Here's a lovely article by Jessica on how customer experience is set to become the cornerstone for successful companies of tomorrow. According to me, the actionable items - going beyond lofty beliefs and intention, that need to be taken have been summarized very well in this article. The questions companies need to ask themselves are simple and easy to get answers for, in terms of how well they do on these parameters.
The key point is companies need to answer these questions from a customers' point of view rather than from their point of view:
- Did the interactions meet your needs?
- How easy is the company to work with?
- How enjoyable are these firms to work with?
Key strategies( according to Bruce Temkin, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research), for building long lasting customer experience are:
- Obsess about customer needs, not product features: Adding this gadget or that widget may look cool, but if the "innovation" confuses the customer, the entire purpose is lost. Temkin encouraged the audience to engage in a "LIRM"-ing process: listen, interpret, react, and monitor. These elements, he said, are critical to developing a program to capture the Voice of the Customer.
- Reinforce the brand with every interaction, not just communication: Every employee in the company needs to understand the brand message and the brand promise. Every interaction should be based on this promise, a promise that must be insulated from damage when times get tough and cuts need to be made.
- Treat customer experience as a competence, not a function: Customer service is everyone's priority, not just that of the contact center. Call it "customer experience," "customer advocacy," "customer insight—anything, Temkin pleaded, that avoids dumping it into a siloed department. "The customer experience team cannot be another ‘function,' " Temkin said. "The group has to remain as a support to other parts of the organization." The leader of this group, he added, can be anyone — the CIO, the CMO, the COO — but the person cannot be more than two levels under the CEO. More important, whoever leads the group must possess enthusiasm about the cause — and be a champion for it.
To truly evaluate where your company's initiatives stand today, here's a scale to measure and improve your customer experience plans:
- Level 1: Interested (19 percent) - customer experience is important, but funding and upper-level support is minimal.
- Level 2: Invested (22 percent) - customer experience is important and initial programs are being put in place -- but the effort is still not connected with profitability for the organization.
- Level 3: Committed (11 percent) - customer experience is critical to the company and executives understand how it's connected to fundamental results: It's not customer experience for customer experience's sake.
- Level 4: Engaged (8 percent) - customer experience is a core part of the company's strategy and objectives.
- Level 5: Embedded (4 percent) - it's in the company's DNA, the essence of everything and anything the company does.