Aligning Customer Support and Customer Experience: Your How-To Guide

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February 3, 2022
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 min read
Jon Sidor

Today, customer support (CS) and customer experience (CX) are often treated as separate teams with different KPIs and metrics. More organizations, though, are waking up to the fact that aligning the two can yield scores of tangible rewards.

Here are our simple tips to get you started on your journey to alignment. We’ve supplemented our guide with insights from industry experts to showcase how alignment looks in practice.

 1) Forge your own path to success—but stay consistent

All kinds of techniques can bring customer support and experience closer together. Whichever you choose—stay consistent. 

A 2014 article from McKinsey states “consistency is the secret ingredient to making customers happy.” This means the whole customer journey should be prioritized, not individual interactions.  

Why? McKinsey found that optimizing customer journeys can:

  • Boost customer satisfaction by 20%
  • Increase revenues by 15%
  • Reduce the cost of serving customers by 20%

For a prominent example of a consistent alignment strategy, look no further than Apple.

Apple’s emphasis on consistency comes from the top down. Every day, Tim Cook answers up to 100 customer emails and shares the info he gains with all relevant teams. Team members are expected to act similarly, and robust feedback loops are able to emerge across the organization.

 2) Don’t overthink it—alignment comes from common sense and hard work 

To get greater cooperation, it doesn't take luck or some magic touch. In many cases, it requires time-consuming data analysis. 

For example, Amazon keeps its departments 100% data-driven. All customer interactions are analyzed. Jeff Bezos famously forwards emails from dissatisfied customers to team members and demands a fix within hours. 

 3) Prepare for a never-ending journey

Companies may be hesitant to unify the aims of CS and CX. It seems like a serious undertaking. But it’s still one worth pursuing. 

Aberdeen reports customer satisfaction rates increase 55% faster for companies that undergo customer service alignment than for those whose departments remain siloed. 

Likewise, aligned firms see customer retention rates rise 7.6 times faster and revenues go up 2.8 times faster.

What does everyday alignment look like?

Zappos, for instance, is world-renowned for providing stellar customer experiences. They say their customer feedback is a constant source of inspiration for all their teams. They “respond to every single customer inquiry, whether it’s via phone, email, live chat, Twitter, Facebook, Zappos blog, etc.”

 4) Embrace tools in your quest for excellent customer service

There are hundreds of available tools that can give your customer service a major upgrade. Going it alone is just asking for trouble—and unnecessary work. 

According to Forbes, automation tools save time, cut costs, and keep customer service teams scalable and flexible. They collect and interpret customer data, allowing you to share relevant info across teams in a single click.      

Zowie’s Ecosystem Map identifies over 100 pioneering CS and CX tools that are molding the New Wave of Customer Service. It includes diverse fields like Conversational AI, Customer Feedback, and Experience Management. For an in-depth look, find our guide here

 5) Accelerate your operations

McKinsey points out that the value of an “average” experience from a customer’s point of view has plummeted in the last decade. Today, customers are becoming more demanding and less patient.

This trend means the sooner you align and the quicker you act, the better. Major players have already set the bar high, and customer expectations are bound to increase.

Moving forward—together

True alignment between CS and CX is more vital now than ever before. 

As LinkedIn’s ebook The Art of Winning puts it, “if you’re looking at different data sets, and are incentivized by different goals, you’re not going to win customer love.” 

But alignment is also becoming more and more attainable. As we continue to exchange ideas and learn from one another, we’ll all get closer to finding our own path to success.   

Laura, Jenny, and Zoe shared more insights at our webinar, “How to align the KPIs of customer support and customer experience.” To listen to our full conversation, access the recording here.