Does Your Company Have a Customer Experience Strategy?

7 min read
April 24, 2024

“A CX strategy shows you what’s hindering a good experience, what’s helping with an experience, and how your technology is solving problems or not, so that when we look at the current state we have an analysis of all the technology and the role it is playing in the experience.” - Kate Kompelien, CEO of The Insight Shop

On a recent episode of the RevOps Champions podcast, we interviewed Kate Kompelien, who led a successful CX transformation at Best Buy and now runs her own consulting business, The Insight Shop. Kate shared with us the steps in her CX strategy design process and the impact of having a great CX on both employees and customers. 


Why Is The Customer Experience Important?

Most leaders know that customer experience plays a key role in organizational growth and financial performance.

But what many don’t know is the correct way to design and implement a successful CX strategy.

The Most Common Mistake

A common oversight for many companies is a lack of systems and processes that empower customer support agents. These agents have a massive impact on the customer experience, yet are typically not equipped to actually resolve many customer issues.

Kate explains this dilemma and its negative impacts: 

“As calls are coming in, agents cannot solve most of [the issues]…customers may be calling because inventory is gone, a product arrived damaged, they can't log into their account –– hundreds of hundreds of things. The contact center becomes the messenger, and that often results in multiple transfers of calls - it could take days to get back to the customer.”

When Kate works with her clients, she shows them the importance of doing upfront work to gain a comprehensive understanding of the customer experience before implementing technology solutions.

Once they understand the current customer and agent experience, they begin to see the relationship between CX and technology solutions:

“Your contact volume is never going to reduce if you don't have a very clear understanding of your top call types – what are the top 80 %?… If they really understood the customer and the agent experience around those top contact types, and could then get those issues to the right leaders in the organization to solve those problems, imagine the reduction in contacts. Imagine the increase in first contact resolution.”

By first identifying all customer-facing teams and the issues they encounter, companies can now implement a CX strategy that aligns those customer-facing teams and empowers them to deliver a superior experience.

CX Technology Requirements Become Clear

Throughout the podcast, Kate demonstrates the value of integrating the customer experience with the process map to gain a detailed understanding of needed technology solutions.

“From the very beginning, we'll start to understand the role of technology in that experience, both from the employees’ perspective when they're having to interact with different technology systems and throughout the experience… [This CX strategy shows you] what’s hindering a good experience, what’s helping with an experience, and how your technology is solving problems or not, so that when we look at the current state we have an analysis of all the technology and the role it is playing in the experience.”

Once the primary pain points in the customer experience have been identified, it’s easier to see how CX technology can help resolve those problems:

“The technology sells itself versus having to go in and sell the technology and convince your customer that they need technology to do these things. Because [if they don’t know the customer experience pain points], the customers or the clients don’t always believe that they need to do these things.”

The link between CX and revenue also becomes clear, as well as the importance of measuring and tracking customer feedback to drive improvements. Kate helps her clients fully understand the beneficial impact on both margins and employee retention:

“Your customer experience directly impacts revenue and profitability…If you do things wrong, it's going to erode your margins pretty quickly. Whereas if you get them right, not only are you going to keep customers and clients, but you're going to have a lot left at the end of the day because everything is more efficient and therefore more profitable. A good customer experience means no lost margins on fixing problems, increased customer retention resulting in increased future business, and agent retention.”


Defining Your Customer Experience Strategy

In her consulting practice, Kate has a defined process that she follows to gain a comprehensive customer experience understanding and define a detailed CX strategy. 

Phase 1: Current state vs. future state

Understand Your Current State

The first phase of this process involves a full assessment of the current state. 

“You can’t fully improve the customer experience until you understand the employee experience.” 

Look at all your customer-facing teams and ask questions to uncover what’s getting in the way of providing a great customer experience.

Document these roadblocks: some may be technology related, some from lack of knowledge, and others from process-related issues (or a lack thereof).

These discussions are a key opportunity for you to gain a deep understanding of the customer experience from the employee perspective. Kate described the richness of information available from talking to customer-facing employees:

“Who is your bread and butter, and who should you be doing more business with? Which customer base are you losing that you don't want to lose? 

What are the channels customers can interact with across that experience? Who are the frontline employees that are interacting with that customer, because we really want to talk to them, and learn about their barriers and their struggles.” 

Kate also recommends doing what she calls experience research. This can be observations, intercepts, ride-alongs, shop-alongs, deep-dive interviews…there are many ways to collect data that will allow you to understand the full experience.

Once this data has been collected, use it to define specifically who the people are that your company is serving, and what your customer experience is like.

Define Your Future State

Once she has a solid understanding of the current state, Kate assembles a cross-functional team of current stakeholders, frontline employees, people who know the problem areas well, as well as people who are good at innovating and ideating.

This team reviews the current state data and the pain points that need to be addressed, then collaborates to define solutions to be prioritized on their future state journey map. This gives leadership a clear picture of areas the company needs to invest in and improve. 

Phase 2: Technology scoping

The second phase of Kate’s process for defining a customer experience strategy is technology scoping. This is done with a technology stakeholder alongside the customer service leader, so the stakeholder can start to have a voice and understand the future state experience that the company wants to deliver.

Kate stresses the importance of involving a technology stakeholder at this stage:

“Nine times out of ten, at least 60% of the [future state] experiences have some relation to CRM [Customer Relationship Management technology] – so CRM needs to support at least 60% of these experiences.”

Involving a technology stakeholder at this point allows them to look over the future state experiences that have been defined and develop a full understanding so they can then determine what is core/common across all of these processes and what needs to be unique and different from a CRM perspective.

Because of this involvement, when the company is ready to implement a CRM system it has a much higher likelihood of being on time and on budget, and the technology stakeholder is able to make sure they’re meeting all the future state experience expectations.

Phase 3: Roadmaps and project charters

Once you have defined the current and future states and joined with IT to gain technological input, you are ready for phase 3: developing roadmaps and project charters.

Kate has her clients overlay the customer experience on top of the process map, then highlight the pain points of the customer experience and where they need to improve the process. 

The team can start to build this out, putting a now-next-later framework around it first and then assigning timing around the roadmap.

For each future state solution that goes into the company’s CX strategy, Kate recommends creating a project charter that answers key questions:

“Who are the people? What are the risks? What are the gaps?”

When the designated team takes it over to build it out, this project charter will give them a lot of good information and guidance on what they need to deliver.


Who Should Own The Customer Experience?

“I personally do not like when people say ‘everyone owns the customer experience’ because even if there are nuggets of truth to that, it just makes nobody know what to do. If everyone owns it, where do we start?”

We next talked to Kate about the oft-debated topic: who should own the customer experience?

This can be a challenging question because the CX experience has become more and more cross-functional, making it hard to determine the best person take ownership.

In Kate’s experience, in many cases the best person to own it is the CEO:

“Personally, I think the CEO should own it, because it should tie tightly with your strategy… If it's tied to your strategy, it makes it easier. 

If a channel owns it, then all of the priorities become focused on that channel…Well, what about stores? What about the contact center? If you say marketing owns it, they then sort of evolve it into this brand story/brand message…but that's not customer experience. 

And so the CEO, in my opinion, should own it. Direction of what experiences should be focused on should come based on the strategy, and that then determines the cross-functional teams that should be a part of that customer experience, strategy, and planning.”


It's Time to Elevate Your CX Strategy

As companies strive to increase revenue in an increasingly-competitive marketplace, leaders must consider a critical question: How prepared is your organization for a more customer-centric future?

The right CX strategy creates a competitive advantage that can elevate a company above their competition, putting it on a path to higher revenue and repeat customers.

The wrong strategy, on the other hand, not only decreases profits - it may send customers knocking on competitor’s doors.