We recently outlined the makings of an effective Brand Alignment Approach (you can read more here), which focuses on five aspects critical to customer experience success:
It is robust, rigorous, time served and distinctly lacking in ‘fluff’. In other words, it is a realist’s approach.
Over the next few weeks we are going to delve a little deeper into each stage, starting with Exploring...
Dig deep and listen hard
Before you start on your journey to becoming more customer-oriented, you must start with an understanding of where you want to get to and what you want your business to look like.
Knowing this is crucial if you want to achieve your goal.
Start by collecting the facts and building a clear ambition that will convince the senior team to support the transformation. If you can’t build a business case and clearly show the journey ahead, the executives aren’t going to back the initiative - let alone back it with passion!
You need to get real with this - don’t follow a design-led approach.
Excite, energise and inspire them.
Build a balanced business case based on three vital components:
What is good for customers?
What is good for the business?
What will be the cost and return to the business?
Answer these three burning questions and you’ll be able to demonstrate why the business should apply its limited resources to fuel this particular programme.
So open your minds and your ears...
Find out what people really think about your business and its brand. Banish preconceptions, explode comfortable myths and paint a brutally honest picture of where the company currently stands and its relationship with its customers and employees.
1. Get inside the heads and hearts of your customers
To create an experience different to all others, and differentiate yourself in the market, you need to be conducting new research. Otherwise you’ll be building a vision using the same information as competitors.
So get inside the heads of your customers. Listen to what they have to say and open up different insights into customer behaviours…
What are they doing?
Who or what sets their benchmarks?
What impact does technology have on their lives?
How do they escape from the everyday world?
What do they say they do and what do they actually do?
Asking these questions helps you take a step back from all the traditional research methodologies and see the bigger picture.
It challenges you to take risks and gain insights from others who may observe or influence the market. And it gives real world insights into customer behaviour.
We call this ‘Going into the jungle’, because animals operate very differently in the zoo than they do in the wild.
2. Insights from the inside world
Your people are the talent that powers your business. They buy into the brand as well as operate it. So listen to them when it comes to generating insight.
These are the people who spend their time working around broken processes in order to do the jobs they are tasked with. They know what is working and what isn’t - what gets in the way of a friction-free customer experience.
These are the people who engage with customers day in day out. They are interacting with customers at every touch point, across every channel. So let’s face it, your talent often knows more about your customer experience than you do...
Yet how many businesses take the time to listen to them?
The answer? Not many.
Brands must listen to their employees. Find out what they think, feel, say and do when you are not in the room.
Spend a day in their shoes.
3. Proof from hard business data
Data is key. And hard business data plays an invaluable role.
Think product sales figures, operational costs, staff turnover, online customer behaviour data, media spend and call centre records. With it, you can build a framework to transform soft qualitative data into hard quantitative data.
And with targeted digital data - gathered from across the multi-channel experience - you’ll be able to see how customers are actually behaving during their customer journey.
For example, how does what they say they do compare to what they actually do?
The goal is to prove (or disprove) the scale of the problem or identify elements that work well in the existing customer journey…
Identify the right data to collect, using tools like SIPOC and the CTQ Matrix
Collect and analyse data from specific sources
Analyse how the data directly influences the top business metrics
Any data about the customer experience must be directly relatable back to the overall macros KPIs of the business to ensure alignment throughout.
The Brand Alignment Approach: Exploring
You’ll now be able to map the existing customer journey, with input from the right people across the business, powered by data from customers in the digital and physical worlds.
This outlines your starting point on this journey to becoming more customer-oriented.
Just remember to listen to those inside and outside of the business. Seek real insights that can be turned into profitable action, and link everything together with a strong business case.
Become a customer experience realist.