Business areas that impact customer growth and retention are increasingly complex. With organic advocacy being more important now than ever, here's how to leverage better communication, customer research, and UX to build your growth strategy.

What turns customers into advocates for your business?

This, we sat down with communication, UX and research experts from across our network to learn how to build a manageable cross-business strategy that turns your customers into authentic ambassadors for your brand.

This article is comprised of key learnings from our virtual workshop for cross-business customer leaders, ‘The A-Z of Customer Excellence.’ Join an upcoming session here.

Getting Started - Framing your Customer Strategy

Customer and user experience is a broad part of a business, branching into many different specialisms and areas such as brand voice, personalisation, referrals & rewards and so on.

So, how do you know if your existing customer strategy is up to scratch?

Getting Started - How The Customer Experience is Changing

With the pandemic changing how many of us interacted with brands, we began by asking our panel about the key trends and challenges that are impacting how customers perceive a brand.

Changing Customer Expectations

Mike Cooper, Head of Customer Experience at Trinity McQueen explains that over the past two or three years, customer expectations have gone through the roof.

“New competitors and brands are now operating in established markets and have ripped up the rulebook. They have driven expectations higher than ever before. 

Mike Cooper of Trinity McQueen discusses planning and implementing a customer experience strategy


People have a baseline of what their expectation should be, and the pandemic has dialled this up. People were forced into new ways of interacting with brands online and have continued to use online services where before they would not have done.”   

A Growing Customer Experience Gap

After surveying 362 firms, one statistic from Bain & Company shows that 80% of companies believed they delivered “superior experience” for their customers. 

The customers themselves, however, had a completely different perception, with only 8% saying that companies were delivering to their expectations. 

Experience gaps pop up everywhere,” Mike continues. “This is also the case for what customers expect verses their actual experience. If you can identify the gaps and know how to fill them in, you can drive a stronger outcome.” 

Getting Started – Framing your Digital Customer Experience and UX

We asked Armin Talic, Commercial Director at KOMODO, how he would go about evaluating the existing Customer Experience (CX) performance of a business.

Experience your Customer Journey for yourself

The first port of call? Make sure you actually understand what your customers are dealing with.

“Firstly, all senior decision makers should review their product catalogue end-to-end. Most haven’t done this since their onboarding. From this, they’ll get a good sense of what is working well.


The next layer is figuring out how to choose the right questions to ask consumers. 

You need to understand the type of info you need, and to do this, you need to understand the business.

When you have the questions, there are several ways you can go about getting the feedback. Incentives and competitions aren’t a great way to get subjective feedback, because this feedback tends to be more positive.” 

Read more: Creating an Effective Market Analysis Strategy

Getting Started – Framing your Customer Communication and Voice

One of the key factors that make or break a customer experience is how you communicate with them.

Neil Taylor, Founder of Schwa*, a specialist tone-of-voice agency, shared the best time to prioritise something like tone of voice for a business.

“As early as possible. Part of tone-of-voice is deciding how you want to come across. That bit needs to happen early, and will help you decide on metrics."

Richard Trigg, Product Experience Partner at Tangent backs up the importance of a human voice and good communication as part of your customer experience.

“Sometimes, you need to be human in the way you come across. For companies looking to improve, it’s acknowledging that we’re not quite there yet, but we’re trying.

Design and copy go hand in hand. Get them working together, and you’ll be good.” 

Key learnings for framing your Customer Experience Strategy:

  • Remember, the customer landscape is more competitive than ever
  • Combine real customer feedback with internal perceptions of your CX to overcome the experience gap
  • Review your customer journey from start to finish before you try to make changes
  • Use the right questions to assess your current CX strategy

Building your CX Strategy - Mapping your Resource and Getting Buy-In

Resource is a key factor when planning any strategy. You need to assess your capabilities and build on what you already have. You might discover that you simply don’t have the capacity to achieve the results you are looking for (which is a good time to engage in external support.) 

Building your CX Strategy – How to prioritise resource for limited capacity 

Resource is a key factor when planning any strategy. You need to assess your capabilities and build on what you already have. You might discover that you simply don’t have the capacity to achieve the results you are looking for (which is a good time to engage in external support.) 

One of the problems in knowing where to prioritise resource, is that there are often hundreds of different touch-points across a business.

How do you know which of these to work on when resource is limited? 

Assessing the 'impact' of each touchpoint

Mike says that you need to get an understanding of what customers are trying to achieve from each interaction. “You can then start to map back and see which part of the journey are helping or hindering them. Among all the touch-points, some will make no impact on the overall experience. 

Tactics for Finding the Blockers

To prioritise resource, you need to understand which are the big blockers; the ones that will lead customers to reassess their choice.

You can do this in a number of ways, including:

  • Touchpoint surveys - but bear in mind that people are not always great at reflecting on their own behaviour
  • Observation - using digital tracking tools to follow people on their natural journey. 

Building your CX Strategy – Gaining cross-business buy-in

One of the common themes when talking about a broader strategy like customer experience are the silos between different departments of the business.

It can often seem like too big of a problem to resolve

Gaining Senior Buy-In

Neil starts by saying that businesses usually have an intuitive sense of what’s going wrong, and how they would like to change things.

“The difficult question is, ‘who owns it?’ Customer experience is often no-one’s job.

You first need to see how you can get a group of people moving in the same direction, and this often requires support from the top to make it happen.” 

Neil Taylor of Schwa* discusses planning and implementing a customer experience strategy

Mike backs this up by saying, “organisations that have the most success are ones that have buy-in at a senior level. They need to make sure that all parts of the business are talking to each other.” 


Armin says that, in smaller businesses especially, people will say that they’ve got bigger problems on their hands and that they’ve got too many day-to-day tasks to address the problem. 

“When something is complex, people shy away from it. Recognise that it’s going to take time and effort

When we speak to teams, we ask ‘how long do you think you have to solve the problem.’ We see the most success when teams that are traditionally seen as siloed work well together.”

Key learnings for building your CX strategy:

  • Work through your customer journey step by step before assigning resource to any one area
  • Use touchpoint surveys and observations to understand your ‘big blockers’
  • For larger initiatives that work across siloes, engage senior leadership as soon as possible

Implementation - Running an Effective CX initiative

You know the pain points, you know where to start, and you’ve got buy-in from the senior leadership team - now the work begins.

Implementation - Maintaining accountability with key team members

The scope of a CX project can mean maintaining stakeholder engagement and accountability is one of the biggest challenges.

Richard emphasises the importance of engaging the team regularly to keep momentum. “From a product perspective, because there are many people involved, it’s about getting everyone excited in what you’re doing. 

Allow people to have their feedback, and keep them informed about the journey that you’re going on.” 

Armin warns that for larger projects, blocks will evolve from a poor understanding of who’s involved in the project. “It’s important to educate your team about who is responsible for the work, who’s accountable for the design and who needs consulting and informed. This generally stops disagreements.” 

Implementation - Getting feedback on Digital CX efforts

When implementing a new strategy, it’s important to get as much feedback on it as possible. It will allow you to know what’s working, and where there might be potential gaps.

Richard explained that traditional usability testing changed a lot over the pandemic.

“You also need to consider whether you are looking to continuously track performance, or just need a little hit of feedback. What is your ‘North Star’ metric, something that you are always trying to do."

Tools for tracking your Digital platform performance

There are now a lot of good, unmoderated platforms where you can put out a question and get responses back within the day.

You can also use things like AI eye-tracking tools to see where people are drawn to on your website, which is interesting from a design perspective."

Some examples of tracking tools to help are:

Richard Trigg of Tangent discusses planning and implementing a customer experience strategy

Implementation - When to review your Customer Experience Strategy

Having the tools to be able to track your efforts is one thing, how often you are doing this is another.

So, how often should you be coming back to the drawing board to review your customer strategy?

Richard gives what he describes as the ‘lame’ answer - always.

An 'Always-on' Approach to your Customer Strategy

"You can’t just go in and say 'let’s look at our customer experience today.' You need to find a way to bake it in so it can happen naturally.

Customer experiences is a massive challenge, so don’t beat yourself up about things. Don’t expect everything to change in six months.” 

“In terms of frequency,” says Mike, “if you have a strong culture in the business along with the people and mechanisms, keep tracking as frequent as possible. If you don’t have this in place, you might not hear about the ‘bad’ things. You’ve got to make sure the process isn’t biased.” 

Armin sums it up by saying “CX is not a single project. It must be a continuous part of your business. Think about how everything you do impacts the customer.’

Armin Talic of KOMODO discusses planning and implementing a customer experience strategy


Key learnings for running an effective Customer Experience strategy

  • Get your team excited in the project by engaging them for feedback
  • With larger projects, ensure clarity on who is responsible for what
  • For UX projects, objective tools can provide feedback on your performance
  • Where possible, bake Customer Experience metrics into your everyday business processes - rather than running one-off projects.


Remember - Customer Excellence isn’t one-size-fits-all

Finally, it’s important to remember that not everyone will have, or indeed will want, the same experience as someone else.

As Mike puts it, “Look at your strategy through different groups of customers. One of the learnings from looking at developing an experience strategy is that people don’t want the same experience.

As such, you shouldn’t have a ‘one-size-fits-all’ strategy."


These learnings were all shared in our dedicated virtual workshop series for business leaders, DRIVE. Join an upcoming session here

If you're looking to update your customer communication strategy, refresh your UX, or find out more about your customer behaviour, the GO! Network can help. Find out more about our cost-free agency search process here.