These 3 Factors Are Key to Customer Experience Success

May 25, 2022

Contributor: Jordan Turner

Drive meaningful CX outcomes for long-term brand health.

In short:

  • Most customer experience (CX) programs are not delivering on promised differentiation and competitive advantage.
  • Brands that demonstrate how customer satisfaction is associated with growth, margin and profitability are more likely to report CX success and secure greater CX budgets.
  • Three factors are essential for CX success: marketing’s role, persona development and end-to-end journey mapping.

Many organizations lack the necessary experience creating personas and building end-to-end journey maps. But with time, attention and experience, they can hone these capabilities to improve customer experience (CX).

Improving CX continues to be a priority for organizations, but most programs are not delivering results. Gartner surveyed more than 300 global CX practitioners in Q4 2021 to understand what CX priorities, processes, and measures currently exist and which are most likely to yield success. Respondents reported struggles with budget, support and collaboration. 

Download now: How CMOs Can — and Should — Lead the Charge in CX

The survey results also indicate that customer satisfaction is associated with growth, margin and profitability. Organizations that demonstrate the “how” of this association are more likely to report CX success and secure larger CX budgets.

“Being able to prove that your most satisfied customers deliver more growth, margin and lifetime value is important for CMOs to secure resources for CX programs,” says Augie Ray, VP Analyst at Gartner. “By showing this positive relationship, CMOs better position themselves to prove why CX matters to financial performance and the importance of customer-centric practices to long-term brand health."

3 essential components of CX success

There are three key factors that help CX leaders meet and exceed expectations. 

No. 1: Marketing’s role in CX

The first and most powerful success driver speaks to marketing’s overall role in CX. Successful CX programs are twice as likely to primarily focus CX efforts in marketing on the journey after acquisition, not the path to purchase.

It’s common practice to end journey maps with purchase, lead acquisition, initial transaction or delivery of the product or service, omitting the important stages that follow. 

“A journey map that focuses merely on the purchase funnel and not the entire end-to-end customer journey is not a CX journey map,” says Ray. “Those sorts of journey maps may assist with efforts to build awareness, inbound traffic and acquisition, but they cannot uncover the opportunities that influence customer satisfaction, loyalty and long-term advocacy.”

Learn more: What Is Digital Marketing Strategy — And What Are the Keys to Its Success?

No. 2: Customer persona development

Persona development is immature in many organizations — just 36% of survey respondents report their customer persona development has been in place for three years or more. Personas take time to develop, and improving, updating and enhancing them is an iterative process. It’s critical that personas convey key data points. Mobile behaviors, content preferences, purchase decision factors and drivers of satisfaction (and dissatisfaction) all increase the broader organization’s adoption and value of the personas.

No. 3: End-to-end journey mapping

Organizations that develop end-to-end journey maps improve cross-functional collaboration and CX success. But developing journey maps is not a one-and-done exercise — journeys change as customers change. Similar to developing personas, journey mapping takes time and is iterative. One Gartner client put it this way: “Customer journey mapping is like a muscle — the more you exercise it, the stronger you get at producing maps.”

Take action to enhance your CX strategy

To create a customer-centric culture and enhance your CX strategy: 

  1. Consolidate inputs: Combine any voice-of-the-customer (VoC) feedback with customer-level transactional data to uncover how customer satisfaction drives outcomes. 
  2. Invest in skills: Advance the team’s skills in developing personas and journey maps, which are two essential tools for CX success. The processes to develop these tools grow stronger with time, data, experience and iterative improvement. 
  3. Focus on the customer: Reinforce the organization’s focus on end-to-end customer journeys that seek to understand what drives satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy, in order to acquire and retain the best customers.

A version of this story originally appeared in the Gartner Newsroom.

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