There Are No Secrets to Great Customer Experience

By Michael Judd

If there is one thing for any business that has assumed the greatest importance in the last few years, it’s Customer Experience (CX). Whether you’re B2C or B2B, customers have come to expect high levels of personalization, and responsiveness and they want those in every interaction with your company. 

Therein lies the challenge: every interaction. They want you on 'their' journey; they do not want to be forced on 'your' journey.

So, if a company is going to really take a hard look at their customer experience, one of the first questions that must be answered is, “whose responsibility is it?” Should sales drive the solution? Certainly, the sales team has the charter to interact with customers through the sales cycle. Should marketing drive the solution? They manage the touchpoints that are so important to reaching, qualifying, and queuing up your prospects. Then again there are the product teams. Aren’t they ultimately responsible for crafting and maintaining all of the touchpoints involved post-sale, that build long-term relationships and build affinity with your products and solutions? And speaking of relationships, perhaps customer service should be responsible for the CX experience your company delivers. 

Yes. These are all correct assumptions and the answer is every organization within your company plays a role in delivering the level of CX that your customers now expect. Consequently, improving and setting a higher standard for CX should be driven from the top-down, with a holistic approach that includes every touchpoint with your customers. 

To be completely comprehensive, business leaders should include internal organizations such as human resources as well. Because your employee experience is also a critical component of delivering a state-of-the-art customer experience. I would call that approach CEX, for Customer and Employee X-perience.

With a great CEX, your business will be in a much better position to thrive and grow in this new era of customer-centric commerce. Embracing the initiative to make experience a cornerstone of your growth path is a big undertaking. As with all things complex, there are a few critical components to focus on that will help you organize your efforts and speed your delivery of an effective and differentiating customer experience.

  1. Start with a systemic view of the company. At least from a conceptual standpoint, remove the perceptual barriers between the separate operational divisions within your company. Your company is a collection of people, processes, and technology, working together. Taking the view that all of these components work together and are interdependent, leads to a more holistic approach to understanding how each affects the other as well as the whole system.
  2. Build a comprehensive customer journey map of all interactions with your customers throughout their journey. Once you adopt an interdependent systems approach you will more likely see how multiple systems are involved in singular touchpoints. 
  3. Analyze the interaction map through two lenses, one of successful interactions, and one of unsuccessful interactions. By identifying the strengths and weaknesses that lead to success or customer dissatisfaction within the context of a comprehensive view of your customer journey, your business can begin to link the processes involved in each.
  4. Finally, you should take an integration approach to building your CX. This means creating a nimble microarchitecture that integrates the tools and technologies that keep you aligned with your customers’ investments in technology. A smart-home device, smartwatch, or their existing mobile applications could provide opportunities to constructively place your brand in the path of the customer. But this does not start with large vertical enterprise systems. Instead, you should focus on a customer intelligence platform that allows for constant updates of capabilities and features. Staying on the path of your customers is a constant battle. But Experience Automation and AI will make it easier over time.

Human nature makes taking a holistic approach to CEX one of the toughest challenges for any business leader. In success-driven companies, it is very difficult to identify and own failure. In his successful efforts to save Ford Motor Company after joining as CEO in 2007, Alan Mulally established a positive environment of brutal honesty within the Business Plan Review meeting. His successful turnaround can be attributed to his approach that “you can’t manage a secret.” In order to encourage his team to reveal those “secrets” of failure, he needed to first establish an environment that rewarded admission, so that interdependencies could be addressed and marshaled to mitigate the failures.

By showing his leadership team that everything is interdependent, and taking a holistic approach to automobile production, Mulally set an example for every business leader who needs to improve their operations. 

Forward-thinking and growth-oriented companies all share a fundamental perception: You’re always failing at something. Find it, address it and you’ll be in a much more powerful position to achieve your goals. With increased customer demands over the past year, success requires owning the customer perspective and being where they need you to be. You have to carefully map their journey and implement a nimble Experience Automation capability that combines the strength of a microarchitecture and an integration approach. All this must be built for constant evolution and intelligence upgrades. This will put you in a position to thrive in the new CX-driven economy.

About Originate 

Since 2007, Originate has been a premier digital innovation company composed of seasoned entrepreneurs and top software engineers. From startups to the world’s largest enterprises, Originate accelerates businesses with a value-driven approach to Experience Automation and AI.  

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