Delivering Critical CX – the fundamental brand purpose

Customer Experience and Engagement is often overlooked as a core strategy and and forgotten as purpose for businesses, when it should be considered the fundamental brand purpose to deliver it. If not the customer, then what really matters?

It’s tempting to fall into a pattern of focusing purely on operational problems and to lose sight of the fact that the customer is the boss. The customer makes or breaks the business and we should make it our entire business to know what they want, anticipate their needs before they fully realise what they are and deliver it delightfully through all functions and processes. More than ever before, this is the primary function of business.

CXE – Customer Experience and Engagement

Critical CX is not just Customer Experience. We extend it to the Customer Engagement too because the engagement, constant and consistent contact, support and collaboration with our customers is how we find out their expectations. It’s also how we can help to shape those expectations. Today’s business and tomorrow’s iconic brand needs to master right away the importance of CXE and put in place the frameworks to map and refine the customer journey with the influence of the customer and fulfilling their expectations and our promise at the heart of our business game.

The customer may not always be right, but the customer is always the only boss. Dismiss or displease your customer at your peril.

SAM WALTON

The way that internal facing teams conceive of their role in CXE, from internal engagement of our staff, suppliers and stakeholders and our external facing teams and leaderships see and approach customer relationships will define the future success of our business. Considerations on the process of interactions and problem solving through the customer journey are key but a risk based approach should be adopted to anticipate exceptions and the most innovative and satisfactory way to deal with those without losing money on the transaction or losing customer satisfaction or losing out on opportunities for engagement and  data capture. Positive customer takeaways should of course be prioritised. Companies must be prepared for scenarios that may arise and staff and managers should be trained to engage and win in these encounters.

Unfortunately, but understandably in many small companies, the majority of time is spent focusing the wrong things and not enough on the customer.

Customer Experience and Engagement as a primary process and cultural mindset can seem daunting and should certainly not be taken lightly. It can expose problems that the business may not yet be ready to tackle and so a key aspect of making this effective is to ensure that the organisation is infact ready for this.

Introducing and propagating CXE is organisational change and should be approached and executed as such, with care, thoughtfulness and wide ranging collaboration.

 

  • Be Open. This process can expose problems and while they may seem new to the organisation, it should be borne in mind, that they were in all probability pre-existing but the spotlight on the experience on the customer made it apparent. CXE didn’t create the problem. This means that there will need to be buy in across the organisation to uncovering these and dealing with them.
  • Readiness. It naturally also means that your people will need to be prepared. This should not be gone into lightly. Time should be taken to ensure that people are ready and empowered to see and correct the areas that threaten the brand image or perception. Training and exposure to how and why this can be done is pivotal for effectiveness.
  • Responsiveness. Related, of course to readiness is the responsiveness to customer enquiries and interactions and clarity on how to deal with a plethora of communications that can come through multiple channels and how to prioritise these. There must be the resilience and responsiveness to make parts of the process that are not effective right and take control of factors that impact on CXE negatively.
  • Capability. This needs to be built up across leadership and teams to ensure responsiveness at the right level and in a timely manner.
  • Commitment. The actions of the leaders at all levels in the process should be consistent with the strategy underpinning the CXE process and in alignment with the culture and returns sought.
  • Trust. The leaders must make themselves accountable, approachable and engender trust through their knowledge of and commitment to, the process. They also need to show and tell their trust in their teams having given them the tools to perform their best role for the customer through the process.
  • Inclusion. Leaders should ensure that all team members as well the function leads feel important to the group and can share their concerns with their leaders in defining and solving the problems in the process.
Chinenye Ikwuemesi

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