Having helped companies ranging from the Fortune 10 to small start-ups, I have quite a bit of game footage on the challenges brands face on the journey to experiential excellence. Time and time again, there’s one critical component that always hampers evolution:
We are wired to work within the confines of organizational silos.
Your prospects, customers and partners (and employees for that matter) do not see you as a series of disparate organizations. They see you as a company. They want to engage you as a singular entity. The onus of seamless engagement is on you – not your audience.
Things were far simpler prior to the advent of digital. Marketers marketed, Sales closed the deal and Service folks did their best to keep customers happy. But the criticality of alignment was lessened by the fact that consumers did not have the power, nor the voice, they have today.
Jeff Bezos summed it up nicely –
“If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell six friends. If you make customers unhappy on the Internet, they can each tell 6,000 friends.”
In other words, the customer support experience (as example) is intrinsically linked to sales. Not just with existing customers – but also with future customers.
Consider for a moment that front line support staff are often measured on the volume of customer issues they can close in a day. I’d suggest that it’s better to have these folks close a fraction of those calls while using customer delight as the metric – not the amount of calls closed.
Some 60% of modern digital buyers say that they will examine a company’s post sale experience as part of the buying process. It’s in our best interest to provide a top notch experience throughout the customer journey while ensuring customers reap the maximum value from their product.
Peter Drucker once said that the purpose of business is to create a customer. And while that may be true, there’s a far bigger opportunity at hand.
In delighting our customers, we create an army of brand advocates. Not only will they continue to buy, but they’ll tell their friends. They’ll becomes your best marketers. Hence I’d suggest that the purpose of business is to create customers who create new customers.
The challenge is that cross-functional discussions focused on the importance of the end-to-end customer experience and the role that everyone plays within it happen all too infrequently, if at all. This is particularly stunning when you consider research suggesting that experience leaders are thriving while laggards are dying.
It’s when we step back and understand the connected nature of the customer experience that we clearly see the importance of cross-functional unification and alignment.
In all of my time helping brands think this through, magic always happens when leaders from customer facing functions come together to understand their own customers journey and the role they play within it.
Unfortunately, only a fraction of companies today have embraced the notion of a Chief Experience Officer. In lieu of that role, someone must take responsibility for the overall customer experience and facilitate this critical cross-functional discussion. With the ever expanding role of the CMO, I’d suggest they’re best positioned to tackle this head on. But regardless of who, someone must own this.
Is your organization having these discussions? Are you unified around the customer journey? Have you reconciled goals and KPI’s across functions with focus on experience excellence?
If not, it’s an absolute imperative and now is the time.