• Peritus Staff

Customer Experience Efforts Often Fail to Deliver – 4 Steps That Can Increase Success

Most leaders recognize that transforming the customer experience (CX) will be a key differentiator in the next few years. As data from Lumoa shows it is never as easy as it sounds.

80% of CEOs believe they deliver superior customer experience. Only 8% of their customers agreed. Customer-obsessed businesses expect to be 7x more relevant to customers, 5x more likely a top provider of products and 4x more profitable.55% of CX professionals believe their companies will be too slow and face disruption from more innovative, nimble and customer-focused competitors.

Why are customers still not satisfied despite organizations’ substantial investment in customer experience programs? The reason may be consistent with most other large-scale change efforts. Customer experience is often a separate program, often led by a Chief Experience Officer that doesn't directly tie to creating business value. To succeed, it needs to become a priority, a “way-of-doing-business” that achieves a continuous stream of results and not a “nice-to-have” program.

This will only get more challenging as organizations try to move beyond customer experiences, to an Omni-channel experience, or even beyond Omni toward a fully harmonized experience.

Follow the next four steps to increase the likelihood of your organization’s customer experience efforts becoming a competitive differentiator and a value creator.

Follow the next four steps to increase the likelihood of your organization’s customer experience efforts becoming a competitive differentiator and a value creator.

Step 1 – Inspire

Inspire means mobilizing individuals with a vision and direction of what “can be.” Senior leaders need to articulate that improving customer experience is a way of doing business - not a program. They need to work on inspiring empathy and passion in each and every employee that the value and importance of the customer experience is key to the organization’s future. As employees begin to exhibit this empathy and passion their feedback must be built into a continuous improvement roadmap.

Step 2 – Align

Frequently, an executive is asked to improve the customer experience. However, changing the customer experience across the value chain requires executives to see the effort as an organizational priority and work together as a team. One executive might be responsible to communicate a vision and build a multi-year roadmap (e.g., Gartner's Customer Experience Pyramid) with specific objectives and desired results along the way, but the leadership team and key stakeholders need to buy-in and accept responsibility to move things forward. Years ago, as interim Global Brand Manager for Chevron's Techron, we successfully launched and improved the buying experience for consumers in 27 countries because every leader in every market took accountability and accepted that effort as a top priority. Improving the experience was tightly linked to fulfilling the brand promise. 

Step 3 – Break Down the Silos

A seamless harmonized customer experience across different interaction channels is difficult if the organization still operates as a series of silos. Senior leaders need to set the expectation that their leaders must take an enterprise perspective, look end-to-end. The customer does not care how the organization operates internally, they do care about a friction-less, positive journey to reach their objective. That could be receiving a timely competitive quote, enrollment in the right class at the right time, making an informed purchase decision. A unified leadership team, based on mutual respect, trust, and open communication become the cornerstone of harmonized customer experiences. Too often senior leaders forget that this type of collaboration must be mandated since day-to-day pressures and individual functional accountabilities take precedent overtaking an enterprise outside-in view.

Step 4 – Engineer Small Wins for Customers and the Business to Drive Value

A vision, a roadmap, and key performance indicators are important. But small wins for both the business and the customer must be designed into the roadmap to build momentum. Never losing sight of the business results you want to achieve. Never lose sight of how to help customers achieve their objective with the least amount of friction or effort with as much positivity as possible. Focus on the top customer pain points, or provide specific information a customer needs to make key decisions. Ensure clear feedback loops to continuously revise the CX roadmap to stay focused on critical results. The greatest momentum comes from the customer's goal and the business goals being aligned. For example, customers and businesses would like an online loan to be funded as efficiently, with little risk, securely and at a competitive rate as possible. Small wins build confidence and increase the likelihood that the customer experience efforts don’t stall out.

Eighty-one percent of customer experience leaders say their companies will compete primarily on customer experience within the next few years. Yet the percentage of companies that establish a relationship between CX and business outcomes is significantly lower. Many leaders struggle to show how these efforts create value. Therein lies the opportunity for not only CX leaders but the leadership team as a whole. Improving the customer experience is an all-encompassing, silo-spanning, team sport.

Contributed by Bernard J. Putz, Ph.D.

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