Customer Experience

6 Essential Elements of a Successful Customer Experience Program

In today’s technology-driven world, the customer is king. We hear this all the time, but very few companies really figure out how to keep the customer at the forefront of their business. The companies who have figured out how to scale customer focus throughout their organizations are experiencing big returns and sizable growth.


Companies like Zappos or 1-800 CONTACTS have taken the time to build out and develop a Voice of the Customer program, and they’re reaping the benefits in big ways. 1-800-CONTACTS recently won an Innovation in Service Excellence Award and saw their Net Promoter Score® surge 13 points after a VoC program reboot.
So it should come as no surprise that happy customers are five times as likely to repurchase and three times as likely to recommend a company or business than unhappy customers, according to a recent Temkin Group Insight Report.


But how do you join this elite club of customer-obsessed, thriving companies? What do you have to do?


First, keep in mind that there are countless voice of the customer service providers out there who use all kinds of approaches to help organizations collect and act on customer feedback, but a true customer experience program does much more than that. Successful programs aren’t one and done initiatives. So before you outsource your VoC efforts, or get overwhelmed by building out a full-fledged program, remember that the most successful customer-focused companies didn’t built their programs overnight.


We’ve outlined six things you’ll need to explore before you start building a customer experience program. With these key factors aligned, you’ll be on your way to customer-centricity.


Six Key Factors for Building a Customer Experience Program

6 customer experience elements
Strong Leadership: Establishing a customer-centric culture starts at the very top. Without executive-level buy-in there is a low probability of creating maximum impact for any customer-centric initiative. You’ll also want to garner the support of lower level leaders to truly move the needle on improving the customer experience. Leaders set the tone for their subordinates, so if a leader decides that the customer is important, their direct reports will follow suit.


Vision and Clarity: Your vision for VoC needs to be specific so that everyone within the organization can easily understand the common goal. Start by focusing on the language and messaging you’ll use to convey your vision. We recommend a short and simple vision statement to help you increase understanding and buy-in from leadership.

Engagement and Collaboration: An engaged workforce is vital for the long-term success of a customer-centric company. And as employees become more engaged, cross-functional collaboration and synergy will create more impactful and successful customer initiatives. To truly engage your workforce, you have to understand them. The most tried and true method for doing so is by implementing a formal employee engagement program.

Listening and Learning: A systematic method for monitoring and collecting customer feedback is key to improving the overall experience. Because customer feedback can be gathered via multiple channels it is important to build any listening program on a robust platform that is able to pivot with customers as their feedback preferences change.

Alignment and Action: Alignment means that all members of a company are marching towards the same vision, and each work group defines what action they need to take to help realize that vision. Generally speaking, action refers to the measurable steps taken to improve the customer experience. A properly designed root cause or driver analysis will help to inform what areas to take action on.

Patience and Commitment: As much as it pains companies to hear this, building a world-class customer culture is not an overnight exercise; nor is it one that can be completely outsourced. Like it or not, the most successful customer- centric organizations in the world are built in an iterative fashion over a number of years. Customer culture is slowly altered, collection practices are refined, analyses are increased in complexity, and action becomes widespread and aspirational. All along this journey, leadership must demonstrate patience and commitment to the process and vision.

Want to more tips to help your organization become more customer-obsessed?

Qualtrics compiled a reading list based on recommendations from CX leaders, you can download that here.

10 books every CX leader should read in 2020


Ryan Nelsen

Ryan Nelsen is a contributor to the Qualtrics blog.

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