CX and Your Website: It’s Not about You

CX and Your Website: It’s Not about You

Are you familiar with the term customer experience (CX)? Not just for app developers or folks operating on the fringes of innovation, CX is a pervasive value system that will affect your company’s success. So what exactly is CX? I like Forrester’s definition for its simplicity:

“How customers perceive their interactions with your company.”

Anytime you interact with a customer, whether it is online, in-person or over the phone, you are engaging in forming customer experience—good, bad or ugly. Most of us, apparently, feel that we’re doing a good job—only we’re not. According to Bain & Company, 80 percent of CEOs believe they deliver a superior customer experience, but only 8 percent of their customers agree.

How do companies bring those two numbers closer together? When it comes to your first chances to nurture positive CX — your website and social media profiles — it’s important to set your brand ego aside. Think about this…

“There are only 86,400 seconds in a day. Given that we are universally bound by this limited resource, how can we make things easier, quicker and simpler for our customers?”

This question, posed by MGM Resorts International’s chief experience officer, Julie Hoffmann, at the American Marketing Association’s National Conference in September, is one that you should ask regularly.

In addition, here are two exercises you can do today to positively impact the online customer experience you provide.

Exercise 1: How would you describe your company or product to a 10-year-old?

Now look at your website. Without scrolling, does it answer this question in under eight seconds?

The average attention span for the notoriously ill-focused goldfish is nine seconds, but according to a recent study from Microsoft Corp., people now generally lose concentration after eight seconds.

If a first-time visitor sees only your clever brand tagline, then it’s time to make one critical change on your home page. Add a succinct single line message that explains your value proposition. A quick web search turned up these examples of effective home page value messages:

  • The easy, fast, affordable way to send money online—from your desktop, tablet or mobile device.
  • Comprehensive, easy-to-use cloud-based law practice management software.
  • Software for automated sales tax compliance. “Sales tax is hard. We make it easy.”

That value message will help a visitor confirm their interest in your product or service. Make sure this simple description also lives on your social media profiles.

Within the first eight seconds, visitors should also see one or more simple, low-risk ways to engage with you. An opt-in subscription form, download offer or free trial may extend the visit well beyond eight seconds.

Exercise 2: What are the top five questions your prospective customers ask you?

You are sitting on the most valuable insights money can buy—actual customer interactions. Ask your sales team to account for the questions they continually get asked by prospects at the beginning of the relationship. Do you address these questions on your website’s most important pages? How many pages and links does it take to get the answers? Your customers are coming to your website to figure out if you provide a solution for their pesky, nagging pain point. Is there a way to provide relief in fewer interactions?

Sometimes, particularly with B2B, we get caught up in trying to deliver so much information that the most customer-relevant part gets lost or left out. You don’t need a new website to make real strides in your CX. Real improvements can result from simply creating headlines and separating blocks of copy and important callouts with more white space.

Your brand is not just a tagline, a collection of bright colors and a logo. Ultimately, your true brand is your customers’ experience of your company over the duration of their relationship with you. Your website is a prominent part of that, so start your CX initiative there.

This is an edited version of a post that originally appeared on The Edge Room.

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About the Author

Kim Tidwell, Inbound Marketing, Content Strategy & Development and Social Media Management ConsultantKim Tidwell is a storyteller and creative marketer, with a consultancy focused on content strategy and inbound marketing.

An avid community-builder, she splits her time between Austin AMA and CreativeMornings/Austin.

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Related Topics on the AMA Austin Blog:

When CX is done in tandem with social strategy, that’s when brands can amplify that experience to a wider audience.

Social-Centric Customer Experience: What It is and How it Could Save Businesses

This is an edited version of an article that Michael Bogart originally published on LinkedIn.

“If I’m not making you sweat, I should be.”

That’s what former Cisco Systems CEO John Chambers said after making his now famous prediction that 40 percent of companies will be dead in 10 years during a recent keynote speech at Cisco’s customer conference.

Chambers cited digital disruption as the primary driver for the economic transformation we are undergoing, and I wanted to share a common theme I am hearing from business leaders across seemingly disconnected industries: that is, why a social-centric customer experience (or CX) strategy must be the focal point of digital transformation.

Why social-centric?

We all spend most of our day online, and research has concluded that social media makes up almost 30 percent of that online time.

Every function within an organization (sales, marketing, support, public relations, etc.) is tasked with trying to reach, understand and connect with people—and social offers the unique opportunity for an unfiltered view of the market. Social early adopter Richard Branson has even emphasized the power of social media, and how they use it at Virgin for real-time improvement opportunities.

And social is for everyone: Jay Baer does a great job dispelling the notion that social is not relevant for B2B, and makes a compelling argument as to why social is more important for B2B success than B2C.

Plus, Gerry Moran wrote a fantastic piece addressing how the proper social media strategy can even enhance content marketing to help businesses succeed and grow.

Why CX strategy?

Research company Gartner has boldly declared that 89 percent of companies expect to compete mostly on the basis of customer experience. And by definition, brands deliver experience at scale through two primary drivers:

  1. Personalization: How do you connect with your audience on a one-on-one level?
  2. Consistency: How do you deliver a personalized experience consistently across various channels? (email, mobile, social, in-store, etc.)

Both of these questions get to the heart of a customer’s experiences and interactions with a brand—which means exceptional CX. But when CX is done in tandem with social strategy, that’s when brands can amplify that experience to a wider audience.

One company that has done this particularly well has been Starwood Hotels—which I think offers a great example of how a social centric CX strategy can drive brand growth and leadership.

Starwood has recognized that social is a powerful tool to meaningfully enhance guests’ booking and travel experiences, and is moderating social conversations across multiple brands, regions and teams. The Starwood team monitors their social channels globally, across 15 languages, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week….impressive!

To ensure an optimized experience, Starwood integrates comprehensive monitoring of social channels with existing workflow processes to provide the ability to automatically categorize content and assign messages. Time saved provides the Starwood team more resources to focus on advanced analysis and internal feedback, and ultimately, a world-class guest experience.

So will brands really die in 40 years?

Time will tell. But brands that embrace digital transformation through a social-centric CX strategy have the unique opportunity to listen and learn from their audience in real-time and unify all data sets (and consequently, business units) in order to deliver personalized and consistent experiences.

Thank you for encouraging companies to sweat, Mr. Chambers! The ultimate outcome will undoubtedly be a better experience for us—both as consumers and as business leaders.

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Author

Michael BogartMichael Bogart is a current resident of “the Live Music Capital of the World.” Michael discovered his love of music while growing up in Cleveland, “The Rock and Roll Capital of the World,” and further explored this interest while a student at Ohio State University. His passion for all things guitar and music quickly led to an ongoing fascination with how customer experience influences buying decisions. As a representative for social software platform Sprinklr, he helps B2B and B2C brands in the south Texas region evaluate their CX strategy.
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