As a member of United’s MileagePlus loyalty program, I’m keenly aware through the airline’s marketing that it is approaching its 40th anniversary. Quite a milestone for what is considered the second-longest active airline loyalty program. To me, the most interesting element is not the program lasted 40 years (or was the second one developed), but the fact that United launched it in just 10 days.
You can read the full story about it here. Forty years of a program that started as a response to another airline’s loyalty program, built in 10 days, still rolling along today and including an individual who is the world’s most frequent flyer at 20 million miles. It can claim 100 million members, which accounts for over 50% of the airline’s revenue according to some measures.
Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day
I cannot imagine a loyalty program being built in a day, or even 10 days. In today’s world, the first review of the legal terms and conditions would last at least 10 days! The marketing copy itself would take weeks to write, test and approve.
A customer experience (CX) strategy involves quite a few steps and a number of decisions. One company I know decided to start measuring one day, and the next day had selected a provider with a goal of beginning measurement as soon as humanly possible. I have also worked with a company that took almost two years before it set goals or started measurement.
Would you say you can build a CX strategy in a day? Or should it take longer? How much longer? To answer, we should begin by asking a few key questions to determine what steps to include:
- Is it enough to build a customer segmentation and needs analysis? Or should you have a CX touchpoint inventory before having a strategy?
- Should you invest in a market analysis to understand competitive strengths and weaknesses in the CX? Which KPI (such as NPS) is most relevant to your business?
- Does the building end when you start measuring customer experience?
- Or perhaps when you start closing the loop with customers?
Related Article: The 3 Golden Rules of Customer Experience
CX Strategy Built in a Day
It might be a controversial view, but I believe you can build a CX strategy in a day. I also believe it should continue to be built upon in perpetuity. It just takes a team of stakeholders and decision-makers to decide to make the customer central in any company decisions. It can happen in one meeting.
Sure, you’ll still need buy-in and to decide on what to include in the customer satisfaction survey — both touchpoints and measurements and aligning it all with business outcomes. Still, the decision to be customer-centric just takes a commitment by everyone on day one.
But the strategy does not end there. Continue to evaluate and evolve it. You will need innovation, updated strategy and updated measurement. Only in that way, will you have a CX strategy that keeps customers happy and loyal — perhaps for the next 40 years.
Ken has over two decades of experience in the marketing research, retail, technology, hospitality and transportation industries with a recent focus on financially linked business insights, SaaS deployments and CX consultation. This ties in with his long history of P&L responsibility and detailed understanding of improving business operations.