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Customer Experience Vision Dictates Value 

Lynn Hunsaker | Jul 22, 2016 337 views 5 Comments

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customer experience visionDoes your vision for customer experience match your customers’ vision? If yes, then you’re on your way to customer-centricity, and the growth touted by customer experience management. If your answer is “kinda”, then you’ll be leaving money on the table. Customers are the source of paychecks, budgets and dividends. Being in-sync with the hand that feeds you is common sense that may not be common practice.

Inconsistent vision means inconsistent value:

  • Does your customer experience vision, as a facilitator within your company, match the C-team’s customer experience vision? Are they on the same page with you?
  • Furthermore, is everyone on the same page about customer experience within the C-suite?
  • Different visions for customer experience at different locations of your company presents a variety of problems.
  • And sometimes customer-facing staff has a distinct customer experience vision that is at odds with their upstream value chain (engineering, IT, finance, production, marketing, supplier management, etc.).

Consistency is the key. Jumbled perspectives translate to jumbled outcomes. Shared vision is the first step to minimizing chaos, building trust, and maximizing value.

Shared Vision
A common way of establishing shared vision for customer experience is to declare a target Net Promoter ScoreTM or First Contact Resolution percentage or customer retention rate. The risk with this approach is pursuit of the target by any means. What’s needed over and above a number target is a clear description of how you hope customers will feel and think — throughout the customer life cycle and the customer experience journey. This becomes your brand promise. In turn, this description becomes a guide for how your whole company needs to think and do. This is your blueprint for customer-centric culture.

In fact, instead of starting off your customer experience strategic planning with voice-of-the-customer targets and methodologies, you’ll gain more value by starting off with defining what’s needed from every part of your company to consistently deliver your brand promise.

Customer experience context should be crystal clear for every job role. A free pass to any group, including suppliers and alliance and channel partners, is a doorway to inconsistency and lost value. Giving free passes is skin-deep outside-in culture. Everyone has a ripple effect on customer experience. Inconsistencies cause your customer-facing staff to act as a buffer. This takes a toll on morale and staff turnover, which erodes value financially and strategically (e.g. knowledge management and relationship-building).

Customer experience vision silos are perpetuated by assumptions, metrics, and processes that aren’t in-sync with the customer experience journey and life cycle. Customer experience goals should inform corporate strategy, organizational structure, and culture-building. Why? Because customers pay for everything you are. It’s about getting in-sync with the hand that feeds you. Mis-matches between your customer experience vision and your company’s overall strategy and structure perpetuate weaknesses in shared vision — and limit growth.

Customer Experience Management Vision Silos
An important reality-check is an assessment of whether the way customer experience is managed is a contributor or limiter of customer experience excellence.

  • Do your surveys interrupt customers or allow them to give feedback however and whenever they prefer?
  • Does your voice of the customer (VoC) portfolio require customers to step into your shoes or the shoes of your supervisor to evaluate you, or does it allow them to talk about their own world?
  • Does your customer relationship management (CRM) software focus on upselling and cross-selling or does it minimize repetition for customers and strengthen relationships?
  • Does your customer loyalty and engagement programs emphasize volume purchases and evangelizing your brand or creating mutual value?
  • Does your employee engagement strategy reward busy-work or emphasize employer affinity, or does it meaningfully engage employees in making a difference for customers’ well-being?

This reality-check answers the first question in this article: Does your vision for customer experience match your customers’ vision? If your answer is “yes” to the first option in any of these assessment questions, you’re limiting the value you could otherwise be reaping.

Create shared vision between your customers’ definition of customer-centricity and your customer experience management practices. Bridge silos across everyone’s vision of customer experience excellence throughout your company and beyond. Consistency will propel the growth you’re seeking.

This article is sixth in a 12-part monthly series:
1. 10 Silos Impact Customer Experience
2. Silo Detectives for Organizational Collaboration
3. Customer Experience Boggle-Busters for Channel Silos
4. Solving System Silos for Customer Experience Excellence
5. Customer Experience Data Silos Demystified
6. Customer Experience Management Prevents Process Silos

Images purchased under license from Shutterstock.

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5 Responses to Customer Experience Vision Dictates Value

  1. Jeff Toister July 25, 2016 at 9:14 am (84 comments) #

    I’m curious to know how you define “customer experience vision” – would you mind elaborating?

  2. Lynn Hunsaker July 26, 2016 at 12:34 pm (100 comments) #

    Thanks for your question, Jeff.

    Customer experience vision is an outlook of what the customer experience embodies and achieves.

    So customers’ CX vision is what they want to feel, think, and be able to do (in getting and using a solution).

    C-team’s CX vision is what they want to deliver for customers (hopefully identical to customers’ CX vision) and what that should deliver in business growth.

    And so on. Hoping that helps readers.

    –Lynn

  3. Jeff Toister July 27, 2016 at 9:56 am (84 comments) #

    Thanks, Lynn.

    Your definition makes sense, but I think it also creates a conundrum for companies. Do you start with your customer’s vision or your company’s?

    I believe you start with the company vision. Why? Because you can’t be all things to all people. Some people will never fly Southwest Airlines because they want assigned seating. So, you figure out what an amazing experience should look like and then ask your customers how well you’re fulfilling that vision.

  4. Lynn Hunsaker July 30, 2016 at 10:04 am (100 comments) #

    Jeff, I start with customer’s vision. Select a primary target audience, and research their behind-the-scenes processes across their customer experience journey with the product category you sell. This will define the customers’ CX vision that your c-team should design around.

    Southwest Airlines is a great example because they picked a certain target audience. Their comparison was not other airlines, but alternative transportation such as train / Amtrack. That opened up SWA’s creativity to depart from the airline industry’s norms, which they continue to do in several refreshing ways. SWA is not for everyone or every type of trip, but they certainly have been successful with their primary target audience, both in ratings and financially.

    Almost all book authors suggest what you describe: figure out what an amazing experience should look like and then ask your customers how well you’re fulfilling that vision. But things typically break down in tying that VoC to financials because it did not start in the right place. Always start with a target audience, understand them and their alternatives, especially their behind-the-scenes stuff — not just touchpoints with you, and especially about the product category — not just your brand. It will be very illuminating.

    My advice: Start with Your Customers in Every Strategy

    –Lynn

  5. Jeff Toister August 1, 2016 at 9:26 am (84 comments) #

    Thanks, Lynn. I think your clarification changes how I read your original post. To me, customer experience vision and brand promise are closely related, and I would suggest starting there.

    I don’t think we’re too far apart. When I originally read your post and first reply, I interpreted it to mean that you were advocating the customer sets the vision, but honing in on a particular customer is a bit different. (You can’t be all things to all people, right?)

    Southwest Airlines is a terrific example. They started with a target customer (business travelers in Texas) and honed in on creating a great experience at a low cost. I agree that’s a good idea.

    It’s interesting to see how the experience evolved. You may or may not know that early Southwest flights included free booze and attractive flight attendants. Southwest has definitely evolved from that (a good thing), but they certainly understood their customer at the time!

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