Driving Growth Through Customer Experience
The truth is, now more than ever, everyone plays a part in delivering a superior customer experience
Who’s responsible for creating an exceptional customer experience in your organization? Customer Service? Sales? Client Relationship Managers? Marketing? Product Development? IT? Leadership?
Don’t worry — it’s a trick question. The truth is, now more than ever, everyone plays a part in delivering a superior customer experience.
We live in a world where one bad customer experience can be shared and amplified with hundreds or thousands of people almost immediately, quickly costing you current and future business. At the same time, businesses are becoming more complex, making it that much harder to create and maintain consistency in the experience across the organization.
Market leaders recognize that exceptional customer experience can become a powerful guard against industry volatility and a huge competitive advantage. And now, other organizations are following suit, building customer-centricity into their strategic growth plans. In recent years, the emphasis has been on digital transformation as part of this effort. But technology is only part of the solution. In fact, sometimes these well-intentioned systems can end up creating new frustrations for your customers. Bottom line, no matter how sophisticated or innovative the technology, the difference will come down to your people.
So, how do the market leaders do it? Let’s take a closer look at some of the factors that separate them from the rest of the pack:
- They’re aligned. One defining factor for these companies is their focus on internal collaboration: People know what other groups within the organization are doing and what they bring to the table.
It’s a simple concept on the surface but surprisingly rare to find. Even with all the social collaboration tools now available, most of us still operate behind the invisible walls of our silos. But when different functions and groups are truly integrated and have aligned their attitudes, behaviors and beliefs behind a shared vision, they’re able to leverage their collective strengths to deliver a seamless customer experience. They also have the breadth of capabilities and perspectives at their disposal to stay ahead of a constantly changing environment.
- They’re value-driven. Leading companies are relentlessly focused on delivering the value that matters to their customers. They don’t view selling as something they do to their customers; they view it as an exchange of value built on a foundation of trust, respect and honesty.
This is an attitude that carries throughout the organization, from the sales professionals, who approach the role as one of uncovering and then closing the gap between a customer’s current and desired situation, to the service professionals, who continually look for ways to better understand and address customer needs and issues.
And it comes from the top. Not only do leaders talk the talk, they walk it. They coach to it. They measure and manage by it. It’s how the values of the organization come alive consistently, through interactions as well as processes and systems.
- They’re engaged. If your people aren’t engaged, your customers won’t be either. As the Aon Hewitt Engagement 2.0 Report found, “Highly engaged employees (the top 10%) demonstrate better quality, efficiency and customer outcomes at a rate many multiples greater than the actively disengaged.”
This is why we continue to hammer home the point that your organization’s success ultimately comes down to whether or not your employees have truly aligned their attitudes, beliefs and behaviors with the organization’s values. That’s what will drive not only their own engagement but also their ability to establish trust through their personal commitment and integrity. It’s how they will consistently deliver value that is meaningful from your clients’ perspectives.
Customer experience is an increasingly important strategic differentiator for industry leaders, and they’re not getting there by technology alone. Writing for Forbes about Sitel Group’s 2018 Customer Experience (CX) Index report, Dan Gingiss emphasizes, “The human-to-human connection is key to a great customer experience. A whopping 70% of customers still prefer to talk to a human customer service agent via phone instead of trying their luck with an automated chatbot.”
Now more than ever, if you want to maintain a competitive advantage in an increasingly crowded marketplace, it comes down to the value and experience you bring your customers—and that starts with your people.