Most in the business community agree that adding and retaining customers is becoming harder by the year. And economic conditions will continue growing the gap between potential supply and trailing customer demand – even after the recession eases. That’s forcing more and more companies to change from company-first (inside-out) models to customer-first (outside-in).
The question is…how? Do they invest first in becoming super-communicators with customers with strong brands – or do they start by changing: what work is done; by who (organizational redesign); how; and with which enabling technologies – otherwise known as Outside-In process?
A marketer’s first reaction will likely be through customer communication. A process person will almost all come down on the side of customer-driven process. But what about those in customer experience?
I believe an increasing number of CEM folks are starting to agree with the process perspective. Not even well-trained and highly motivated customer contact staff can overcome bad process (and policies). And the most influential aspect of customer experience is employee contact.
Several years ago, my research partner David Mangen Ph.D and I (no Ph.D) conducted a study of both B2B and B2C buying triggers across a range of industries. Like many an objective research project not seeking to validate beliefs does, this one surprised us with several unexpected findings. Principal among these was customers ranking “dealing with knowledgeable and empowered employees” their second most influential buying trigger for both B2B and B2C. That’s a process outcome, not a product of branding or any other form of customer communication.