Is a Customer Experience Initiative the Same As Having a Customer Centered Culture?
Currently one would be hard-pressed to open their work-related email box, and/or LinkedIn feed and not see multiple offerings to evaluate a demo for technology platforms in support of Customer Experience initiatives. Many of these programs are based upon the configuration and installation of a software platform which provides for customer journey mapping, recurring surveying of different customer groupings, and related metric reporting on an ongoing basis. Most of these technology solutions include a dashboard that provides an ongoing portrayal of a company’s performance measurements reflecting the ongoing interface between designated support employees and their company’s customers.
It is estimated that over 85% of Fortune 500 companies have deployed or are in the process of launching some form of a CEM, ( Customer Experience Management), program. Often, the Companies that roll out new Customer Experience programs that are underpinned by technology platforms hire or assign a new or existing member of their management team with the title Chief Customer Experience Officer, or SVP – Customer Experience, of being charged with ensuring the Customer Experience program is launched and runs effectively. By taking these steps the CEO may believe that they have “addressed the handling of Customer Experience” within their company and they can simply await progress updates from their assigned point person.
However, the reality is that regardless of the features and robust nature of a CEM technology platform implemented into a growing company the medium to long term impact on customer experience will be minimal unless the culture of the entire company is a customer centered one. An analogy would be the long term impact on a very overweight person who strenuously adheres to a new restrictive diet program for a defined time-period but does not take the critical step of coming to the sober realization that they must change their overall life eating habits going forward in order for their weight to remain under control.
Before going through the painstaking process of evaluating CEM technology platforms, a management team must undertake a “soul searching” process of internal evaluation and analysis. This review should include the following:
- Contacting former customers, ( who chose to abandon the company’s products or services ).
- Contacting former prospective customers who opted for a different solution to their need or stopped the sales process at some point for a seemingly inexplicable reason.
- Undertaking a careful inspection of the processes and protocols dictated and followed by every employee working in a customer-facing role.
- Conducting a thorough review and analysis of the reasons behind all customer churn over the last 6 – 12 months.
- Documenting each employee’s perceived role and prioritization during working hours vs. the documented job responsibilities and priorities set and assumed by management.
- Setting a process for communicating, measuring, and targeting every employee in the business focused on how their respective unique work effort impacts the customer’s experience.
Only when management has answered all the above as part of completing a thorough operational review can the development and installation of a truly customer centered business environment begins.
In short, assigning a member of the senior management team with the sole responsibility of overseeing all customer experience management activities using even the most sophisticated technology will not work over-time. Truly successful business entities, regardless of their size, succeed in creating a true customer centered environment when every employee of the company, regardless of their role, is focused on optimizing the customer experience.