Customer experience should be front of mind for all teams within an organisation, but how do you ensure collaboration across all levels of the business?
Customers connect with their selected brands in a mind-boggling variety of ways. They want fast, flexible and responsive service across all touch points, in real-time and right now. The challenge for corporate leaders is how to cut through organisational silos, internal politics, approval procedures, ring-fenced budgets and turf wars to get the job done.
The commercial imperative is clear with every new study proclaiming that a coherent customer experience is the key to driving customer acquisition, retention and referral. One such study (Customer Experience Impact Report), claims that 89 per cent of customers will stop doing business with a brand and switch allegiance after a bad experience. No great surprise. Alternatives are abundant, inertia is non-existent and switching has never been easier.
Customers demand a service that’s coherent and consistent at all points of contact. It’s self-evident that cutting through organisational complexity to create seamless delivery is critical. Indeed, how to deal with this challenge seems to figure somewhere on the agenda at every marketing and customer experience conference, but while the challenge has been discussed extensively it appears for many organisation and business leaders a solution remains elusive.
From my own experience working across a diverse range of sectors and clients, a common denominator among those achieving success in this areas is the ability to supersede familiar functional boundaries, departmental silos and political turf wars and work collaboratively towards a common interest – namely a well-defined and robust customer experience strategy.
Collaboration it appears, is the name of the game, but getting people to see the bigger picture and work together is easier said than done, particularly at the most senior levels of an organisation. For business leaders, effective collaboration often implies making some uncomfortable changes.
If self-awareness is the first step to making some of these uncomfortable changes, I’ve found that an objective process of self-assessment can be a great starting point, particularly when it’s facilitated independently. For example, I find that inviting senior teams to consider the degree to which they agree with the 5 diagnostic statements and to provide evidence that supports their view can create an immensely powerful platform for meaningful collaboration.
- Placing achievement of a shared vision of success above departmental goals
- Prioritising delivery of that shared vision, often at the expense of ‘pet’ projects
- Accepting accountability for delivery and re-directing resources accordingly
- Identifying functional dependencies and dissolving departmental boundaries
- Work cooperatively within a team and develop the skills needed to address new priorities
The 5 diagnostic statements reflect the performance characteristics and capabilities that we have found in the most successful customer experience businesses and are summarised below:
Our senior team understands the central role of customer experience in driving corporate success and competitive performance. We have an accurate and single view of how well our current customer experience delivers our brand promise, meets what our customers expect, and the degree to which it influences purchase behaviour and commercial performance.
Our leadership team and our wider organisation share a clearly defined vision for customer experience success that is easy to remember and explain. We have a clear plan for delivery that prioritises customer experience investment across our business and in each department. Every business head, departmental manager and team leader is accountable for delivering specific customer experience objectives within their team and understands why this is so important.
3. Way of working
Our teams work effectively across functional boundaries to develop and deliver customer experience that consistently meets expectations and is responsive to changing customer needs. Each business leader understands the key departmental dependencies that will govern their success, incorporates these dependencies into their plans and forms cross functional teams to address each challenge.
Our staff appreciates why delivering a great customer experience is so important, understands what we are trying to achieve, knows what they have to do to succeed and feels confident and equipped to deliver. We keep staff informed about the progress we’re making and create opportunities for everyone contribute their ideas and energy on a frequent and regular basis.
Our approach to learning and development is designed produce the customer experience behaviour we need to succeed. Our commercial and support teams work hand in hand to ensure all training is properly focussed and supported to delivery optimum impact on performance. We’re able to assess the impact of training on job performance and business delivery throughout the customer journey.
Experience suggests the debate will be intense, productive and an excellent platform from which to develop a more aligned and collaborative way of working in key areas such as data analytics and reporting, customer focused planning, investment strategy and prioritisation, capability development, internal engagement and front line service delivery.
For the published article visit: http://www.cxnetwork.com/cx-experience/articles/5-statements-to-help-increase-top-to-bottom-custom/