Customers demand an exceptional customer experience.
While traditional customers may have once had a clear path to purchase, the modern lifecycle of any individual customer may include dozens--or hundreds--of individuals interactions throughout the life of the relationship with your company.
As the purchasing lifecycle evolves, the distributors, resellers, and end customers who purchase from your company expect to have a consistent experience each and every time they interact with your brand. And research shows that organizations that commit to delivering on those customer experience demands are more likely to thrive, while those who ignore them are more likely to fall behind the competition.
Delivering a great customer experience at scale requires some considerable effort on the part of your firm. It takes not only a dedication to managing that experience, but also aligning operations, technology, and even company values behind that effort.
There are three key components that go into transforming your organization into a customer-centric organisation:
1. Align business operationsIn order to create a customer-focused organization, your organization must first be aligned in order to do so.
Most firms are organized in traditional ways, with separate groups for IT, marketing, sales, and production--typical silos. Customer-centric firms may still have traditional departments, but the operations within the firm are aligned to focus on delivering value to the customer. This means removing things like barriers that impede one group from delivering an experience that is consistent with that of other business units.
“Customer experience leaders focus on the customer twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Their goals, values and operations all reflect that focus. Their employees know that creating a great experience is part of their mission, and they are empowered to do so.” - Tom Springer, Domenico Azzarello, and Jeff Melton, Bain & Company
In a classic example of this, support staff may not have access to the full database of customer interactions that have been created and maintained by sales or marketing. Because of this restriction, the support department is unable to deliver a consistent experience that is in line with what the customer has come to expect from their interactions with other departments.
This consistency is a key component to delivering an exceptional customer experience and it is predicated, in large part, in organizations aligning their business units and operations to streamline customer data and enable all functional teams to align their efforts toward delivering that customer experience.
This may require your firm to reconsider organizational structures, permissions, and key processes and procedures. But at the outset, defining how the organization will shift its structure and align operations to deliver on the promise of customer experience is an incredibly important step in achieving those goals.
2. Mold a technology stack
Technology choices should follow the goals of your organization, not the other way around. Following operations and strategic considerations for how to deliver a greater customer experience, the next step is to identify the technology that will allow you to achieve those goals.
Unfortunately, many firms select technology on the basis of what they need immediately, rather than planning for the long-term needs of their organization and their customers.
In a literal sense, this is the piece of the puzzle that allows firms to scale their customer experience operations. Through automation and smart technology systems, value can be created for hundreds, thousands, or millions of customers without the necessity of an enormous workforce. Technology is what enables the strategy to work at every level.
The core components of your technology stack are those that interact directly or indirectly with your customers. Your content management system (CMS), customer relationship management (CRM), and marketing automation platform (MAP) are the three primary pieces that should be chosen for their ability to work within your firm’s customer experience management strategy, rather than chosen based on existing functional needs.
These integral parts of your business must not only have the features and usability required by your customers and internal teams, but they also must have the integration and interoperability necessary to deliver a customer experience across multiple channels and touchpoints, meeting the needs of your customers on a 1:1 scale.
3. Deliver customized value
The ultimate goal of delivering an exceptional customer experience at scale is to deliver value for each and every customer during every interaction and throughout the life of their relationship with your firm.
To achieve this requires more than just organizational alignment and the correct technology choices. These are the non-starters you need to get there, but they won’t create the experience in and of themselves. Your firm must now seek to understand the needs of your customers at an individual level and then create and execute strategies that deliver value--that delight them.
Creating the kind of lasting competitive advantage that can be attained through effective customer experience management requires your firm to not only have the tools in place but also work to continuously analyze and improve the experience from the perspective of the customer.
A full 86% of customers say they are willing to pay more for a better customer experience. But higher revenues are just the tip of the iceberg. Creating a customer-centric organization, complete with operations, procedures, technology, and strategies that focus on delivering customer value will pay off in nearly every facet of your manufacturing business.