All or Nothing: Designing Holistic Customer Experiences

The why, what and how to a successful Customer Journey

Establishing a holistic and sustainable Customer Experience (CX) strategy in an organization is a challenging task. Using frameworks helps in building a new CX strategy and reduces the complexity of the process. Customers today have different needs and perceptions while interacting with a product or a service than they did just a few years ago: They expect a seamless omnichannel experience tailored to their individual needs and habits. Companies therefore need to ensure a seamless transition and great experience along the Customer Journey. 

Many companies struggle to design such a holistic CX because they underestimate how challenging it is to design, integrate, and manage such approaches.

 

An essential first step is to use interdisciplinary, cross-departmental teams to design the CX strategy.

 

But how can these teams best work together to arrive at a common and successful approach?

 

Based on the experience of many CX initiatives, BCG Platinion has developed a framework that supports companies in implementing a successful Customer Experience strategy. It is guided by three fundamental questions:

WHY does the customer choose the product or service? What are their motives and desires? At the outset, there is a vision for the optimal CX.

 

 

WHAT are the experiences you want the customer to have during the journey? Next, all existing touchpoints of the Customer Journey are identified and new touchpoints important for a positive experience are defined.

 

 

HOW can the CX strategy be specifically designed, integrated, and managed within the organization? Now the necessary strategic, organizational measures are specified, and resources are allocated to facilitate a consistent implementation of this strategy.

WHY—A vision and a goal for the Customer Experience.

It is easier to create concrete KPIs for the CX team if the reasons for a positive and sustainable Customer Experience are detailed. Perfect customer service, a strong community and high identification with the product, or being particularly innovative—companies can pursue different goals here.

 

In the course of our analyses and projects, BCG Platinion has identified seven core differentiators: Technology and product driven, data – digital and omnichannel, community driven, customer support, sustainability, accessibility and inspiration (see also part two of our series « Stand out from the crowd: defining the core CX differentiators ») as a key differentiator in the CX strategy.

 

Companies should focus their CX approach on one of these differentiators without neglecting the others. It is important that companies become aware in which of these seven areas they have the greatest potential for an outstanding Customer Experience, in which they still know too little about their customers’ needs, and where they can improve the quality of the current CX level. Of course, the very own target definition of Customer Experience is also decisive for this. The intersection between customer needs and the brand core is a good starting point for designing a consistent and holistic customer journey that also takes into account the respective needs of the various touchpoints and is adjusted accordingly.

The Customer Experience (CX) Framework

WHAT—The most important cornerstones of the Customer Journey

To create a holistic Customer Experience, it is important to map out the different touchpoints or moments along the Customer Journey. These can then be divided into different levels—from more general overview moments to micro moments in which the customer decides for or against the product or service. Such an outline helps to find the right starting points for further development of the Customer Journey and improvement of the CX by measuring customer interaction at defined checkpoints, for example when making an appointment, contacting someone in person, downloading software, or making a payment.

 

Another important advantage of the structured representation of various touchpoints: Both operational and strategic teams gain an understanding of necessary changes. An outside-in analysis shows what competitors are doing and which approaches may also work in other industries. While understanding the touchpoints along the Customer Journey is of major importance, designing a future CX approach along the strategic pillars of people, technology and business operations helps to push companywide customer centric initiatives. This may include a visionary company culture towards the customer, leadership, tools, or the selection of right methods for customer & market research. Developing behavioral personas—prototypical user profiles—helps to better understand the customer; stakeholder mapping allows all departments that interact with customers to be assigned the role that can best support the new approach. Agile working methods efficiently drive the innovation process.

HOW—Ways to implementation

Once the CX strategy is set and designed, it must be implemented in such a way that it truly provides a holistic experience and does not consist of fragmented measures. This affects the company as a whole. In order to enable cross-functional processes and a high degree of customer centricity, processes must be set up in operations accordingly.

 

 

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« Monitoring is the golden way to understand reactions and respond accordingly. »

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Employees from different areas and teams should work together in a closely networked manner, and ultimately, it is necessary that the technical infrastructure is ready. The CX teams should be responsible for the concrete implementation and validation of the new approaches.

 

This ensures that the CX strategy is implemented consistently and that the experience is consistent along the strategic pillars.

 

The team ensures that the strategy is interlinked early on with the work of operational departments such as sales, branding, digital, and product development.

 

 

To create a strong omnichannel CX, it is essential that all these elements are connected, fit together, and that the relevant KPIs are defined.

 

After successful integration, monitoring becomes very important. This is the only way companies can understand the reactions of customers at different touchpoints and respond accordingly. At this point, the support of the management level is important as well.

 

Internal training academies, research method playbooks or CX collection of benchmark examples help to better manage this daunting task. Teams should be best equipped and resourced to deliver real Customer Experiences.

Conclusion

Companies that adapt their CX strategy to the needs of their customers can position themselves for the future. In doing so, they should take care to establish lasting competence for the area of CX within their own group.

 

Creative, people-centric approaches are the right way to go, and the best way to go about it is with interdisciplinary teams.

 

A structured framework helps to develop, integrate and manage a coherent CX strategy.

The commitment of top management is also critical to success in this area. They are the ones who inspire teams, and ultimately all employees, to explore new creative ways of creating unique Customer Experiences.

 

Even if the task seems daunting, optimizing the CX strategy brings great benefits and makes the company fit for the future.

Discover the rest of our series on Customer Experience:

  • Digital & Tech | Article

    The Next Frontier of Customer Experience

    Companies can gain an edge by developing an overarching CX strategy and management

    Learn More
  • Digital & Tech | Article

    Stand out from the Crowd: Defining the Core CX Differentiators

    The second article in our CX series shares how to define the CX differentiators based on strengths and objectives

    Learn More

    About the Authors

    Dr. Iana Kouris

    Associate Director
    Frankfurt, Germany

    Iana is an Associate Director at BCG Platinion in Frankfurt, heading Design & Engineering Team in Berlin. Iana leads projects across industries focused on Customer Experience Strategy, Customer Journey Redesign, Design Thinking enablement and Digital, Agile and Human-Centered Transformations. Iana joined BCG Platinion from Nokia & Nokia Bell Labs, where she was leading Transformation by Design and before that was driving Business Operations & Executive Customer Engagement. Prior to that, Iana spent 7 years in management consulting at McKinsey & Company Inc. Connecting different disciplines was always Iana’s passion, which is reflected in her multidisciplinary studies, including a Dr. degree in Business Administration from RWTH Aachen University, Dipl. in Mathematics, BA in Philosophy & Economics, and further qualifications in Design, Fine Arts and Music.

    Dr. Martin Böckle

    Lead Strategic Designer
    London, United Kingdom

    Martin has a strong focus on designing human-centered digital experiences within the practice areas of BCG Platinion solving strategic design challenges through the application of qualitative and quantitative research. He is a strong advocate for behavioral design concepts like gamification and contributes to the emerging research stream of human-centered artificial intelligence (HCAI). Furthermore, he focuses on other topics such as design due diligence (DDD), design leadership and design strategy for Metaverse applications.

    Robert Thorpe

    Senior Strategic Designer
    Berlin, Germany

    Robert is a Senior Strategic Designer in the Berlin office of BCG Platinion. His core proficiencies include large scale qualitative and quantitative research practices, customer experience journey mapping, technological design flow management, as well as UX/UI best practices and benchmarking.