The Six-Step Action Plan for Moving Forward
There is no magic in creating one great customer experience. The difficulty is in providing great customer experiences at every transaction. Here are the six key ingredients for success:
Map your customer touch points and appraise the quality of your customer conversations.
Shift from a companycentric to a customercentric model.
Invest in the best software solution and create the right metrics.
Collaborate with the best thought leaders.
Appoint a chief customer officer who reports to the CEO.
Reward your team for creating relationships that turn customers into promoters of your business.
1. Map the customer’s journey across all touch points.
It is easy to take inventory of the company initiatives that are directed at the customer (see below)…
…but that’s only part of the job. To capture what customers experience when they deal with your company, you need to appraise the quality of the interactions, communications, and conversations with the customer. The map below shows some of the touch points and conversations that take place during the customer’s journey.
Uncomfortable questions: How do you know what your customers experience at each touch point? The map below illustrates how companies can capture the customer’s emotional reaction when dealing with your organization. Each touch point can become a source for measurement, learning, and improvement.
It might be helpful to think of your customers as private journalists who use social media to report on their experiences to their peers, co-workers, and suppliers. That’s why successful companies begin to capture these stories, respond to them, and use them as learning opportunities for improving their people, processes, and technologies.
More Uncomfortable Questions
How does your company define and measure a great customer experience at each touch point? How do your top executives define a customercentric organization? How often do your top executives meet with customers? Does your company map your customer’s journey? Have you created a metric to measure your customer’s experience at each touch point? Do you reward your team based on delivering a great customer experience?
2. Redesign your organization to be customercentric.
While many companies claim to be customercentric, a closer look shows that this claim is often wishful thinking.
Ranjay Gulati, Harvard Business School professor and author of Reorganize for Resilience: Putting Customers at the Center of Your Business (Amazon), writes, “The vast bulk of enterprises talk the customer talk while failing to walk the customer walk. This failure results from not only how companies understand (or don’t understand) customers externally, but also – far more importantly – how they structure their internal organization.”
In his book, Gulati shares the stories of a number of organizations that were transformed into customercentric businesses by eliminating silos, sharing customer data across the organization, creating a collaborative mind-set, and empowering employees to decide on behalf of the customer.
In this 10-minute video, Gulati explains how companies can become far more resilient by adapting their organization to the customer’s needs.
3. Implement technology that drives a customercentric culture.
While most CRM programs promise a 360-degree view of the customer, the reality is that most customer-facing employees don’t have a clue of what customers experience when dealing with your company. Below are technology solutions with a strong focus on the customer experience:
Watch this four-minute video about how Oracle CRM delivers a “WOW” customer experience:
4. Find the right consultants to map your customer’s journey.
For those executives who are way too busy to design a comprehensive customer-experience strategy or a customercentric organization, here are a few consulting organizations that can be of help:
Note that Strativity is offering a Customer Experience Management certification program, which takes place October 5-7 in Scottsdale, AZ
5. Appoint a chief customer officer –who reports to the CEO.
According to the Chief Customer Officer Council, the chief customer officer is a powerful asset who can help resolve chronic customer issues, create sustainable competitive advantage, help retain profitable customers, and drive profitable customer behavior through effective customer strategy. The CCO is also best suited to create a customercentric culture. Creating the role is a serious undertaking, and executives must be firmly committed to supporting the role vocally and visibly to ensure the CCO has the authority and credibility that is necessary for success.
The CCO position isn’t easily installed in Fortune 500 companies. In fact, only 5 percent of the Fortune 500 employ a CCO. The CCO Council says that it is far easier to install a CCO in a smaller company of perhaps less than $100M in revenue, often because the CCO can directly influence all the employees. The CCO can more easily establish and enforce policy.
6. A little incentive will go a long way.
Lior Arussy describes how he helped motivate an entire company to achieve customercentric goals. He writes, “We leased a Porsche and parked it in front of the office right next to the CEO’s parking space for all to see. We announced that the employee who met both productivity and quality numbers during the week would get to drive the Porsche for a week and park in the premium parking spot – where we dispatched a cleaning crew to wash and detail the Porsche daily. Our message was, ‘You’re going to inspire our customers, so we’re going to inspire you. You’re going to give them an experience, so we’re going to give you an experience.’”
Note: If you offer customer-experience management solutions, or if you can help companies become more customercentric, feel free to share your solutions.