As part of your 2011 planning efforts, make sure to keep customer experience in-synch with the rest of your business.
Customer experience efforts are not altruistic; they need to accomplish something. So the goal of customer experience management is to change how an organization acts so that something changes with its customers. What are those things you can aim to change with customers?
- Attitudes: How do you want those customers to think and feel about your company?
- Behaviors: What do you want those customers to do?
What are the attitudes and behaviors we need from each target customer segment to support our business and brand strategy?
Without this clarity, every customer experience effort can seem like a good investment and companies often fall into the trap of trying to “wow” customers during every interaction; which is almost always an unattainable goal.
Good customer experience efforts aren’t divorced from the overall business. They recognize that:
- Customer experience is an enabler. Companies don’t succeed because of great customer experience. They succeed when their customer experience supports their overall business and brand strategy. If Zappos didn’t offer the right shoes at the right prices, it’s great customer experience would have been for naught.
- Separation causes conflict. The number one obstacle to customer experience success is “other competing priorities.” That becomes an issue when customer experience is treated as something different than the rest of the business. So creating a disconnected customer experience strategy is a sure-fire way to create even more conflict with “other competing priorities.
If you are developing customer experience plans, make sure to:
- Clarify your business strategy and brand values
- For each customer segment, determine the attitudes and behaviors that are required to support your business strategy and brand values
- Identify gaps between current and desired attitudes and behaviors (by segment)
- Start planning around how to close the gaps (by segment)
- Stay away from efforts that aren’t helping to close the gap.
The bottom line: Customer experience ROI comes from attitudes and behaviors