Note – This guest post by Dennis Gershowitz was originally posted on 10/1/15 on TSIA’s Inside Technology Services
About six weeks ago, I shipped a piece of art via a highly reputable shipper. I will spare you the details of this fiasco, but needless to say, for a company which prides itself in its branding as delivering the highest level of customer experience, I have to wonder how much truth there is behind their claim. My misfortune brings up the point that every company looking to maintain a good reputation with their customers should always be asking themselves, “Would our customer experience be considered positive or negative?”
It’s All About the Customer Experience
There are probably very few companies that do not have a customer experience (CX) strategy in place. However, one has to wonder how often companies fail to provide this critical element in the eyes of their customer. After all, isn’t this what it’s all about? It’s clear in the case of my art shipping experience that the process used has never been thought through from a customer’s perspective, which is where a customer journey map would be useful. This is evidenced by the complexity of my having to weave through multiple barriers to resolution. I wonder how many other companies own CX strategies built on a house of cards?
The Journey to Delivering Positive Customer Experiences
I am afraid I find that delivering the customer experience is more challenging to most companies than they realize. Organizations are learning that there is much more to the job of engaging and retaining customers than just putting something in place and moving on to the next challenge. While they may recognize the need to provide superb experiences, they are challenged along the path of designing, developing, executing, and delivering an integrated customer experience. For example, I wonder if time is regularly taken to get feedback from customers on their thoughts as to what matters to them and the outcomes they hope to achieve. Actually, I shouldn’t really wonder, as many of companies I have spoken with have not; they feel they already know, and that is simply not so!
Know How to Ask the Right Questions About Your Process
Today, the challenge is to move the game to the next level by taking an approach that links strategy, vision, measurements, technology, organization, engagement, etc., as well as to have nailed down the customer’s outcomes and, for the company, to strategize around this. You can no longer be good; you have to be better and then best, and any lesser than this no longer suffices. To move from delivering a good experience to a great experience requires that you set aside past practices and consider some changes:
- Have your processes been customer journey mapped and the barriers to performance removed?
- Is your internal technology easy to use and does it make the right information available to the right people when they need it?
- Is there organizational alignment?
- Are you omnichannel and do you perform consistently across all channels? Do you understand the rules of channel engagement?
- Are your silos melting away?
- Are your customer processes aligned to metrics which gather insight to move forward?
- Is your organization robust with passionate employees who are engaged?
Depending on how you answer these questions will give you the insight on whether your CX effort is built on a house of cards like the carrier in my art shipping fiasco, or built to execute and show off a team capable of delivering that customer loyalty-building experience.
About the Author
Dennis Gershowitz is the founder and president of DG Associates, a consulting firm that specializes in driving service revenues and profits through the development and implementation of customer experience management (CEM) strategy and service operations improvements. Middlesex Consulting and DG Associates are strategic partners.