not just one-off interactions.

Organising teams around key journeys lets businesses connect their functional siloed teams and lets them work together to innovate and deliver customer value and find ways to improve efficiency, which reduces cost.

Qualtrics has identified three ideal ways to capture in-the-moment customer feedback:

1. Timing is everything: Understanding when to capture feedback is critical, so the business can learn about the entire experience and make adjustments quickly.

2. Get the right feedback to make the best decisions: Just asking customers for their opinion is not enough. Organisations could be asking the wrong questions, which means they are collecting and measuring data that does not lead to the best decisions. Going deeper with the questions, pulling out a customer’s expectations, drivers and perceptions, will help the business learn how to do things better.

3. Prioritise closing the loop at scale: The faster the business can get customer feedback to the right teams for action, the quicker it can make adjustments to meet the needs of many customers at scale. Making adjustments faster shows customers the company listened to their opinion. This preserves and deepens trust in the brand, especially if the business identifies problems it can resolve for the customer.

Qualtrics has released its Customer Experience Management: 5 Competencies for CX Success recommended for any organisation that is looking to build or start a CX program. The competencies outlined in this e-book detail how organisations large or small can focus on customer needs, inject that view into the company, and use those customer insights to drive business results.