The pain of misalignment: Your body doesn’t like it, why should your customers?


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Recently I published a post describing on how marketing and customer service functions are impacting each other. More than 1,900 people have read the post so far, so I conclude that I’m not the only one who cares about this issue.

Now consider how social media is also driving opportunity and the need for organizational alignment, as well as consequences when there is lack of alignment.

The Better Business Bureau may have been the medium of choice for a past generation, but today social media forums are making post-sale customer service more transparent than ever before. There exist any number of sites where people widely broadcast their post purchase experience, ranging from YELP to YouTube. This goes well beyond Amazon’s customer ratings of products, where consumers offer passionate reviews of products and service, and accounts of how they have been treated or mistreated. There is even a LinkedIn group, Customer Satisfaction: Kudos & Katastrophes.

You can treat this as just more noise on the Web, but stories about customer experience remain accessible far longer than newsprint or marketing brochures, and the authority of customers often exceed that of messages provided by the company itself. Comments are searchable, may go viral and begin to get treated as fact, not just opinion.

So how can you market a consistent message if it’s not aligned with what really happens when customers reach out to the contact center?

One consequence is that the Public Relations function will also be working more closely with customer service in firms that see the potential impact. Another is that savvy Public Relations firms will broaden their focus on corporate reputation to include social media and what customers say about their service experience.

The new world of customer service is driving change inside the firm, not just changing how we relate to customers!

This is a good thing:

1. To be a customer-centric business, you need to adapt organizational design to customer experience and buying behaviors.

2. The Chief Customer Experience Officer becomes a role for driving organizational alignment, and not just the person who tracks customer insights. An HBR article, Rethinking Marketing, provides a great description of how this leadership role can integrate Sales, Marketing, Customer Service and Product Design.

3. When brand, employee delivered brand-in-action, and the focus of leaders are all in sync across the business, customers experience a healthy enterprise, and one with whom they will continue to do business.

The headline and image for this post notes the pain of a misaligned body. If you have been to a chiropractor, you can see how the analogy applies to organizational change. First, a good chiropractor will tell you where your body is out of alignment and how this is causing you to experience pain. Second, they can alleviate that discomfort, and if not in one session, they can get you on the right path to making progress. Third, if you want a healthier lifestyle, they can advise you how to prevent such problems from reoccurring and how to develop a better balanced, more integrated approach to living.

When I grow up, I want to be an organizational chiropractor!

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Marc Sokol
A psychologist with an eye for the ways organizational dynamics make it possible or impossible to delight customers, I see the world from the eyes of customers, employees and leaders who strive to transform customer experience.


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