The Six PillarsTM are essential for customer experience best practice. Personalisation, Time & Effort, Expectations, Integrity, Resolution and Empathy are qualities that define the very best brands in the UK and United States, and mastering them is key to achieving a high ranking in the Customer Experience Excellence rankings. This task, can be risen to, provided that companies adhere to the principles laid out by The Six Pillars.

Stress-free, individualised attention

Chief amongst these is the pillar of Personalisation, which accounts for 30 per cent of the overall customer experience. It requires brands to show that they know the customer intimately, and have a knowledge of their past interactions and purchase history. Moreover, success is often seen in this pillar when brands can find interesting ways to use this knowledge for the betterment of the customer. The online retailer Amazon is certainly proficient in this, frequently listing product recommendations and past purchases when users land on its homepage, after they’ve been greeted by the personalised ‘hello’ message in the top right-hand corner.

Time & Effort is also important for customer experience best practice. In this pillar, companies need to make the customer’s time investment pleasurable, removing any unnecessary steps that could slow the process down, whilst letting the individual know how much time will actually be involved in achieving their objective.

Next there is the pillar of Expectations, and brands need to be careful when they set these before the customer. It is important that they are accurate in the details they convey, and that they continually manage the individuals’ expectations. Companies also need to understand where in the customer journey they need to be most accurate in delivering on promises, as a failure to do so can impact negatively on how they are perceived.

Caring for the customer’s emotional needs

For the pillar of Integrity, it is important for organisations to remember that customers tend to love the companies they trust. Therefore brands need to work hard at creating a good first impression, identifying key trust-building moments and ensuring that they deliver on them. Organisations should demonstrate that they stand for something more than profit for shareholders, and employ likeable, engaging individuals to help them convey this. For example, the cosmetics retailer Lush is particularly strong for Integrity; its animal rights values and responsibly-sourced product ingredients, together with its friendly and knowledgeable staff members, make it a brand that many shoppers are keen on visiting.

Next is the pillar of Resolution. This requires companies to take complete ownership of issues as soon as they arise, and see them through to the end. These issues should be dealt with at the point of first contact, and staff members should provide accurate timescales for resolution, whilst equipping customers with the means of solving problems themselves if they’d rather. The main aim of Resolution is to leave customers in a better position than they were before any issues arose, as this can help them to feel more positively about the brand as a whole.

Finally, there is the pillar of Empathy, and to master this aspect of CX management, brands need to invest time to listen to their customers. Its employees need to be emotionally intelligent, empowered to give the best responses depending on the thoughts and feelings of the individual. At the heart of Empathy is the need to establish an emotional connection with the customer at every point of interaction, and the brand should continually demonstrate that it cares personally about the individual’s wellbeing.

Book a place on The Six Pillars Masterclass

The Customer Experience Excellence Centre Training Academy is delivering a Six Pillars Masterclass in June which will cover the fundamentals of using Six Pillar thinking to build a strategy for delivering world class customer experiences. Book your place here.