When someone says “_____ is everyone’s responsibility” to a group of people, there’s usually someone who says that means “______ is no one’s responsibility”. There’s a lot of truth to that because if someone doesn’t commit to something, it doesn’t happen, and it falls between the cracks.
This is what has been happening to Customer Experience over the years, which is ironic considering a recent Forrester report showed that almost 75% of businesses surveyed said their top priority was customer experience.
What’s The Issue?
When a company tends to say that “customer experience is everyone’s responsibility”, there’s a good probability that there is lack of leadership driving customer experience.
For customer experience to be effective, the CEO, CCO, or other C-suite member must champion the effort, define customer experience, and make it a priority. This entails
- Establishing and driving the customer experience vision
- Aligning and influencing the organization by ensuring every employee – from leadership to the frontlines – understands this vision and its importance and their role in it, and ensuring that employees take ownership and are accountable for their piece of the customer experience effort
- Managing customer experience metrics and connecting them to the business strategy
If leadership doesn’t drive customer experience, it remains undefined, employees aren’t passionate about or accountable for customer experience, no framework is in place to manage it, then customer experience initiatives become inconsistent or nonexistent without focus to guide it, and, ultimately, no one manages the customer experience.
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Who pays the price for inconsistent or no customer experience?
Customers pay the price, in the short run. Their experience becomes so poor that they either get stuck in a bad relationship and become resentful, or they churn, as they are forced to look elsewhere for a good experience.
In the long run, organizations suffer. As employee morale waivers, customers churn, and growth becomes nonexistent.
What Does Customer Experience Ownership Really Mean?
Customer Experience ownership means banding together to give customers the best experience they can have. The goal is to win customers, keep them happy, and turn them into lifetime brand advocates so they can help the company grow by helping to bring in new customers.
Successful companies know that the customer is in the driver seat and to keep these customers means to deliver stellar experiences. Thus, the customer must always be top of mind and be at the forefront of your mission and strategy.
Customer Experience doesn’t start when the buyer becomes a customer. It starts well before we meet a potential customer. There are things companies can do to effectively own the customer experience.
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How Companies Can Win at Customer Experience Ownership
- Make customer experience the central tenet of your mission and strategy
Organizations who are successful at customer experience live and breathe the customer and as such, engrain customer experience into every aspect of their DNA.
Organizations that get the importance of customer experience know that executive leadership must champion the customer experience effort.
When the CEO champions and drives customer experience, the company is successful.
According to research that Genesys conducted, 58% of companies with a high degree of profitability relative to their rivals report that, ultimately, the CEO has ownership of customer experience management.
Leaders establish an environment of open communication, so their teams have a voice in defining customer experience and create the framework to support it, so teams feel empowered to take ownership of and be accountable for customer experience.
A top-down integration will serve to bust any existing silos and prevent new ones from forming.
- Align customer experience horizontally across the organization
For customer experience to work effectively, all functional groups and systems must align to support each other in customer experience efforts.
It’s not enough for functional groups to align to connect strategy and operations. Each functional group must share knowledge with the others, understand and breathe a consistent brand message, be able to coordinate across the organization and then be able to understand the customer and meet their needs in the way the customer wants.
Systems must also align. Operational data, CRM and customer feedback must all be integrated to create a closed feedback loop to serve the customer.
- Know the customer
To truly connect with buyers, we’ve got to help them along their journey.
To do that we need to know all about them, their pains, their needs and what motivates them. If we don’t know their behaviors, we can’t help them along their journey. Thus, it is important to listen to and engage with customers to be able to deliver the experiences they want.
- Map the customer journey to create a single customer view
Understand the key customer touch points that make up the customer journey so you can map out the customer’s experience. Once you have this single customer view, then you can capture their perceptions of their experiences based on their needs and expectations.
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This is also where you can identify where gaps and inefficiencies in the journey exist and where you have opportunities to leverage insights to close these gaps. Visualizing the entire journey map “story” will help you to enhance the experience for customers.
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- Focus on a sound closed feedback loop
A closed feedback loop is paramount to a great customer experience.
Organizations must be able to collect feedback from customers, share it with appropriate departments, inject actionable insights into processes to enhance the overall customer experience, and follow up with the customer to update them on the action taken.
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It’s important to have a smooth and seamless process flow so the customer receives a continuously consistent, enhanced experience.
- Adjust your initiatives to support your metrics
Once you implement your customer experience initiatives, align your metrics to each phase of the customer journey. Once you analyze metrics, review and implement actionable insights.
Be brave enough to make changes to enhance the experience even if that means adjusting your strategy in the process.
Always be willing to be creative and experiment to enhance the experience for your customers. But, make sure in the end, the experience supports your brand promise and is consistent.
Being solid on who owns the customer experience within your organization is the first step to delivering stellar customer experiences. Once everyone understands their role, they’ll want to take ownership to ensure they deliver a consistently great experience every time.