7 Keys To Customer Experience In 2010, Part 2

Happy Holidays!

In a previous post, I discussed an article that I wrote for the December issue of CRM Magazine. Here’s the full text from the article…

Despite the economic difficulties in 2009, we’ve seen a significant up-tick in real customer experience efforts. What do I mean by real? Efforts which address systemic issues like poorly designed interactions, broken processes, outdated business rules, insufficient customer insight, and cultures that are far from customer-centric. 

2010 will likely be an even more active year for customer experience. While many companies will make substantial progress, others will falter. Here is some advice for keeping your customer experience efforts on track next year:

1) Drop the executive commitment facade. It’s very easy for executives to say “customer experience is important.” But it’s much more difficult for them to dedicate the time and energy required to make it a real priority. So in 2010, executives should either get actively involved in customer experience transformation or drop it from their agendas.

Start here: Develop a customer experience dashboard and manage the results with the same energy that you manage financial results.

2) Acknowledge that you don’t know your customers. When market research teams require long lead times and expensive projects to answer questions about customers, too many organizations go without this insight. But the path to customer experience success requires significantly deeper customer insight. So in 2010, companies need to develop voice of the customer programs that provide ongoing and continuous access to customer insights.

Start here: Create a voice of the customer program with a cross-functional team that focuses on four “LIRM” components: listening to customers, interpreting the feedback, reacting to the insights, and monitoring results from actions over time.

3) Keep from getting too distracted by social media. Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites may seem sexy, but they aren’t the only channels for customer feedback. Other channels like comments on surveys and calls into the call center can often provide even richer insight. So in 2010, companies need to learn from social media feedback, but not overreact to it.

Start here: Treat social media as one of many listening posts in a comprehensive voice of the customer program that examines both structured and unstructured feedback.

4) Stop squeezing the life out of customer service. My research shows that consumers care more about good customer service than they do low prices. It also turns out that many customer service interactions are critical “moments of truth” that drive customer loyalty. But companies often treat customer service an unwanted stepchild; focusing almost exclusively on aggressive cost-cutting. So in 2010, companies need to start viewing customer service as a strategic asset.

Start here: Measure customer service organizations based on how effectively they help customers instead of efficiency metrics like average handle times.

5) Restore the purpose in your brand. True brands are more than just color palettes, logos, and marketing slogans, they’re the fabric that aligns all employees with customers in the pursuit of a common cause. They represent a firm’s raison d’être. Unfortunately, many companies have lost this sense of purpose in their brands. So in 2010, companies need to redefine their brand and embed it in the hearts and minds of all employees.

Start here: Translate your brand into promises you will make (and keep) with customers across every key touch point.

6) Don’t expect employees to get on board. Employees are often the most critical element of any customer experience effort. But firms can’t just hope that everyone will participate in these change initiatives. So in 2010, companies need to actively focus on engaging employees at every level across the organization in their customer experience efforts.

Start here: Communicate (a lot) about “why” customer experience is important and allow employees to participate in defining “how” to make improvements.        

7) Translate customer experience into business terms. My research uncovered a strong correlation between customer experience and loyalty. An average $10 billion company can generate $284 million of additional revenues from customer experience improvements. But most companies don’t fully understand the link between customer experience and business results. So in 2010, companies need to identify how customer experience impacts their financial results.

Start here: Engage the CFO to develop a model which shows the impact that customer experience has on customer loyalty.

The bottom line: As I said before, 2010 will be a busy year for customer experience.

About Bruce Temkin
I am a customer experience transformist, helping large organizations improve business results by changing how they deal with customers. As part of this focus, I examine strategy, marketing, interaction design, customer service, and leadership practices. I am also a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Simply put, I am passionate about spotting emerging best practices and helping companies master them. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. My “title” is Managing Partner of the Temkin Group, a customer experience research and consulting firm that helps organizations become more customer-centric. Our goal is simple: accelerate the path to delighting customers. I am also the co-founder and chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA.org), a non-profit organization dedicated to the success of CX professionals.

6 Responses to 7 Keys To Customer Experience In 2010, Part 2

  1. Pingback: Bruce Temkins revealing 7 keys to customer experience in 2010 part 2 « Fredzimny's Blog

  2. Pingback: Voice of the Customer | A Random Jog

  3. Tim Sanchez says:

    There’s some really good info here; thanks for sharing. #4 and #7 resonate with me the most; it’s always amazing to me that people forget the biggest thing consumers want: VALUE.

    The amount that customer service and customer experience factor into that value is only going to increase going forward.

  4. Ray Brown says:

    No 2 is a great point – “Acknowledge that you don’t know your customers”. I just wonder about the suggested solution of a “cross functional team.” Is it not time that we recognised the changes in the market (consumer as participant ?) by creating new and dedicated centres of customer skills, knowledge & information that can inform and support the “traditional” functions of sales, marketing and operations.

  5. Lior Arussy says:

    Bruce,

    Excellent piece. Touching the right issues that are creating the barriers to move from talking to doing.

    From experience, the business case is the most serious issue. Companies simply do not understand how much it cost them in lost revenues and loyalty currency to continue and behave the way they do.
    My advise to all – find out how much money do you leave on the table by not doing customer experience correctly.
    Only when people realize that missing the customer experience target means missing their numbers, would the burning platform will be very clear.

  6. Pingback: Plädoyer für den Chief Customer Officer (CCO) | Cirquent Blog

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