Sunday, April 13, 2014

How to Make the Customer Everyone’s Business in Organization?

The exception of customer experience is based on the digital flow-the mind flow; the process flow, the information flow; and the idea flow...

Optimizing customer experience (CX) is a strategic focus for any customer-centric business now, however, silo thinking and overly-rigid processes are the obstacles to achieve such goal,  how to make the customer everyone's business in organization?

Universal change across every level of the organization is the key. Too many people in traditional organizations think that the customer is not in their territory. The customer is everyone's business and if a group of department does not embrace this mindset, then the process is destined to not reach exceptional performance. First, get the company to define or operationalize what that is, so employees are not left to guess. Then, teach employees, especially those that have face (or phone) time with external customers to ask the right kinds of questions. Teach them how to ask customers need-based, issue-based or gap-finding questions; then, follow-up with clarification of questions. Effective customer questioning is a skill that needs to be taught, as to get the answer that is going to help provide exceptional customer service, begins with asking the right questions

Starting with the front doors - They are the closest to the customer's pulse and if they are willing to listen, they can hear the customer's heart beating. Look at what the company does to gain the trust of the customers; any direct customer contact area (customer services, sales, front desk) is good starting point, because the personnel in these areas are the most highly & immediately impacting in terms of the customers' perception of the company, product, service, etc. Make sure that it is not only easy for the customer to come through the door, but they have a pleasant to stay as well. Look for policies, procedures, and technologies that place hurdles in the way of helping the customer and creating positive interactions. Be good at something as simple as extending a smile and welcoming a customer into a store, or issuing a heart-felt apology. In addition these individuals can help/assist the rest of the organization in understanding the key issues/concerns of the customer base, since they have the closest contact to/with and perspectives of the customers’ desires, wants, etc.

Outline the customer lifecycle, so that businesses can better understand the Customer Experience Management process. Once that is established, then one can best go about laying out the pertinent strategies or plans in order to develop the appropriate actions to take the company towards a customer centric organization. Each moment-of-truth/touch point within the lifecycle deserves especial or particular attention in taking the customers' degree of satisfaction from a (plain) Satisfied ---to--> Loyal -- and then to ---> Affinity/Advocacy state. The importance here is that at the top stage (Affinity/ Advocacy) the company's customers become a key marketing arm for the organization (they speak well of and provide crucial referrals to the company). Connecting with the customer's heart and mind are the utmost importance in addition to showing how much your sincerely care about them. The Affinity/Advocacy state is definitely a goal for improving customer experience.

The "C-Suite" - executive & senior management sets the tone and expectation throughout the organization. Exceptional customer service requires visionary leadership that builds and rewards an organizational culture focused on putting the customer at the center of every employees' short and long term business purpose. Whilst the phrase and term 'voice of the customer' is somewhat over used, it’s even more so under-exploited. It’s a great place to be, a great thing to have on your organizational chart, but still today, whilst improvements are evident, so many still hope the limited CEM teams can perform customer miracles. Hence, the most important thing is to be willing to listen and probe to identify the goal of the customer experience improvement. The ability to reconsider your direction and continue to ask questions is a strength that few have and even fewer will admit. But that is the best way to discover what no one has ever considered before, and always keeps the end in mind, to delight customer and gain business competitive advantage for the long term.

Well alignment of process, customer champion and efficient tools. Once this top level support is in place, the next place to look is who has the knowledge, understanding, skills and influence to ensure that any planned change to process, culture, technology etc can have a better than even chance of success. Businesses too often believe that it can all be done using existing resources and structures. The result is often that changes become silo driven -"that's a marketing/customer service/sales project “, etc. 
Exceptional customer experience takes holistic approach with detected polarization around two themes. Firstly the "horizontal" co-ordination approach and secondly the need for clearly designated "customer champions", cross-functional collaboration and interaction are crucial in building true customer-centric organizations.

The exception of customer experience is also based on the digital flow -the mind flow to breakdown the silo; the process flow to be anti-fragile and collaborative; the information flow to ensure the right people can have the right information at the right time and location to make the right decision, and the idea flow to inspire the culture of innovation and make customer truly everyone’s business.


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