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Optimizing the Customer Experience

Businesses – especially those in the services sector – thrive on the sustained and repeated support of their customers. The most successful ones are those that anticipate customer needs and go above and beyond in delivering a great customer experience.  Have you thought about optimizing the customer experience as a deliberate business strategy lately?  If not, join us for an exploration into the concept, and hopefully provide you with some practical suggestions to incorporate into your planning.  


What is “CX”? 

Customer experience (CX) is the sum of all the interactions and emotions that a customer has with a service business, from first impressions through to the final piece of service delivery. It includes factors such as timeliness and quality of service, ease of the process, responsiveness of the staff, and the satisfaction of the outcome. CX is not just a buzzword, it is a crucial factor that influences customer loyalty, retention, referrals, and revenue. 


Why CX is important for service businesses 

Service businesses are different from product businesses in many ways.  As opposed to their goods-based counterparts, service businesses’ offerings can be more intangible and final “products” are often a result of a co-creation process.  Generally speaking, service businesses also face more competition and higher customer expectations than those offering clearly-defined goods. 

As a result, service businesses need to differentiate themselves by delivering a superior and consistent CX that meets or exceeds the customer’s needs and wants.  Not yet convinced?  Consider the following: 

  • Customer loyalty and retention. Customers who have a positive CX are more likely to stay with the service business, buy more services, and renew their contracts.  In fact, one study found that 73% of customers identified CX is an important factor in their purchasing decisions, and 65% of customers identified positive CX as being more influential than great advertising (PwC, 2018). 
  • Increased referrals and word-of-mouth promotion. Customers who have a positive CX are more likely to recommend the service business to their friends, family, and colleagues, and to leave positive reviews and ratings online.  In one survey measuring the impact of social media on business outcomes, a staggering 92% of customers stated they would trust business recommendations from people they know, and 70% of customers stated they trust online reviews from people they don’t (Nielsen, 2012). 
  • Significant boosts to revenue and profitability. Customers who have a positive CX are more willing to pay a premium for the service, and to buy additional or complementary services.  In fact, customer retention rates of just 5% can increase profits by 25% to 95% – not to mention that the cost of acquiring a new customer has been estimated as being up to five times more than retaining an existing one. (Forbes Business Council, 2022). 


How service businesses can improve CX 

Improving CX is not a one-time project, but a continuous process that requires a customer-centric culture, a clear strategy, and a systematic approach. Here are some of the steps that service businesses can take to improve CX: 

  • Understand the customer journey. The customer journey is the sequence of steps that a customer goes through when interacting with a service business, from the awareness stage to a final sales or service transaction. Service businesses need to map out the customer journey in detail, determining how to measure customer satisfaction and obtain feedback for potential improvements at each stage. 
  • Empower your service staff.  Particularly in a service context, your team members are the face and voice of the business, and they have a direct impact on the CX, right from the moment of first impressions. Empower your staff, through the provision of training, tools, and incentives to encourage them to be empathetic, proactive, and responsive to the customer’s needs and emotions. 
  • Collect and analyze customer data. Customer data is the information that can be collected from the customer – beyond general demographics, this information can provide valuable insights into preferences, behaviors, and general feedback; when turned into business intelligence, this can help to stem complaints (or at least provide helpful cues on how to most effectively respond to complaints), personalize the service experience, and identify areas for potential improvement and innovation. 

Making the customer experience important for service businesses is not a choice, but a necessity in today’s competitive and dynamic market. Service businesses that invest in CX can gain a competitive edge, build loyal and profitable relationships, and create value for both the customers and themselves. 


Facilitated Feedback Sessions as a means to CX improvement  

Especially when there are known issues with CX, convening live or virtual “deep dive” feedback sessions with representatives of the customer base can be an incredibly valuable tool to learn more from the customer perspective and better inform potential improvement plans.  In such cases, engaging a neutral facilitator to support feedback sessions can support the removal of business owner bias and otherwise free up business owners to fully participate in discussions with their target audience, without needing to worry about keeping agendas on track or ensuring individual participants receive equal opportunity for airtime.  


A Closer Look at the Facilitation Process

  • Setting the Stage: The facilitator meticulously prepares for the engagement session. This includes selecting the right participants, choosing relevant topics, and crafting the agenda. They make sure that the right mix of customers is present and that the structure of the session promotes fruitful discussions. 
  • Guiding the Conversation: The facilitator directs the dialogue to be focused and valuable. They navigate the conversation towards productive ends, ensuring that time is well-spent. They balance the flow of dialogue, covering all necessary topics without letting any single perspective overshadow others. They keep the session on course, redirecting as needed. 
  • Creating Action Plans: The facilitator converts feedback from the engagement session into practical steps the business can implement. They assist in prioritizing these actions and delegating responsibilities. They ensure that the insights gained from customer engagement translate into tangible initiatives that drive the business’s progress. 

Our X5 Management team is ready and willing to support your organization’s facilitation needs for meetings designed to explore CX which can ground your understanding of status quo and how to take CX to the next level. Our team has had the privilege of partnering with many organizations who have undertaken facilitated discussions with their key customers to improve the overall CX, including the City of St. Albert. We are grateful to Mike Erickson, the City of St. Albert’s Director of Economic Development, who offers his perspective on the value of having a third-party engage in facilitation duties in conversations with key stakeholders, all focused on the topic of CX improvement:  

“X5 Management has been rock solid reliable for us. Their team has helped us with a series of business forums, and I’m always impressed by their ability to keep our business leaders engaged and focused, keeping the group on track, even when passion runs high.” 



Continuous attention to a service business’ CX is vital and helps to shape future business success.  It’s about actively listening and responding to customer needs, turning feedback into action, and fostering innovation. Every interaction is a chance to strengthen bonds and make customers feel integral to the brand’s narrative, not just for immediate retention, but also in service of creating long-term advocates.   

If you’re ready to engage your customers and propel your business forward by establishing an exceptional CX, consider utilizing the facilitation services provided by our X5 Management team. Together, we can turn conversations into concrete results, ensuring that the voice of the customer is not just heard, but acted upon for sustained success.  


About the Author: Hasan Ahmed, Operations Coordinator, X5 Management

As X5 Management’s first Operations Coordinator, Hasan is introducing new technologies to streamline the company’s operations and enhance service delivery.
Edmonton-born and driven by innovation, Hasan is passionate about applying his knowledge to the practical challenges of a growing business. He holds a BBA in Entrepreneurship and Innovation and is committed to making a significant impact in the business sector.
Hasan’s commitment to community service extends beyond his professional goals. He has been an active volunteer with several organizations in Edmonton, demonstrating a strong sense of social responsibility and a dedication to making a positive difference. His efforts in the community reflect his belief in the power of collective action and his desire to contribute to the greater good.



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X5 Management offers an extensive list of communication, team development, leadership, sales, and service-related programs that can support any businesses training and coaching needs in any industry.

If your business wants to take advantage of the Canada-Alberta Job Grant so that you can expand on your sales and service-related training for your employees, let’s discuss your organization’s training needs in a complimentary Discovery Meeting.

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