What is it?
Customer Experience (CX) is the value you deliver to your customers. It's how people feel about your business and the emotional connection they have with your brand, based on what you say and do through every interaction they have with you. Businesses that successfully put their customers at the heart of how they think and operate do so through starting with a shared vision.
There are challenges however, including introducing a new team and giving it a responsibility that didn’t exist before which involves navigating the inevitable turf war. Some businesses also believe CX doesn’t stack up commercially, which can be true if your organisation isn’t set up to deliver it. Done poorly, it can erode trust and create a cycle of cost-oriented decision making where neither the business nor the customer benefit in the long run. But done well, it has the power to attract and retain customers to the brand, quickly turning one-time purchasers into loyal, committed fans.
Why is it so important?
Whether it’s that ‘I’m home’ feeling you experience when you step onboard an Air New Zealand aircraft or the quick and easy support you get from Apple, it’s no surprise that your favourite brands are the ones that offer a great experience.
Customer Experience defines the customer’s relationship to a business: great CX builds love and trust, which are key to the survival and success of any brand. Why? Because you’re in a relationship with your customers. If they enjoy being in that relationship with you, they’ll stick around. If you disappoint them, they’ll look elsewhere.
More than anything, it’s the brand equity built over time that leads to customer loyalty. It allows you to stand the test of price fluctuations, competitor discounts and the challenges of an ever-changing business landscape.
The quality of your relationship with customers has a direct impact on your commercial success. Inferior CX leads to businesses relying on a cycle of perpetual acquisition (without growing their customer base) to mitigate poor consumer satisfaction, which is costly. But a customer-centric culture delivering great CX leads to a virtuous cycle of business performance.
Success and the virtuous cycle
There are no shortcuts to creating a great experience for your customers. If we think about Customer Experience as the output, Customer Centricity is the discipline of mobilising your business to deliver a great output. As with any discipline, it takes time and resources to develop and relies on all areas of your business working together towards a common goal.
We liken Customer Centricity to the flywheel on a petrol lawnmower. No one manages to get the engine started the first time they pull the cord; that first pull warms the engine up and it’s the second (maybe even third) action that gets it started. But once it’s going, it’s unstoppable - the entire business will see its value and feel its benefits. Eventually, the customer-centric approach becomes a core part of every facet of your business.
Most businesses like the idea of a customer-centric approach, but they lack the tools, people and know-how to make it a reality. The challenges organisations face when deciding to put customers first are common and universal. They include:
· Lack of clear understanding of the customer
· Leaving CX responsibilities to a single person/team
· Poor data and the inability to measure success, impact and ROI
· Acting reactively in silos rather than proactively collaborating on a shared customer vision.
The good news is that all these challenges can be overcome with a structured approach.
Developing a Customer Centric discipline
Developing a Customer Centric discipline across these core dimensions helps to build trust with customers and demonstrates progressive thinking, honesty and commitment. Working towards a shared vision for your teams also leads to a more effective dialogue between your people and your customers.
Six Dimensions of Customer centricity;
01 Insights / How you listen to and build a deep understanding of the customer across the business
02 Strategy / How the customer shows up within your business, product and market strategies
03 Structure / How your teams operate, collaborate and make decisions with the customer in mind
04 Culture / How you empower your people to become customer champions
05 Delivery / How you design, build and deliver the products, services and experiences that your customers need and value
06 Metrics / How you measure success and understand what matters most to your customer
How can ThoughtFull help?
We have experience in all aspects of CX, from building measurement frameworks to training design teams, from defining culture and service experience to helping teams to collaborate constructively on a shared customer vision. We have worked with some of Aotearoa New Zealand’s biggest and most loved brands to create and fine-tune their CX through helping them mobilise their teams from within.
No two businesses are alike but our starting point is always the same. We begin by listening to your needs, challenges and goals. We then dive deep to find your business’s strengths (so we can leverage them) and weaknesses (so we can address them).
We love talking about Customer Centricity. If you’d like to hear more about how we can help with the three steps to start mobilising your organisation around your customers, please get in touch.