What can we learn from today's customer experience leaders, and how can we apply it to our own businesses?
When we look at customer experience leaders today, it’s unsurprising there are a number of things they have in common. From a macro level, we see that many of the individual strategies and tactics these leaders deploy roll up to three high-level areas of strategic focus.
Each of these leaders is exceptionally focused on:
- Customer centricity
- Digital transformation
- Operational excellence...
...and the areas where the three intersect.
We see this brought to life in companies of all sizes, ranging from hyper-growth startups to some of the most successful technology and financial services companies you can think of.
The good news is no matter what business you’re in, you can learn from these folks, and apply these lessons to, your business as well.
1. Customer-centricity: Put the customer at the centre of your business
First and foremost is a commitment to customer-centricity – essentially, putting the customer at the centre of decision making and your business. This means making a deep understanding of your customers part of your organisational DNA. Knowing who your customers are, and who they aren’t is essential to fostering a successful customer experience from start to finish.
It means making sure you deeply understand what your customers want and need, and organising your business to design and deliver the products, services and experiences that exceed your customers’ expectations. In other words, prioritise customer goals over operational objectives and habits.
2. Digital transformation
As we all know, digital transformation is a fundamental shift in the way business is done. The use of technology to radically improve business performance and keep up with ever-smarter customer relationships is changing everything.
Whether across the end-to-end customer experience, digitally enabling products and services, integrating data and cross-organisation analytics and metrics systems, this means recognising that today’s customer is very much digital first — but not digital only. Which means it’s critical to recognise that your customers really, really like digital solutions... until the moment they don’t.
3. Operational excellence
Which brings us to a focus on operation and execution excellence. In part, this means the ability to respond to your customer how and when they want to be responded to. This also means you focus on operational and execution excellence — systematically and continually improving your business and operational processes across revenue, cost, and risk.
Together, this focus allows an organisation to build and maintain connections across all processes with the right measurement and metric systems in place, optimising the effectiveness of their people, process, information and technology, and demonstrating the results in clear business and financial terms.
Follow the leaders
We don’t mean to suggest that every CX leader focuses simultaneously on “being the best” in every one of these three areas. Most pick a primary focus (customer centricity, operational excellence, digital transformation) where they strive to win against every competitor. Then, they do their best to compete as effectively as possible on the others.
Some companies, of course, do all these things very well. Consider Amazon. Their primary focus, from Day 1, has been to focus on customer centricity. But they’re also very good in the other areas... with decision making driven by putting customers at the centre of their business.
The results for all CX leaders speak for themselves: outsized top- and bottom-line growth, beating their competition, and dominating their markets. Because doing all three of these things well helps organisations deliver world-class customer experiences underpinned by world-class business operating models.
About Michael Hinshaw
Michael Hinshaw is President / CEO of McorpCX, a customer experience research, brand and strategy consultancy based in the San Francisco area. An innovative executive, consultant and educator, he has over 20 years’ experience in marketing, brand and management consulting. His perspectives on creativity and business performance measurement have been honed through the lenses of brand, touchpoint and customer experience mapping. For more information, view his blog on Customer Experience, or follow Michael on Twitter.