The best customer experience strategy encourages a bold vision and takes all staff along for the ride, writes STEVEN VAN BELLEGHEM.
One of the most popular questions in my conversations with decision makers has to be about setting up a successful customer experience (CX) strategy.
The solution is at the intersection between your customers, staff and the vision binding everything together and any solid CX strategy should integrate a three-step approach:
Create an engaging vision
At the heart of any successful business strategy lies a powerful yet tangible vision and that’s no different when dealing with customers. The usual, ‘putting the customer at the centre’ is not sufficiently specific to enthuse and engage your staff.
Identify the customer’s problem or their ‘want’ and what you can do to improve their life and which mindset should be connected to that.
Don’t start from a key performance indicator attitude but focus on an ‘intention mentality’ and make sure you are truly useful and helpful to customers, not just with your core offering but also with your other products and services.
A good example of creative thinking is Lumi nappies by Pampers. Proctor and Gamble (P&G) pushed a standard commodity like a nappy to a whole new level by adding a baby monitor and sleep app into the ‘mix’.
With this approach, P&G does not just sell nappies, instead, it aims to be a true partner in the life of parents and ‘helps the whole family rest easier’, as its website states.
So, just like P&G with Lumi, make sure that your vision is both concrete and appealing.
All staff should know how to contribute
The reason why you need step one, a concrete and engaging vision, is to get your staff on board with your CX vision.
It should not be some top-secret for ‘C-level only’ strategy document; it needs to resonate throughout the entire business.
The link between the vision, customer and staff in large companies is often buried below processes, KPIs or vague slogans.
Factory workers or people in HR often lack that tight connection with the customers but it is absolutely crucial if a company wants to offer great CX.
There is no shortcut to achieve a tight relation between staff, vision and the customer. There’s no secret ingredient, you might have to find a way to convince your employees one by one.
However, in SMEs, especially retail based business such as jewellery stores, focusing on customer satisfaction and enjoyment is much easier.
One of my favourite examples of a business that has every staff member on board with the company’s vision has to be Disney, and the fact that it’s a master storyteller has a large role to play in that.
From the outset, Walt Disney decided his theme parks would not have ‘employees’, instead they would be cast members who wear a costume, not a uniform and that made a huge difference in the way they engaged and behaved with customers/ visitors
He also made sure everyone knew their vision and stayed in character. From the actors playing Snow White to the staff selling ice cream or the cleaners: everyone knows their role in the script.
Make sure staff receive customer feedback
Creating a vision and ensuring all staff are aware of their role is to accomplish the vision to help create fantastic customer experiences, are fundamental steps in a CX strategy.
However, one crucial step many companies seem to neglect is ensuring staff receive feedback from customers.
If they don’t know what customers think and feel about their work, they won’t be able to replicate what worked or change what didn’t work.
This direct link is essential in order to offer great CX and keep adapting it to customers’ changing needs. Use quotes, videos, audio fragments or feedback scores, but make sure all staff know what customers feel about them.
For example, at Coolblue – a Dutch ecommerce company – every morning the delivery drivers are shown their previous day’s Net Promotor Score.
In a more hands-on approach, Dutch insurance company Centraal Beheer, (CB) holds Small Dent Days which they organise four times per year.
On these days, 10,000 people have small dents in their car repaired free of charge while they are warmly welcomed by CB’s insurance agents, creating a human relationship and direct feedback with customers they otherwise almost never meet in person.
A successful CX strategy goes beyond a written policy. All levels of the business must be involved in an engaging and clear vision that relies on constant feedback to fuel progress.