3 Things to Look for in a Customer Experience Planning Partner

Picture this: You’ve given careful thought to how your customer will move from point A to point Z. You’ve based your planning on the customer journey you imagined. And then...surprise! Your customers are wandering right off that path and reaching point Z in a way that never occurred to you. 

Maybe this even sounds familiar, or speaks to you loud and clear. So, why is this happening? It’s not just the tunnel vision that can come from being too close to your own company or brand that brings these surprises. It's the power of the consumer to be able to do their homework before they buy, and share their experiences online for others to find as they plan their own shopping and purchasing.

It may be time to consider some outside expertise. Not just any “outside voice” can give you that help, though. It’s important to find a CX partner who will deliver the perspective and expertise you need in customer experience research and planning. We believe the best partners see the importance of a three-pillar approach:

  1. Utilize the expertise of those with valuable perspectives inside your company or industry
    We do this both at the start for setting expectations and transferring institutional knowledge, and at the end when stakeholders with critical responsibilities must be part of the innovation process to bring new experiences to customers.

  2. Bring research-driven insight to your planning process. 
    To influence an experience, you must understand the present state completely. Hunches and simple observations can provide ways to react to a customer experience, but they fall far short of providing the kind of research needed to create a good CX plan. 

    Experience research requires a view over time and digging deeper than what happened, to why a person chose an action. And it requires each layer of research to inform the next. Authentic insights must come from research to clearly define pain points, emotional/rational drivers, and opportunities that become the foundation for improvement and innovation.

  3. Collaborate to create innovation and optimize the future customer experience. 
    Utilizing co-creation sessions that are inter-disciplinary and based on human-centered design methods, we build iterative experiences–design; build; test; refine; test more; refine more–until the new customer experiences positively impact the brand. 

When these three concepts work together, the buy-in from internal stakeholders is highest, the research most useful, the insights most sharp, and the impact on your customer's experience maximized.