6 Must-Haves in a Customer Experience Specialist
Customer experience (CX) encompasses every consumer touchpoint, making it the backbone of your brand experience. Managing all these micro-engagements is what CX is all about—which makes selecting the right CX partner one of the most critical decisions a marketer can make.
At D6, we’ve been on the forefront of customer experience for years. Over that time, we’ve identified six keys to identifying a quality CX agency. And while there is no magic bullet when it comes to choosing a partner, if you find someone who checks all these boxes, you can feel much more confident you’re working with an expert.
Don’t be too wowed by long lists of high-profile clients. While A-list experience can be a hallmark of a quality agency, it’s the actual work that matters most. So read the case studies and ask for examples of relevant experience. Just because they’ve rubbed elbows with a Fortune 500 company in the past doesn’t mean they’re the right fit for your needs. Spend some time getting to know their work and their track record. A little due diligence on your part can help weed out the résumé padders from those with deep, relevant experience—giving you confidence in how they’ll perform on the job.
A Thorough, Transparent Process
With so many touchpoints to manage, a detailed and granular approach to project management is critical to CX success. When it comes time to ask questions, make sure to ask about their process. Ask them about how they define major milestones in a project, what typical KPIs look like, and how they define success throughout the workflow, not just at the finish. Open-ended, vague deliverables aren’t your friend when it comes to CX. A process that includes specific, actionable, and measurable results is the hallmark of a company that’s been through this process before, so don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions about how they intend to get things done. Making sure both of you are on the same page about what constitutes success helps keep everyone in lockstep along the way.
Full Immersion in Your Business
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to CX, but every journey should begin with a commitment to get to know your business and your customers. Your prospective partner’s discovery process should be thorough enough that you feel like they know you and understand your customers’ unique needs. Someone who just wants to throw open their “playbook” and begin cutting and pasting your name into their “formula” might not be the bespoke approach you had in mind. Onboarding a partner can be tedious, but the results more than make up for the headache. Sweating the details on the front end is ultimately a shortcut to success.
A Deep, Experienced Bench
Who is your team? What does their individual experience look like? Who will be your contact point on a day-to-day basis? Take the time to get to know the key players, not just the “pitch team” they send to win your business. You’re going to spend a lot of time working with these people, so don’t underestimate chemistry and trust when it comes to long-term success.
What Do Their Clients Think of Them?
Third-party endorsements are a great way to gauge a new partner. Do they have previous clients lining up to sing their praises? What do these people think of the results this partner was able to obtain for them? Would previous clients use them again? Getting feedback from others who don’t have skin in your game is a great way to get a feel for them as a partner.
What’s It Going to Cost You?
Cost alone is a poor decision-making metric, but having a detailed, thorough accounting of the costs is a great way to gain insight into what this prospective partner intends to do for you. A detailed breakdown of costs is a telltale sign that they’ve done this before and know where to anticipate potential pain points and obstacles. A willingness to stand behind their quoted costs makes it more likely that they’re not just winging it, which can head off uncomfortable conflicts down the road.
So, in the selection of a CX partner, you do have to do your homework—but don’t be afraid to trust your gut.
There is no crystal ball when it comes to selecting a customer experience specialist. Ultimately, it comes down to a mix of experience, chemistry, and trust. Do your research. Ask the hard questions and sweat the details of the decision-making process. A little persistence on your part will quickly separate the experts from the amateurs, giving you the confidence you need to make your decision.