Delivering great customer experiences results in stronger brand loyalty and can truly set your company apart from the competition. The challenge is in doing so consistently and seamlessly across your organization.

An effective customer experience program can help with just that.

With the number of customer experience consultants and enterprise software vendors out there preaching complete organizational transformation (and requiring extensive budgets), it can be easy to believe that launching a customer experience program is a giant undertaking.

It doesn’t have to be.

In fact, in this post, we will teach you how you can kickstart a customer experience program and share tips from top brands on how they got started.

What is a customer experience program?

Before we dive into the process of launching your first customer experience program, let’s get on the same page about what one is.

“A customer experience program refers to the tools and processes used to implement your customer experience management strategy.”

Delighted’s 20 Customer Experience Terms to Know

In other words, a customer experience program is the system of execution for customer experience management. It is the process and tools you use to improve the touchpoints and interactions customers have with your company and the resulting perceptions from those interactions.

5 steps to launching and running an effective customer experience program

With terminology out of the way, here is the process you can start today to get a world-class customer experience program going.

1. Be the change agent your company needs

Yes, you, the reader of this blog post can not just get the ball rolling, but actually build it out. Building your first customer experience program does not require consultants or expensive software. Zero budget needs to be pre-approved.

You simply need to take the initiative and start simple.

“You don’t need to start out with a fancy, tricked-out system. Just start getting some feedback in the easiest, lightest way you can. Soon enough, you will learn how you want to customize and do more.”

— Zoe Soto, Product Manager at Glassdoor and a Delighted customer

The most basic components of a customer experience program are:

  1. Implementing a process for gathering customer feedback and experience data.

  2. Mobilizing your team to take action on that data to improve customer experiences.

The best place to start is within your company on the front lines.

Go talk with your customer-facing department leaders (sales, support, customer success, marketing, product, etc.). You don’t have to talk with everyone, just whoever can give you insight on how customers experience your company.

Take note of the steps customers go through, any tools used to interact with customers at those steps, and any insight they can share on how those interactions could be improved.

“Keep it simple. Do not over-complicate it internally or for your customer.”

— Cassie Layton, Head of Marketing at Happy Returns and a Delighted customer

While you’re at it, get buy-in internally for your effort and let people know you will be following up on how they can get more involved.

2. Start with a high priority customer experience

From your internal interviewing, you likely have identified at least some high level areas that need to be improved about your customer experience.

For a more detailed view, you can go a step further by creating a customer journey map. In short, a customer journey map is a visual representation of the various interactions and touchpoints a customer has with your company.

But, to get things started, you should at least have a goal in mind for a specific customer interaction that needs to be improved. You can expand your customer experience program to every touchpoint and interaction later.

For example, you’ve learned from your company’s product lead that a high rate of new users are signing out before they reach the point where value is delivered. And, of those that do, most never come back. There is something about the new user experience that is turning people off.

Your goal should be to get to the bottom of this and improve the experiences at fault.

“Because we didn’t have a goal, we didn’t have a process in place for how to act on the feedback that we received. A couple months in, we were like ‘Oh, yeah, we’re measuring this, but we really should connect some strategy into why we’re measuring it and what we can expect to do with that.’ So, my first recommendation would be not to just do it arbitrarily. Have a plan.”

— Lindsey Redinger, Manager of User Research Operations at Invision and a Delighted customer

While we recommend kicking off your customer experience program small, the impact can still be large…if you have a strategic goal and intent going in.

3. Gather data on the customer experience

Once you have your goal in mind, you need to gain intelligence on the relevant customer experiences.

You may know from analytics that specific features of your product are not being used or that there are specific points where new users are dropping off. But, you need to learn WHY they are.

“Okay, is this about our services? Is this about our products? Is this about a white paper that they read? What are they feeling right now and how can we, as a company, make sure that we capitalize on whatever that moment is?”

— Laura Reigel, Senior Customer Marketing Manager at PayScale and a Delighted customer

This is where customer experience surveying comes in.

Customer experience surveys are designed to provide you both quantitative (numerical metrics) and qualitative (written feedback) data that offer much more context together than analytics alone. Context you can act on to improve experiences and drive real improvement.

Here are a few examples of how you could leverage top CX survey types within the scenario described above:

  • Trigger Customer Effort Score (CES) surveys in your product interface after specific features are used to learn how easy or difficult they were to use. This could help you identify the specific features that are causing issues.

  • Send a Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey by email to your core user base on a regular basis, and map the scores and comments to the behavior of those who are active users as well as those who churn. This will help give you feedback and scoring data on why people stayed or left, found value or didn’t.

The good news is, with the Delighted customer experience survey platform, you can create and deliver all of these CX surveys in minutes!

4. Uncover actionable customer experience insights

Say you have now created and sent your first CX surveys. Feedback and survey ratings are rolling in. Your NPS, CES, etc. scores have been calculated.

The feedback provided in your user’s own words and their ratings are valuable on their own. But, even more valuable and actionable insights can be found through deeper analysis of the aggregate data collected.

You just need the right tools for the job.

Ideally, you are using a CX survey platform that offers a real-time feedback dashboard where feedback can be filtered, sorted, and tagged. Delighted offers this as well as the ability to create trends based on common themes you are seeing in your feedback.

“Every time we open up Delighted we find a new way to improve, which at the end of the day is why we are doing this.”

— JT Marino, Founder at Tuft & Needle and a Delighted customer

Even better if the solution offers advanced reporting that lets you create segments of users surveyed and compare their survey results against each other — which Delighted provides as well.

The right CX analysis tools can help you identify exactly what is holding specific user segments back from gaining value from your service and how you can adapt to improve those experiences.

5. Enable ongoing customer experience improvement

With actionable insights in hand, it’s time to take action.

Sometimes the solutions are straightforward. Customers are confused about how a feature works or are having trouble setting up their account. Besides making the product easier to use, you’ll also know to prioritize creating self-serve knowledge base content to help them.

There are likely issues that come up within the feedback that can and should be quickly resolved, such as big fixes or confusion that can be cleared by sharing content with the customer. Focus there first. Then, prioritize larger efforts such as new product development.

What is most important to establishing and growing an effective customer experience program is setting yourself up for continuous improvement across your organization.

Set up ongoing customer experience surveying for more and more of your critical customer touchpoints.

Follow up with customers that are neither excited nor unhappy about your service to proactively improve their experience before it is too late.

“If you’re proactive in your approach, you can get ahead of any issues.”

— Rebecca Sherman, Head of Account Management and Ad Operations at The Hustle and a Delighted customer

Track, benchmark, and analyze your survey results over time to see customer sentiment as changes are made.

And make sure that all your customer-facing tools connect to your customer experience surveying data through integration. This way the customer experience data and insights are in the right hands at the right time to positively impact customer experiences in the moment.

Conclusion

If you have talked with CX consultants or read any other content out there on implementing a customer experience program, it is likely the process felt daunting and expensive.

With this post, you can take the lead to kick off an effective customer experience program as soon as today.

And using Delighted to do so won’t cost your company a thing to get started. Create a free account now to launch your first customer experience program today.