Annabel Venner, Global Brand Director at Hiscox as quoted in Marketing Week, “It’s not just about technical expertise anymore, it’s about understanding the customer experience and joining up your organisation to deliver it”.
Last week I read an article in Marketing Week which was based on a conference speech given by Easyjet CEO Carolyn McCall. It talked about how the marketer needs to build allies across the whole business. If the CMO is to own the customer experience (that’s the subject for another time) and the total customer experience touches all parts of the organisation, then this makes sense.
According to a recently published survey conducted by Econsultancy, 40% of marketers admit that they are not adequately supported by other members of their organisation and that different departments work to their own agenda. Organisation structure is also ranked as the no. 2 barrier to improving the customer experience (after the complexity and number of touch points). Fewer than 25% of organisations effectively integrate cross-functional working practices around the needs of the customer and employees. What’s more very few companies can speak to customers in one voice across multiple channels and departments.
So, silos are still alive and kicking despite the move by many to a more holistic customer experience or ‘customer journey’ type approach. A survey from the American Management Association cites that 83% of executives say that silos exist in their company. Whether the silo is operational, channel or hierarchical , they are not conducive to customer experience excellence or a customer centric organisation. With new digital channels, ever emerging technology and changing customers’ needs and expectations, companies need to be finding ways to be more agile and flexible rather than restrictive, bound by internal bureaucracy and decisions which are sometimes (or often) detrimental to the customer experience.
My suggestions to for getting around silos:
There needs to be one credible and empowered owner for the customer experience whether it’s the CMO, a CXO or a COO, the point is there needs to be one person charged and accountable for making it happen across the whole organisation
Putting together a detailed understanding and mapping of the customer journey which involves the wider organisation in its creation, its sharing and its delivery
A single data view of the customer that is shared between teams - more specifically, joining up and harnessing online and offline data
A clear governance structure with roles and responsibilities in the delivery of the customer experience strategy including the crucial non-marketing ‘other’ departments e.g. digital, innovation, technology, customer service, call centre
An understanding of the inter-dependencies between departments and the impact they have on customers
An environment that encourages and rewards collaboration, teamwork and open communication
Measurement that supports the customer experience strategy and vision and importantly KPI’s that don’t conflict
It’s all well and good jumping into customer experience improvement and acting on customer feedback, but it won’t make a fundamental difference if the organisation isn’t aligned to deliver the customer experience that’s required. Companies need to find a way of establishing why and how everyone’s role is related to the customer.
We find that a valuable support to organisations is a fresh pair of eyes to hold the mirror up and show the current state of the organisation and how well it delivers Customer Experience today. This helps identify the impact of different departments on the customer experience. It not only brings objectivity to bridge those silos and viewpoints, but also leverages best practice learnings and established customer experience techniques.
In the words of Annabel Venner, Global Brand Director at Hiscox as quoted in Marketing Week, “It’s not just about technical expertise anymore, it’s about understanding the customer experience and joining up your organisation to deliver it”. Behaviour that is in the best interests of the whole organisation and the customer must be the ultimate goal. Easier said than done!
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.