Creating a seamless customer experience (CX) program is essential to differentiate yourself in an increasingly competitive retail market.

With customer bases extending across multiple channels and various digital touchpoints, retailers need to make sure they’re engaging with consumers at every stage of their digital journey.

Adam Marks, CX Subject Matter Expert and Principal Consultant at Qualtrics says that designing a CX program is critical to retailers’ success in the e-commerce landscape.

“An increasing majority of key customer experiences that have the propensity to drive loyalty, revenue and reduce operating costs begin through digital channels. In a number of industries, in particular, airlines, financial services and retail, it is not uncommon for over 90% of customer transactions to begin through digital platforms,” he said.

The call comes as new research reveals a substantial disconnect between the way brands and customers perceived CX.

The research from InMoment, found 36 per cent of brands believed their CX is improving, while only 13 per cent of customers agreed and three times as many customers than brands said experiences are “definitely not getting better.”

Tips for a CX program

Personalisation, predictive analytics and embedding CX activation into an organisation are all essential to design a standout CX program, according to Mr Marks.

1. Be personal

Retailers must first prioritise the consumer on the other side of the data point, Mr Marks says. This means organisations must learn what matters to their customers and think about the digital experience for their customer when interacting with their brand.

This includes the first touch point and engaging in conversations that show the organisation cares rather than simply striving for one-way feedback.

“It is paramount to engage consumers on their own terms. This means integrating into the experience wherever possible and through whichever channel is ideal for the consumer, and not simply layering on top and forcing consumers to engage in ways that are inconvenient,” he said.

“This is why we are seeing such a huge surge in feedback collection through new digital channels such as voice and chat integrations. The challenge for organisations is to integrate their brand’s experience and messaging into their customers’ lives in a meaningful and cohesive way to foster a lasting relationship.”

2. Be predictive

Businesses must also remove any roadblocks to insights from data, he says. This means combining operational and experience data to give business leaders a holistic view of consumers engaging through their digital platforms.

Combining this data is essential for organisations to take advantage of predictive capabilities, he says.

“When organisations can start to predict what their customers will want and when, they can begin to deliver customer experiences at the right moments of truth, and also detect customers and accounts likely to churn, and provide the visibility to know what is driving that behaviour. By anticipating customer needs, an organisation can create a true sense of loyalty and stronger relationships,” Mr Marks said.

3. Be embedded

Finally, retailers need to embed activation into their CX program. This means businesses should embrace a platform that can guide the organisation towards action to deliver a comprehensive digital customer experience.

“Action is the key to improving the customer experience. It’s one thing to collect and analyse data but to make a customer experience program come to life, it’s essential to take the right actions based on those insights. A best in class closed loop feedback program is no longer optional. It is crucial to implement the infrastructure that can identify and facilitate those actions at scale for the business,” he said.