4 Stages of Customer Experience Maturity

Brent Avila

Read Time

4 minute read

As younger brands grow and attain higher levels of maturity, their operations reflect an ability to serve a wider audience. These companies often have multiple products or support offerings, marketing that appeals to targeted groups, and diverse revenue streams. What may not always match that level of maturity within a company is their customer experience capabilities, which some businesses treat as an afterthought.

A customer support team that matures at the same pace as the rest of the business can make all the difference between a company’s success and its downfall. Developing and sharpening your customer experience program takes clear intentionality and understanding when your organization is ready to take the next step.

Typically, companies that are slow to mature in the customer experience department struggle to maintain consistency in their messaging and miss out on providing essential recurring value to loyal customers. Fortunately, company leaders can identify clear stages in their team’s development with the right guidance. By understanding this natural progression, they can take specific steps to drive the maturation that their business needs.

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Stage 1: Reactive Service

A customer support division for a new brand is often reactive at best, with channels designed for reactive support. Usually, reactive service is provided through a phone number or email address, maybe with an agent or two standing by or with support outsourced overseas.

Reactive channels are considered an “immature” level of support that offers the bare minimum with a direct line of communication between the brand and customer. By the time your company has reached a significant level of sales and a strong online presence, it’s likely time to ramp up your support efforts and move into the next stage.

Stage 2: Proactive Support

Expanding the channel options for your customer support team opens up communication between your brand and your shoppers to assist, guide, and even upsell them during their ecommerce experiences. With the rising ubiquity of chatbots and SMS, customer experience teams can be far more proactive than ever before.

In this second stage of maturity, a savvy support team can intercept and interact with interested shoppers or concerned parties with less friction by engaging them on existing channels. At this point in a company’s customer support trajectory, the goals are still focused on efficiency and immediate revenue drivers, although using proactive channels hints at an interest in providing a deeper connection to customers.

Stage 3: Meaningful Interaction

By the time a company has mastered the two-way street of proactive and reactive customer support, its multichannel approaches have fostered an approachable experience. With this solid foundation, businesses have the opportunity to take their efforts a step further using regular, back-and-forth communication to maintain long-term conversations with customers.

These relationship development techniques go beyond just sending promo codes or notifications about flash sales to drive intermittent profits. Instead, by this point in customer experience maturity, a support team would be trying to facilitate a deeper connection with the customer.

Moving beyond a transactional relationship, the company Jim Shukys’ Auto wrote personal thank you cards for long-time customers to show an appreciation for their repeat business. These efforts can put companies on the map and show an unprecedented commitment to support. Modern platforms like Gladly make it easy to provide these thoughtful experiences since support heroes can see a full picture of the customer’s conversation history and past purchases.

Stage 4: Consistent Scalability

After consistent growth and repeated doubling down on making the customer experience as thorough and thoughtful as possible, the next phase of maturity for companies is all about flexibility. By this point, customers have a strong loyalty to the business regardless of how they interact with them.

Here, the company can invest in better technology, training, or hiring that frees up the organization to scale customer experience at optimal speeds. They can deploy quickly to any channel and expand without breaks in support with little to no issue in performance, creating a versatile and powerful support system for a business to accelerate capabilities.

The journey to a mature, refined customer experience division takes a great deal of patience and attention toward your shoppers’ needs and your team’s capabilities. Companies that take the time to identify their growth stage, using assessments like Gladly’s own here, can gain insight into their progress and necessary next steps.

Companies that achieve best-in-class customer experiences do so by closely tracking their advances along the maturity curve and using that intel to create strategies that push them to the next level. With a growth mindset baked into your company’s philosophy, you can also build a customer experience program that makes your brand flourish.

About Gladly

Gladly is a customer service platform for digitally-focused B2C companies who want to maximize the lifetime value of their customers. Unlike the legacy approach to customer service software, which is designed around a ticket or case to enable workflows, Gladly enables radically personal customer service centered around people to sustain customer loyalty and drive more revenue.

The world’s most innovative consumer companies like Godiva, JOANN, and TUMI use Gladly to create lasting customer relationships, not one-off experiences. 

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