BRAND and REPUTATION are not just the preserve of bigger businesses, they are equally important for SMEs. They may take a while to build but, once established, provide an excellent platform for differentiating your business from your competitors’.
Prices can be reduced at a stroke, products can be tweaked and packaging re-designed, but your competitors can’t copy your reputation (not quickly, anyway).
With all the day-to-day operational issues it’s sometimes hard to find the time to reflect on how your customers see you until something goes wrong. If that happens to be a “big something” you will probably have to spend a great deal of time sorting out the problem and rebuilding your reputation. In these days of social media bad news travels fast and it’s hard to contain.
Converting Brand Strategy to Customer Experience
Experience illustrates the importance of ‘hard-wiring’ the relationship between brand strategy and customer experience. Action in 7 core areas can help transform customer experience over time:
1) Prepare a detailed, research-based model of the service journey for each customer segment
2) Understand which components of the journey most strongly influence choice & satisfaction
3) Prioritise investment and development to achieve visible change in these areas
4) Prepare detailed service standards to define how each part of the journey should be delivered
5) Design all new products and services to deliver the brand promise
6) Define key performance indicators to achieve consistent measurement
7) Change top-down reward and remuneration to reflect performance against these priorities
Achieving sustained change in the ‘outputs’ of operational performance means hard-wiring the ‘inputs’ (customer journey/service standards/investment / measurement / remuneration). This can’t be done by one person. People at every level in the business need to be involved and committed.
There’s an expression “the first sign of madness is doing the same thing but expecting different results”. When an organisation seeks to strengthen its customer experience it inevitably means CHANGE, with people having to evolve the way they work from directors to front line staff.
To maintain focus and momentum some key changes may be needed. For example:
- Board meeting agendas may change to reflect the focus on customer experience
- People from different parts of the business may need to be brought together to plan and contribute to the change process
- Rigorous prioritisation may be needed – you can’t do everything.
Changing the experience invariably means finding better ways to organise and operate. Doing too much means doing nothing: Prioritisation is a painful but vital process.
If you would like to meet up and discuss or review how your business brand strategy converts into customer experience feel free to give us a call or email firstname.lastname@example.org.