Customer experience, or CX, has emerged as a vital business strategy for all types of organizations, including associations. Adrienne Bryant, CAE, account executive at IntrinXec Management, Inc., explains what associations can do to keep the member point of view in mind.
What are the key principles of customer experience?
A customer experience strategy is an outside-in business focus on what the external customer sees, reads, hears, and experiences when they interact with your organization, as well as any “touches” a customer feels through staff interactions.
The Customer Experience Professionals Association defines six core competencies for CX professionals. While they are all important, I believe three of them offer the best introduction: customer experience strategy, customer-centric culture, and experience design, improvement, and innovation.
Where should associations focus first?
A great place to start would be your website. In most cases, it’s the first touchpoint a prospective member has with your organization. Ask yourself: How easy is it for users to find simple information? Can they easily join or register for an event? Look at the website through the user’s eyes. A successful strategy that many organizations take is engaging a user experience (UX) expert to assess a website’s ease of use.
What skills do staff need to do this well?
To become a CX leader, you need basic problem-solving and relationship-building skills. You’ll also want to learn basic project management principles because CX is all about managing people and time. Design thinking and customer co-creation principles are integral to the journey-mapping process you’ll use to understand the emotions and challenges that your customers face as they interact with you. Finally, tap into soft skills, like the ability to influence change without direct management authority.
[This article was originally published in the Associations Now print edition, titled “See What Your Member Sees."]