When you hear the word “holistic,” what do you think of? For a lot of people, holistic medicine pops into mind. For me, it’s the Douglas Adams novel, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency.
Chances are, customer experience isn’t your first thought. But more and more companies are talking about holistic CX as the path to business success. So, what is holistic CX? And more importantly, why should you care?
Why holistic CX is more than just a buzzword
Thinking of customer experience as a holistic endeavor isn’t new, and it certainly isn’t the only trending buzzword. In a world where customer experience is everything, companies are having to see business from the customer’s point of view and adapt their strategy accordingly.
And customers don’t see business in terms of individual teams or departments or campaigns – they see a single – and yes, holistic – brand. So it tracks that in order to deliver experiences that customers want, companies need to look at the whole experience, and how all the moving pieces work together.
In Dirk Gently, the main character defines “holistic” as the “inter-connectivity of all things.” It’s about looking at the bigger picture and understanding how it all fits together.
“I see the solution to each problem as being detectable in the pattern and web of the whole. The connections between causes and effects are often more subtle and complex than we with our rough and ready understanding of the physical world might naturally suppose.”
– Douglas Adams, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency
In CX, success is about seeing the forest and the trees. You need to optimize each piece of the whole (be it your commerce, customer service, or retail experience, your front-end or back-end processes), and how they work together. You cannot upgrade your internal platform without also looking at how you can improve your external processes, and still expect customers to stick around.
How to take a more holistic approach to CX
Of course, understanding why the most effective CX requires a holistic approach is much easier than actually implementing it. In today’s competitive landscape, it can be easy to lose sight of long-term goals in an effort to drive more immediate results. And shifting your customer experience strategy from tactical to holistic is a much more long-term investment.
But studies show that, if done right, it’s an investment that will pay off:
- Customers will pay up to 16% more for products and services with great CX
- 63% of consumers say they’d share more information with a company that offers a great experience
And this does not just impact B2C brands. 66% of B2B customers have cut ties with a company due to poor customer experience.
- Accept that there’s no single “customer journey”
With infinite combinations of channels, touchpoints, and interactions, it’s impossible to map out one single customer journey that can drive your customer experience. Instead of optimizing one linear journey, think about each element (in-store, social, e-commerce, field service, etc.) and determine what it would take to wow customers whenever they engage.
- Start from the inside out
The first step towards unifying your entire brand experience for your customer is to break down the internal company silos that lead to those disconnects. Enable your various department to work together, rather than competing with each other, by establishing internal processes designed to increase transparency and collaboration.
- Build that coveted customer profile
This is where that collaborative internal system is key. When you can start building the single, comprehensive customer profile we keep hearing about, and every department has access to the most up-to-date and accurate customer information, it is much easier to deliver personalized customer experiences and eliminate the need for customers to explain their interaction history every time they engage with your brand.
The best thing about integrating your customer experience strategy is being able to give your customers true moments of joy, whether it’s from a surprisingly easy customer service interaction, the perfect product recommendation, or simply saving them valuable minutes in their day.