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The Customer Way
The Customer Way is designed to help professionals and teams rethink how they approach their work, by shifting from a product-led perspective to customer-centric approach.
The Customer Way is a set of eight principles that drive the adoption of a customer-centric mindset. By following these principles, you and your team can become better in working together and organising work around your customers to drive better outcomes.
These principles are designed to:
1. … Make you think.
2. … Question your daily output.
3. … Re-approach your way of working.
#1 Brand purpose drives strategy
Most of the traditional businesses we know, have entered the market because they had a great product, they were able to sell. However, many of those businesses have acquired fierce competition over recent years.
We have passed the time where launching an effective product on the market guaranteed organisational success. With the increase of product commoditisation and living in an ever-connected world, customers are looking for more than just buying a product. Customers are looking for ways to differentiate themselves from the crowd and find resemblance in their values and purpose, with the brands they buy from.
Brands need to be clear about their reason for existing and let that translate into their ways of working and communicating with their customers.
Check yourself: Do you know the true purpose of the organisation you are working for?
#2 Know your target customer
Successful brands are those that base decisions on a good understanding of their customers. It’s tempting to base decisions made solely on transactional factors like cost, simplicity or intuition, especially when this is being enforced by management.
However, intuition is usually based on past experiences, rather than data-led insights that show and predict how your customers are currently behaving and how you can serve their needs.
To successfully deliver experiences that are worthwhile for your customers, you need to understand whoyou want to target, which needs and wishes of these groups of customers you are going to fulfil and how you are going to accommodate that.
Check yourself: Do you segment your audience based on descriptions of their demographics or behaviour?
#3 Appoint a SPOC
To deliver cohesive customer experience, there needs to be someone accountable for the overall experience. This someone, also called as Single Point of Control can be an individual or department or committee or board. The key point is that there needs to be understanding of the value of having the control as well as capability of driving the customer experience strategy.
Traditional businesses generally maintain an organisation-centric view of customer experience and lack the allocation of responsibility and ownership. Without those, it is nearly impossible to set goals, KPIs or targets to effectively work on achieving your intended customer experience.
In addition, a SPOC can influence the breakdown of siloes by implementing central responsibility for end-to-end customer experience. Siloed teams, designed to serve products are not set up to deliver compelling experiences. So, investing in connected customer teams with collective customer goals and central responsibility, helps teams to do the work that delivers the most effective customer outcomes.
Check yourself: Who (a person, team, department) is responsible for the customer experience in your organisation?
#4 Focus on the end-to-end
Customer experience does not start and end at one channel, campaign or single purchase. Therefore, we encourage to think about end-to-end from three perspectives: the campaign, audience and organisation. Firstly, at campaign level you need to ensure you are considering how every step of the customer journey can be affected by a single campaign. As an organisation, you rarely run one campaign at a time, and conflicting campaigns can easily occur. To ensure you do not actively spread contradicting messaging and harm your customer experience, you need to be mindful of your customers touchpoints and have a clear overview of their interaction with your brand.
Secondly, at an audience level. Customer teams need to be aware of; how a single campaign can impact not only the customer journey of your intended target audience, but also the journey of several other audiences (or segments). Even though you might have different target audiences, it is crucial to understand that the implications of your campaign should not favour one audience over another. They need to be designed in a way that they address all audiences and positively impact their experience regardless of their unique needs.
Lastly, we have the organisational level. This specific layer of end-to-end focuses on the prevention of “lip service”. In a time where a clear brand purpose is crucial for differentiation and relevance, your business structure should reflect your purpose and aligned brand activities. Working in a siloed fashion is not only a threat that interferes with business as usual. It also has the serious potential to damage a customer experience, by pushing conflicting messages, having an incoherent supply chain or not keeping up with customer promises.
Check yourself: Can you name a customer experience issue that causes your customer a frustration or confusion?
#5 Experience is more than product
If you think about your favourite brand, which one stands out and why? In most cases, people do not solely love brands for their amazing products anymore. Commoditisation is increasing and there is an increasing need for a customer to love their brand holistically, rather than one particular product. Even though this rapid commoditisation is a daunting prospect, it offers the opportunity for brands to improve and strategically differentiate themselves from the competition.
In the connected world we live in, brands are required to remain relevant on more than just product features. Luckily, every service that you offer as a brand, either complimentary or paid, is an opportunity to stand out and explicitly show who you are as an organisation. If we look at a lot of the key players in any respective field, we can also automatically think of their competitors that offer the same or similar products. However, the experience you get with them sometimes differs greatly.
To ensure you remain attractive to your customer base, you should ensure you create an overall coherent and consistent experience. This means that your customer, needs to have an expected or an enhanced experience with your brand across all touchpoints.
Check yourself: At your organisation - what happens after the sale?
#6 Change is inevitable
It’s an easy concept to understand, but difficult to act upon. But in business, as in life, survival depends on responsiveness to change. Being adaptable requires instilling curiosity in your culture, encouraging experimentation and demanding responsiveness to changing circumstances.
Instilling curiosity means challenging the status quo with a healthy amount of scepticism and a critical view. Always examine the situation with ‘what if?’ and anticipate opportunities to do and become better.
The acts of experimentation and responsiveness is especially challenging for large businesses. They’re often set up in a manner to de-risk everything and achieve common understanding around rigid standardised processes. This makes it challenging to work in a flexible way or to embed experimentation in your daily role.
Businesses need to make a conscious effort to invest in the capability to adapt. This requires defining an approach, creating the right organisational structures, resources and capabilities, as well as introducing new metrics and incentives.
Check yourself: How quickly did your organisation changed their ways of working during the COVID-19 pandemic in comparison to your competitors?
#7 Effective CX, doesn’t need to be niceCX.
In the effort of some businesses wanting to hop on the Customer Experience hype, the immediate thing they do is design and integrate services that deliver a ‘wow’ effect. Even though this has the potential to amaze and delight customers, it will not fix the experience if the other areas are not delivering the expected experience. This is directly related to your brand promise and expectations that you set for your customer.
Not every organisation needs to have a passionate customer service like Zappos, be as aesthetically delightful as Apple or provocative as Coolblue. Yet, it really means to deliver the experience your customers expect from your brand and focus on the defining customer experience moments that will deliver the most value for both– customer and the organisation.
Check yourself: Do you know the ROI of the 'wow' moments you deliver?
#8 Measure and analyse, constantly.
Too often, organisations are led by HIPPOS (highest paid person’s opinion) and decisions are being led by influential people in the organisation. Unfortunately, certain hierarchal practices hinder the chances of challenging the status quo, because they’ve always been done a certain way or internal systems have become so rigid that it is hard to enact change.
We’re operating in a fast-paced and ever-changing environment, so the most effective decisions are made when they’re supported by real-world evidence, current data and information.
Organisations need to constantly measure and analyse to evolve their understanding of the world and their customers. This requires building the right capability and trust in it.
Check yourself: Which data insights have recently influenced your work output?
The Customer Way is designed to provide a practical way how to challenge your thinking and spark the ideas on how to make changes towards customer-centric business. Reach out if you are up for further conversation on the topic. And you have options to reach us - LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, email and a call.