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Evolve or Die – Evolving your Customer Experience

26th July 2015

Evolve or Die – Evolving your Customer Experience!

I have to admit this seems like an extreme title for Consort’s first blog post!

I can assure you though it is not a desperate plea for you to hire us, nor is it a threat that we will find you if you don’t! Evolving your customer experience though is a topic that seems to be quite prevalent across all sectors at the moment. Whether it is transforming the digital experience of a global bank, or changing the patient experience of a healthcare provider. Everyone seems to be finally waking up to the need to deliver a fantastic experience or they will be replaced by someone who can!

This is great news. But before we crack open the bubbly and we go looking for something else to focus on, there is a long way to go before the acknowledgement of the importance of evolving your customer experience turns into a reality. Then even further before it turns into a way of life in the culture of businesses!

95% of senior business leaders accept that customer experience is one of the top 3 priorities for their companies. Yet only 37% of companies have an active strategy to improve it. Why is that? With customer experience expected to be the key diffentiator over product and price by 2020, enterprises should be realising that they need to be leading the pack in their sector around the customer experience. Make evolving your customer experience a priority then. Otherwise a competitor or start up that appreciates this aspect will step in and replace them!

But why the lack of investment in the CX strategy?

Well with competition for budget spend across all other department initiatives, it is often a casualty in the budget process. So how do you get evolving your customer experience to be at the top of the agenda?

How do you prove its ROI against other initiatives and projects?

The ROI of these initiatives has previously been quite difficult to prove vs the more tangible business cases that are built on years of experience. Although these frequently don’t deliver the benefits! So how do you convince people your initiatives are more important than the ones already on the table?

Fortunately there is now a lot more information for you to use from those who have embraced the importance of the customer experience. Facts are available around how they have seen a commercial gain alongside improved customer satisfaction. We have pulled together The Distinguished Dozen! for you to get started with. If you are still looking for further help after this, we have loads more in the store cupboard to help you with!

On top of this though what are the key hygiene factors that need to be present for you to be successful with your customer programme?

People

In order for your company to deliver consistently superior experiences to customers it must be in the lifeblood of the company. From induction training through to departmental leaders. With empowerment and ownership of the customer at all levels, whilst analysing data and insights to enhance a continuous improvement programme. The investment needs to be there in the employee experience for it to flow through into the customer experience.  It is no surprise then that companies with highly engaged employees deliver a better customer experience. In fact, companies who deliver a superior customer experience have 2.5x more employees who are engaged than those who don’t hit the mark with their customers. And with 30% of all failed customer programmes being linked to a lack of employee engagement, it is clear to see that you need to focus on engaging the workforce if you are to be successful in your new customer programme!

Process

It is so important that a business preparing to go on a customer experience transition, is prepared to change their processes and routine in order to reach their goals! 31% of failed CX programmes found in the post mortem that the business failed to modify key processes in the change initiatives.

Managing change is not easy, and dependant on how mature the processes are it may be very difficult to change old habits. But stick with this and make sure enough time and importance is dedicated to customer journey mapping. Do this through all the business processes so that this important step is considered as part of the programme.

The importance of bringing the people on this journey too cannot be under estimated. As the processes change it will affect people in different ways. So make sure to leave enough time to bring the hearts and minds along the journey, not just the systems and process changes.

Technology

Customers have moved on in their expectations as to how they will interact with the companies they use. They expect you to be able to deliver on these expectation too! With the market leaders now offering integrated CRM and Omni-channel solutions, customers are getting a personalised hassle free experience. It is linked between the channels as they hop through transactions.

They expect they will get this level of customer care with each interaction they have now so those who are lagging behind with investment in these areas are going to struggle! In the age of smartphone and tablet technology, 37% of transactions start from a mobile device, but could end up being completed on any device. With 86% of customers using multiple channels to engage with the companies they use, the time for these channels to all be linked is more prevalent than ever! As Gen Y and Gen Z now start to grow the adult population who are digitally native, customers will expect nothing less than an integrated customer experience across all channels. One that makes it easy to do business with your company. With this in mind make sure your company has an appropriate technology roadmap to go with the CX programme. This should enable you to deliver against these expectations.

Culture

The importance of evolving your customer experience should flow through the whole company as a cultural belief. This should start from the top and be replicated by all leaders in the business. So if the board and senior leaders are not engaged in this mind-set, you will be doomed from the outset!

29% of failed CX initiatives cited a lack of senior leaders support; therefore the most important place to start is at the C-Suite to get some powerful advocates behind your strategy. Pushing the agenda should become much easier once the senior team are behind your initiatives!

Is it worth the investment?

Well, whether you like it or not customer expectations are changing and becoming more demanding all the time! Customers will expect to be empowered. To make decisions and use whatever channel is convenient for them at that moment in time, as well as the experience being consistent across all channels. With price and product becoming increasingly similar across most competitive markets, customer loyalty and retention will be gained by differentiating on the experience. Evolving your customer experience will be your competitive advantage! Make it special. Make it personalised. Make it easy to do business and you will gain advocates!

That means an increased share of your customer’s wallet and increased market share!

Evolving your customer experience then is key! Fail to evolve your proposition and you might as well roll the dice to see how long your customers stay with you before moving to your competitors.

Evolve or die, the decision of course is yours!

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