This isn’t a new topic; but it still isn’t happening.
Companies are grappling with issues arising from disconnected customer experiences as they add more technology solutions and channels for customer engagement without the organisational foundations to support this. Call it omni-channel, multi-channel or whatever – given customers are channel agnostic, it’s just a seamless or consistent experience for customers at the end of the day.
There are many historical and legacy reasons why organisations are like this. And it is true, that the brands that have grown up in this technology and data rich era tend to be more geared up for channel consistency, but that doesn’t mean they still don’t have some of the same organisational issues too.
We see all sorts of things happening that almost prevent the customer experience happening rather than facilitate it – the main symptoms are:
Lack of a clear cross channel experience strategy and of the roles, skills, behaviours, processes required
Absence of an influential customer champion at the top
Unclear ownership of the customer from end to end
Silo’s that don’t share or talk to each other and yet engage with the same customer
Departments who don’t deal directly with the customer not being involved or motivated around the customer
HR and people strategies not aligned to the customer
Disregard for the employee experience
Company-wide metrics and kpi’s not supporting the quality of the customer experience that’s delivered
No common, accurate and consistent information view of the customer
Channels that have become ‘bolt-on’s which don’t work together or support the experience vision
Is anyone doing it well? We’ve all heard the examples of Disney, Starbucks, Virgin but there still aren’t many cases of organisations seamlessly working together to deliver a blended experience.
Customers can’t pick up where they left off with conversations as they switch from mobile to in-store to on-line, or get recognised and not have to repeat themselves irrespective of the touch point, or have issues resolved first time without the need to re-contact, or get the same answers and story as they brave the technological divides of their journey, or have promises made by one channel that are kept to the word by the next. Too often customers fall through the net as they move through their experience with a brand. Far too often the effort and onus is on the customer to engage as there aren’t handovers in place where organisations take ownership for the customer.
Amanda Forshew - Customer Alignment
Customer Alignment specialises in assessing a brand’s customer experience ‘reality’ and helps them move towards a more joined up approach where the organisation is aligned around the customer as well as its own aspirations and capability.
In 2018 will we see something new in CX or will it be more of the same? If it is more of the same, then the experience gap that has opened will only get bigger. 2018 needn’t be another year of unfulfilled promise. Using the 6 E’s will help your company succeed. Rethinking your CX around my 6 themes will help ensure a Smiling Company and Happy Customers.
2017 promised such a lot. There was the motivation and there were clear opportunities to really begin to make a significant difference for customers and close the recognised experience gap.Success in 2018 will come from a refocus. We have a huge opportunity to close the experience and expectation gap. If nothing else, to be successful in refocusing on the customer
A short-termist approach of ‘fixing’ what may not be working, but isn’t necessarily of value to the customer, of ignoring the customer’s emotional experience and of keeping responsibility for the customer confined to a small number of people within the organisation means we may not see the current disappointing situation change for some time.
There is a real and present risk to this movement towards greater customer centricity and ultimately better experiences for our customers.
Every day we hear more about how technology is changing the world for customers and employees alike. We live in a rapidly developing world where virtual meets reality. Even brands are investing heavily in IT not only to be able to more deliver efficiently their customer experience but also to interact with customers on a more personal (data led) level. The art is to blend digital and real-world together and present one consistent face of the brand.
Building brand value, customer life time value and winning sustainable loyalty need to be uppermost in retailers’ minds. Black Friday customer interactions need to maintain a brand’s story in an authentic way whilst engaging in the customer experience. Think of it as an opportunity to showcase and engage with customers – where the customer’s experience is positive, painless, seamless, and relevant to them.
I would suggest that companies should not focus exclusively on efficiency, simplicity and optimisation of the rational and functional elements of the customer journey; they alone do not make up the whole customer experience.
Sometimes, change and customer experience optimisation is about baby steps. Sometimes, small steps can result in bigger leaps, or compounded marginal gains. For some organisations, this is a more realistic and successful approach than the implementation of a big CX transformation programme with a well-constructed business case, where the results may be similar in the end.
first direct have recognised that what set them apart for many years – their superior customer service, is not enough to stay ahead. first direct are constantly seeking to improve the basics and at the same time invest in innovation centred on the customer. Customer work, at first direct, is never done.