Leading companies in all sectors understand that they are in the customer experience business. They understand that how they deliver to customers is as important as what they deliver. This short article is designed to provide food for thought for executives who wish to redesign their businesses to become more customer focused and deliver positive business outcomes.
I have written a lot about analytics and how this technology can give business leaders valuable insight that will improve customer loyalty, make employees happier, improve revenues and reduce costs. Estimates from the big management consultancies as to the impact of improved customer experience vary from 5% to 20% increases in revenue and approximately 15% to 35% decreases in costs. So it is no wonder that businesses are looking at customer experience as a way to grow their businesses.
Ten tips to improve your customer experience:
1. See the world through your customer's eyes
Customer behaviours are changing – technology has made sure of that. Seventy-five percent of customers will research before buying anything, looking for the best and right deal for them. They expect instant, personal service, that is simple, convenient and easy to use, placing as much trust in online reviews and recommendations as they do personal recommendations. Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple are setting the benchmark for customer experience. If you experience is not as simple as theirs, it is nowhere. Focus on service, simplicity, personalization and advocacy.
2. Identify and understand your customer and employee journey
Focus on the end to end customer journey. This means everything from the brand association (space your brand occupies in customers minds), through to every touch-point. Do not focus on individual elements of your customer journey, focus on the holistic experience, connecting elements together.
3. Set tangible deliverables
Customer experience excellence is not just about creating new colours, a different look and feel for your website, app or screens, it is about linking experience to business results. Establish the business metrics by which you will measure success and set about delivering these. This could be revenue related, brand related, customer feedback related, or all of the above.
4. Define a customer experience goal
Take time to define and articulate your customer experience plan and goals to every individual in your organization. Avoid the use of technical jargon and be sure that the language you use in unambiguous. Create a mission statement. For example, Coca-Cola says the following: Our Mission is to refresh the world in mind body and spirit. To inspire moments of optimism and happiness through our brands and actions.
5. Redesign your business based on what your customers want
Having defined your purpose, focus, one-by-one on improving your customer journey. Concentrate on the most important journey first, mapping and choreographing both your customer and employee journey in such a way that your customer has a simple, frictionless journey towards a conclusion.
6. Understand psychology
Skilful designers use psychology to help customers perceptions of the journey they take with their brands. In designing a frictionless customer journey, one should always consider perception. It is true to say that whilst a journey may be designed to be simple and frictionless, it is not unless the customers think it is.
7. Use digital technologies
Digital means different things to different people. As I have mentioned in previous articles, ‘digital’ is not about technology for technology sake. Define the role of digital, define its purpose. Take care to understand the benefits it will deliver to you and your customers… and remember, that change happens fast in the digital world. Making sure that your organization is configured to constantly stay abreast of the latest innovations and is able to apply them to your business critical.
8. Measure customer feedback
Gathering data and understanding how effective your customer experience is, is what helps you to improve. Measure business outcomes and operational improvements then link these back to ways in which your customer experience is delivering for you, or not.
9. Establish customer experience governance
Switching to a customer-focused organization can be challenging for some companies as customer experience touches all areas of business. Those that succeed put in place a proper governance model with a Chief Customer Officer and an Executive Champion for each of the primary cross-functional customer journeys.
10. Understand what is working and what is not
One of the biggest challenges organisations face when delivering customer experience is measuring the impact initially. I recommend linking customer experience initiatives to value creation. Do this by analyzing historical performance in customer satisfaction – this will help your company see the benefits of a connected customer-focused business the quickest.
About the Author
Nicholas Griffin is an experienced businessman and designer who has passion for helping brands develop engaging customer experiences and transform commercially. He has been a resident of Dubai, UAE, for over 10 years from where he is Global Strategy Director for I-AM (www.i-amonline.com), one of the worlds leading independent customer experience design agencies.
Nicholas has over 25 years of experience in strategic brand, retail, digital and culture transformation which has seen him serve financial services and other brands across the world. More recently, these include ADIB, Riyad Bank, Bank ABC, Unaitas, Kuwait Finance House, EmiratesNBD, China Bank, Byblos Bank, Siam Commercial Bank, RHB, UBL, Bank AlFalah and First Bank.
He began his career working in the United States with General Electric before moving to London and working with leading design agency Seymour Powell (SP). After his tenure at SP, Nicholas formed his own agency in London, who served brands like Nike, Adidas, Orange, Panasonic, Hasbro, Casio, Barclays, RBS, BP and Vodafone.
In 1999, Nicholas built an online health food retailer which, along with his agency, were sold in 2002. Nicholas went on to work as a senior level consultant, for large corporations, helping them to solve complex brand and business challenges and deliver innovation in customer experience. In 2004, Nicholas moved to the Middle East to work for Private Institutional Investors, The Chandler Group where his role was wide spread, from branding and communications through to social investment and private office management. Thereafter, he ran WPP’s Brand Union in the Middle East before joining allen international and running their business in Middle East, Africa and Asia.
An avid and passionate writer, Nicholas has an audience of over 15,000 banking and customer experience professionals who engage with his blog www.passionbrand.net on a regular basis.
Nicholas has a BA(Hons) in 3-Dimensional Design from Manchester Metropolitan University