Digital channels have transformed the customer experience battlefront. The terrain has changed and it’s more challenging than ever, as the battle for customer experiences is a 24/7 job. Today’s consumers expect access to information and services whenever and wherever they want – along with personalized, consistent, and attentive customer experiences (similar to the ones they already receive from big brands like Amazon, Apple, and Starbucks). As a result, companies must create a unified customer experience (CX) strategy.

This new methodology should have the agility and flexibility to anticipate customer needs, act, and react to their changing preferences, and predict problems before they arise. This, in turn, will lead to better business outcomes – as customer experience leaders see a 25% increase in revenue over customer experience laggards, according to Forrester.

Unfortunately, old marketing tactics will no longer cut it for new CX thinking. Mass-marketing, stand-alone campaigns, product-centric messages, and programs that don’t tie tactics to ROI are not conducive to positive customer experiences. Instead, brands need to rely on innovative strategies to ensure they deliver a personalized, relevant, and exceptional experience their customers will enjoy whenever, whenever, and however they want.

This is essential, as if experiences fail, even the most loyal of customers are willing to leave – 1 in 3 consumers say they will walk away from a brand they love after just one bad experience, according to PWC.

So, how can you make exceptional experiences happen? Marketers can create a new battle plan by “reverse engineering” the customer experience, which involves deconstructing, analyzing, and reworking your company’s current customer interactions to help optimize CX more quickly and with fewer resources in the future.

While reverse engineering may require you to step back and figure out how the customer experience is actually created, by doing so you will break down the factors that go into creating the customer experience to see how it actually works for your brand.  

Six Steps to Breaking Down the CX

Step 1: Understand your customers. To begin the reverse engineering process, first research and discover what your customers want and need the most – as well as trends and problems that might be on their radar in the future. This will allow you to predict their preferences and issues in advance – meaning a more intelligent and seamless experience. Secondly, visualize what your ideal customer experience should look like and implement it. Begin to consider how you can integrate the insights you found into every action and decision your organization makes – from cold leads to conversion to loyalty programs.

Step 2: Assess where you stand. Determine where your company falls on the spectrum of centricity. Are you behind the curve, stuck in the past relying on traditional forms of communication? Are you making strides by taking steps to adapt to the digital age (e.g. deploying market resource management and/or digital asset management technology) but still falling short on a consistent, personalized CX? Or are you setting the pace, having already optimized resources to deliver an integrated, exceptional brand experience however different consumers want it?

Step 3: Realign your organization. Most businesses have a siloed approach to customer experience as every department aims to deliver different messages to the same consumers. To streamline the customer experience, brands must transform how their organization interacts with customers across the entire lifecycle, which involves creating a unified brand experience strategy that all departments and roles must abide by when working with customers. This may be the most difficult step for your organization and require a change management initiative to ensure all are on board.

Step 4: Establish new methods. Engage with the CX owners within each department in your business to create a CX task force. With new CX teams formed, they can jointly develop a new mindset of creating content, campaigns, and interactions that focus on your customer’s buying journey rather than your products. Instead of sending multiple messages from different product teams, strive to send a unified experience across all channels.

Step 5: Implement an experience command center. To optimize growth and cater to customers, businesses need to balance digital agility with a human touch. The sheer volume of content needed to keep pace with customers is overwhelming to marketers. Legacy operations don’t have the agility to support this new reality – signifying a widespread need for MRM and DAM systems that can automate ideation, planning, budgeting, and creation processes.

Step 6: Measure effectiveness. Intelligent insights are crucial to assessing and optimizing performance, understanding your customers and accelerating speed to market. Programs that are equipped with AI and analytics can help you gain insights for behind-the-scenes activities involved in creating customer experiences. Further, they’ll help your company identify what’s working and what’s not, in order to continuously improve, and even recommend the next best step to take.

Through the reversing the CX process and re-aligning the focus of customer experiences away from products and services, and instead toward those you serve, customers will quickly learn that they come first. This increased sense of trust will help customers realize your business understands their problems, values their opinions, and can anticipate their future needs – meaning they’ll look to your company for guidance, no matter what stage they are in the buyer’s journey.

Not only will they remember these positive experiences when it comes time to make a purchase down the line, but they will be more likely to share these exceptional experiences with their social networks, whether online or by word-of-mouth – naturally improving awareness for your brand. While reverse engineering your customer experience process may not be quick or easy, the outcome will pay off. The end result is an audience of captivated, loyal and lifelong customers.