A Few More Thoughts About That New Red Dress….

As I mentioned in my last blog, I had a wonderful opportunity to gain valuable insight from many different individuals at the Evolutions Dallas event!

Along with presenting my “Emerging Trends and Best Practices in Customer Experience Management” session, I was able to engage in a little research of my own. I love getting the chance to talk with our customers, and these Evolutions events are perfect for it – we are surrounded! Our customers are the people creating and managing the relationships that their companies have with their customers. So, what did I find? Here are a couple of questions that I asked my audience during the session, along with the results:

  1. How many of your customers have someone designated to understand and ensure a consistent, top notch customer experience? Many times these are called a Chief Customer Officer, or a Chief Experience Officer. I got about 3, maybe 5 hands in the crowd – which by the way was out of a couple hundred people in the audience (in my best estimation).
  2. How many of you know what it is like to do business with your company? Have you called? Emailed? Is there an app for that? Do you use it? This one was much higher – probably about 30%. But what about the other 70%? How do we know if we are doing a good job if we can’t say that we have experienced it ourselves? I would advise each and every one of us to take the time to experience what our customers do each time they reach out to us!

I also had the opportunity to have longer 1:1 discussions with several customers out there- and I thank you for spending the time! Combined with my other “informal research”, here is what I’ve come to understand:

The most common roadblock people have to break through in responding to the customers of today – the instant gratification society we serve – is the culture within their own organizations. Here’s one example: In one case that illustrates what I have heard others say, an expanding business is experiencing growing pains. Those in charge are still thinking like they did as a small company – including how they are making technology investments. This company is successful and able to expand their business due to some good decisions and processes, most likely, so I am not saying we lose all of that thinking – but what I am saying is this: by all means keep the small company “care” approach and let it drive the decisions you make for your business. But make the right decisions and investments to meet customer expectations. If you listen they will come, and they will stay!

In another case a business is dealing with departmental differences of opinion in the way they want to do things. And guess what, some of them are doing business based on the way they have always done it. Even though their business is 5x bigger than it was just 5 years ago. Growth requires adjustments: New departments + new people + new services may equal inconsistent (and possibly sub-par) customer experiences. The nice part – these same people recognize the need. And they want to do something about it. It starts with having a Customer Experience Management Strategy. How do you outline that strategy? And the right thinking? Start with the customer!

Here is a simplistic plan that might help your thinking.

  1. Understand your customers’ behaviors, and the technologies impacting customer expectations in your industry.
  2. Map out your customers’ interactions – across their journey from research to acquisition to ownership to advocate – and identify which elements of those interactions are most critical. This will give you prioritization as you move forward.
  3. Now identify the players – who should be part of that team? Marketing? Web team? Contact Center? Branch? Then begin execution.
  4. Build out a transformation plan prioritizing quick wins to gain support at all levels within your organization. And, ensure that you are tying your strategy to how it will help improve customer satisfaction, increase net promoter score and, of course, increase customer lifetime value – all leading to competitive differentiation and higher revenue and shareholder value.

Wow – what a day at Evolutions ; A flash mob, dozens of great customer conversations, and some wonderful insight. So – I’ll leave you with the same question I asked last time: Does your company need a new red dress?

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