5 Main Benefits of Employing a Customer Experience Agency
In 2021, 44.5% of businesses worldwide considered Customer Experience (CX) to be a primary competitive differentiator, and another 48.5% thought of it as a partial differentiator.
This makes enhancing customer experience a high priority for a huge number of businesses. But how can you be sure the changes in strategy needed to improve CX are having their desired results? It can be hard to tell when looking from the inside out.
Many businesses turn to outside help, in the form of Customer Experience Agencies. In this blog, we explore the five most important and impactful benefits of employing a customer experience agency. This includes how they can help your company effect changes in strategy, build a consistent brand experience, and improve brand loyalty and advocacy.
What Is a Customer Experience Agency?
A customer experience agency is a specialized company that helps businesses to enhance and optimize the ways they interact with buyers. This is achieved by measuring the performance of their customer-facing aspects across a wide range of touchpoints and channels.
These agencies will work closely with a business to gauge employee and customer expectations and needs, then create strategies to enhance the experience provided.
The central aim of a CX agency is to help businesses to deliver consistent, personalized, and excellent customer experiences in line with the brand’s value proposition. With this focus on customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy, these agencies help companies build their brand reputation, foster long-term customer relationships, and grow their business.
What Are the Benefits of Employing a Customer Experience Agency?
There are many services an agency can provide, and just as many benefits that come with them. However, in order to keep this blog concise, here are 5 of the biggest and most important benefits in our eyes:
- Unique Expertise and Specialization
- Informed, Unbiased Perspective
- Improved Efficiency and Cost Savings, (including improved ROI on advertising and human capital investments)
- Enable Businesses to Employ a Customer-Centric Approach
- Detailed Knowledge of Industry Benchmarks and Best Practices
Unique Expertise and Specialization
CX agencies specialize in assessing and improving the interactions between a business and its customers. These interactions will be any point of contact buyers have with a business. This includes the products and services provided, how policies and procedures affect the customer, and staff-customer communication.
An agency will be able to perform services such as:
- Creating and implementing customer journey maps
- Analyzing buyer behavior
- Identifying pain points
- Ensuring employees comply with choreographed expectations
- Making it easy for customers to provide feedback
- Developing effective strategies to enhance the overall brand experience.
By leveraging these services, businesses can evolve their practices and gain a strong positioning in their industry. However, most companies cannot self-audit in this way. More than that, it would be prohibitively expensive and time-consuming for them to set up divisions that could.
Thus, the services that a CX Agency provides are unique, in that they are at once highly specialized, and available for a fraction of the cost of a similar internal audit.
Informed, Unbiased Perspective
Another benefit to hiring an external CX Agency is the unbiased perspective they can provide.
Feedback from internal audits is always at risk of being influenced by those in the company whose careers or bonuses as stakeholders could be affected. With an external assessor, this is no longer an issue. There is no value to an agency in providing skewed data. This means their evidence-based insight and feedback can be relied upon as an accurate reflection of the business when viewed from the outside.
Agency evaluations, in effect, raise a mirror up to the company, and allow stakeholders to make decisions based on the impartial view they are given.
As part of this, mystery shoppers/brand agents dispatched by agencies are armed with the knowledge of how the experience should be. This means they can pick out staff members who do a good job of delivering that intended experience. When you put people like this in the right frontline positions, it creates positive customer interactions that then contribute to conversion and a strong brand reputation.
Most self-evaluation methods a company could employ – such as Net Promoter Score, or feedback cards – could not pinpoint these staff members, as they are based on the views of uninformed customers. A member of the public will have no knowledge of what the intended experience should be, they will only react to how they’re treated. Therefore, it is imperative that brand authenticity is measured in order to be managed.
CX agencies can help align brand messaging, values, and touchpoints to be consistent throughout the customer journey. This allows a business to deliver a coherent and excellent experience that creates a positive brand perception, distinguishes them from rivals, and builds long-term customer bonds.
Improve Efficiency and Increase Return on Investment
A good CX agency makes creating strategies to improve interactions an efficient process. They have the tools to analyze customer experience data, identify bottlenecks, and streamline touchpoints.
Consider how much capital is spent on Advertising, Marketing and Promotion. The aim of this spend is to drive footfall through the doors of brick and mortar locations, mouse clicks to a website, calls to a call center, etc.
Then consider how much less is invested in human capital (through recruiting, hiring, and training) to support the brand value proposition that advertising promotes. By optimizing processes and removing friction at various frontline touchpoints, businesses can improve efficiency, and reduce costs involved in customer support, returns, and complaints. All of this can be achieved while also driving conversions and improving morale throughout the enterprise by rewarding aligned performance and behavior.
These benefits also apply to employee incentivization and compensation schemes. The best CX Agencies understand that employee compensation MUST be tied to customer experience metrics (employee engagement, conversion, complaints, Units Per transaction, avg sale, wallet share etc.) and not simply a score like NPS or Mystery Shopping scores.
Any bonus schema tied exclusively to NPS or mystery shopping scores are inefficient at best. At worst it can create resentment toward the metrics and be actively wasteful, or even detrimental to the operations of the company as a whole.
If an employee’s compensation and bonus depends on a set of KPI’s, that is where they will focus their energies. Those KPIs may well be an important factor in the success of the business, but if they aren’t suitably inclusive there will be other areas that are neglected in favor of the KPIs.
With the tools and services made available by employing a CX agency, a business can measure multiple KPIs with ease. They can then offer compensation that accurately reflects the impact staff members’ actions have had on the success of the company.
By placing their focus on a spread of metrics, businesses can see the return on investment (ROI) of their customer experience initiatives. This allows them to make evidence-based decisions when it comes to future improvements.
Enable Businesses to Take a Customer-Centric Approach
Customer-centric experience means placing the wants and needs of your customers at the center of your business model. CX Agencies will conduct in-depth research, gather buyer feedback and employee insights, and use factual analysis to design customer-centric strategies.
By getting an insight into what prospective buyers want and expect, businesses can tailor their products, services, and interactions to meet those needs. Over time, this will lead to increased buyer satisfaction and loyalty.
However, this starts with the knowledge that “human capital” (i.e. customer-facing & back of house Staff, executive management, the recruiting, hiring and on-boarding of staff) is at the center of good CX.
The customer experience seen in interactions consumers have with your brand is only the tip of the iceberg. All the dealings that go on behind the scenes, the processes that allow those interactions to take place, are crucial in creating consistent and excellent experiences.
Detailed Knowledge of Industry Benchmarks and Best Practices
CX agencies can compare a business’s performance to industry standards, competitors, case studies, and other successful customer-centric brands. Benchmarking in this way helps to identify areas where the business excels or lags. This provides insight as to what strategic changes could be made to improve or enhance these areas.
In addition, as they can measure multiple KPIs impartially, agencies can give businesses a solid grasp on their current situation, on which they can base their project management.
To reiterate the point made earlier, these benefits are merely a broad-brush view of what can be gained through employing a CX agency. The impact an agency can have will differ greatly between industries, and even between companies in an industry.
If you want to learn more about what employing an agency like Service Evaluation Concepts could do for your business, we would encourage you to get in contact with us.
We have been helping companies ranging from single location startups to multinational corporations for over 35 years. With our years of experience and global network of over 600,000 brand agents, there is no project too small, too large or too specific for us.
CEO & Managing Director of Service Evaluation Concepts. Dedicated to driving brand experience forward with the tools that ensure the reality in the the customer corridor is aligned with the promoted brand value proposition.