Vision with action can change the world: understanding Customer Experience blueprints

Paul - 31 st January 2017

How do you know your people, budgets and projects are focused on driving the things that really matter to the business?

I think this is the question on most of our lips. The answer?

You have created a brand aligned customer experience and used it to prioritise action that will deliver your business ambitions.

This is an essential business goal, and something the creation of a Customer Experience Blueprint will enable you to achieve.

It’s important you understand how you get to this point and the business benefits when you do, but first you need to know where you’re heading.

Vision vs. Action

“Action without vision is only passing time, vision without action is merely day dreaming, but vision with action can change the world” - Nelson Mandela

Nelson’s words resonate strongly with me as I am a time-hardened operator.

Having spent many years leading contact centres and project teams to deliver KPIs and projects to tight deadlines, action flows through me. But as an operator, action without focus is purely action for action’s sake.

Like any good operator I cracked on and delivered, but I often found myself asking why we did the things we did...

How does my individual initiative link to the bigger picture?

Are we really driving “action without vision” to pass the time in our silo, or are we genuinely joined up with the business strategy?

There were often clear, incremental improvements that would provide a positive effect on the customer experience we were delivering - making it a little better. But what purpose did it really serve?

Without a clear brand vision steering the business, or one by which people within the business can connect their day to day activity with, people often struggle to understand the context in which they are operating and can easily get lost along the way. They focus on what they think is right and do their best, but their best may be focused unwisely.

Driven by the brand, the Leadership Team should be providing everyone with the clear direction they need to help them make the right decisions.

Ultimately, they need their teams to develop and build the right delivery plans that balance the value to the customer with the value to the business, and do so at the appropriate cost to deliver the business ambition.

An aligned CX is about balance

Designing and delivering a brand aligned customer experience is not about doing everything customers’ desire. It’s about doing the right things, in the right way, at the right time, to achieve the right balance.

If the balance isn’t achieved you miss the “experience and business sweet spot”, meaning both customers and the business suffer.    

Thankfully, achieving this balance is not rocket science and can be broken down into manageable tasks. We advocate following four clear stages:

  • Exploring

  • Visioning

  • Aligning

  • Delivering

Each stage with a degree of measurement running throughout.

During Exploring and Visioning, the brand vision is created to ensure you are distinctive in your market. This vision needs to be tested, and the potential quantified business benefits need to be clear and understood.

When you move onto Aligning, it’s about taking your brand vision and applying it to the design of your irresistible, brand aligned customer experience.

And then you can move onto the final challenge, which involves working out how and where your business needs to start Delivering the experience. Put simply: doing the right things, in the right way, and at the right time.

This is where the Customer Experience Blueprint comes in.

The Customer Experience Blueprint... the tool that will enable you to build a roadmap towards your business ambition.

Our experience with Ladies Day at the Grand National Festival has proven this concept works.

Having created their aligned customer experience, we worked collaboratively to build an objective and realistic three year plan that enabled them to turn the event around. And after four years without any growth, they saw an uplift in attendance of 5% in the first year alone...

“The results speak for themselves – a crowd that grew by 5,000 over the first two years of implementation, resulting in an event that increased its profit by half a million during that same period” - John Baker, Regional Director, North West, The Jockey Club.

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It neatly slots between the creation of your aligned customer experience and people committing themselves to action. And is a critical part of the process that takes an aspirational customer experience and helps make it real.

Moving from the theory to the reality and practicalities, Customer Experience Blueprints provide the detailed guidance needed to build a coordinated action plan. They also ensure the optimal application of your people, budgets and projects to deliver your customer experience.

Let’s dive into the nitty gritty…

Putting it into action

You’ll have mapped your existing customer experience during the Exploring phase to ensure you understand how well it is performing. So you will understand how your customers feel today, the current challenges they face, and what is working brilliantly for them at each touch point.

You will have also layered your data over the top to understand the numbers e.g. sales conversions, CSAT, NPS, brand tracking, contact centre volumes, and cost per contact.

And having created your irresistible brand aligned customer experience, you will have a very clear understanding of the Brand Basics and Brand Amplifiers that you need to deliver. You will also have a clear view of the strategic business KPIs you are looking to drive, fuelled by your business ambition!

With that knowledge to hand, we work collaboratively using prioritisation techniques to assess the potential influence of each Brand Basic on the strategic KPIs. We also try to understand how geared up the business is to be able to successfully deliver them; how much effort or cost will it require?

Through this process, we begin to prioritise individual activities and understand the relationship between them. This enables us to cluster potential deliverables, as well as link them into existing in-flight projects the business is running.

Let’s take a look at an example...

  • With a recent client, we identified that their online shop required a number of changes.  

  • These changes would not only benefit the sales process, but the subsequent cost being driven into the business from calls to the contact centres.

  • It would also impact customer churn as customers weren’t 100% sure that the package they had signed up to was meeting their needs, or how they could extract the most value from it.

  • We identified that there was an existing project focused on the redesign of the online shop, which meant that the internal team were able to use the detail from the Customer Experience Blueprint to discuss their requirements and influence the direction of the project.

As soon as the detail has been developed, and delivery is understood, it is then possible to work through the potential return on investment. But you must always ensure you achieve the appropriate balance between value to the customer, value to the business and cost to the business.

Achieving this balance helps you create a realistic and prioritised delivery plan  - much like that created for Ladies Day at the Grand National Festival.

In terms of timing - really - it’s bespoke to your business.

Timing comes down to a number of variables, such as the available budget, available resources and ambition to change…

We’ve seen David Lloyd Leisure transform their customer experience in one year, advancing many of their targets faster than they anticipated. And Ladies Day at the Grand National developed a plan that delivered the required results for them over three years. Both solutions are right, because they work for that business.

By taking this approach you know your people, budgets and projects are focused on driving the things that really matter to the business. Remember...

“Action without vision is only passing time, vision without action is merely day dreaming, but vision with action can change the world” - Nelson Mandela

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Paul has a customer experience and operational leadership background. Prior to joining Brand Vista Paul was Head of Customer Experience Design at Virgin Media and is a specialist in designing and implementing brand enhancing customer journeys that deliver commercial results.
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