Why customer experience driven growth is set to take off

Alex Allwood

Alex's focus is connecting customer and culture to empower customer-centric growth. Working with B2B2C, Alex helps improve experiences that enhance customer value and distinctively differentiate. With a 20 year track record in leadership, operations and marketing, Alex’s strength is developing customer experience strategy: customer understanding and empathy, experience vision and guiding principles and the customer narrative to enable collaboration and alignment. Alex is principal of the customer experience consultancy, All Work Together; has authored the book Customer Experience is the Brand, regularly facilitates Customer Journey Mapping workshops and is a speaker on customer-centric transformation.

Our overall brand perceptions are invariably shaped by our experiences. And loyal customer relationships can be severed in moments by a negative service interaction.

With customer retention strategy now firmly on marketing’s agenda, improving customer experience is quickly becoming a priority for business growth.

Yet even in the face of global commoditisation, eroding margins, dramatic shifts in purchasing behaviour and customer amplification of complaints, many organisations continue to neglect transforming their frontline and customer service teams, rendering them unable to meet today’s changing customer expectations.

Take my own recent experience: I was at the airport and next in line to check my luggage, when the customer in front states loudly, “I’m her mother, and here’s my driver’s licence”. Heads turn and everyone in the queue is now listening.

Then come those five words meant to appease, “Let me get my supervisor”. This only served to irritate the customer further, who has to recount the problem from the beginning. The tension is palpable, and I can literally feel the customer’s frustration.

In desperation, the customer becomes the solution provider, rattling off a number of proactive solutions only to be stonewalled; the outcome looks inevitable. In a last ditch effort to get her daughter on the flight, another call goes up to the supervisor. Then comes the final customer shutdown: “I’m sorry, the company gives us zero flexibility on this policy.”

Like most organisations today, front-line staff are well trained in dealing with a company’s policy matters; with cheerful smiles and passive, assertive customer negotiation, they stay rigidly fixed on the required customer service outcome.

But this isn’t good enough. Today, losing customers is an expensive business. Dealing with disgruntled customers requires substantial human capital cost, which negatively impacts the bottom line. The cost of marketing required to find and acquire new customers is increasing, too, at 6-7 times the price of retaining existing customers.

At a time when customer relationships with brands are primarily based on service quality and price, more organisations are becoming adept at improving their experience by designing tangible touchpoints to meet customers’ expectations. However, it is increasingly service interactions that cause the most customer frustration and irritation.

If front-line staff are unable to manage customer expectations, the accounts department will need to process a refund. And depending on the seriousness of the problem, the issue could be escalated to a member of the leadership team.

Then there is the cost of negative online reviews and negative recommendation to friends and family, affecting future customer purchasing decisions.

Enter service design

Progressive customer-centric organisations are using service design to innovate their experiences and provide greater customer value.

Service design best practice solves the customer problem from the customer perspective. In this scenario, service improvement is based on satisfying the customer’s unmet needs and creating efficiencies for the business.

Designing great service experiences begins by listening to customers, observing their behaviour and taking the time to understand the problems they’re trying to solve at every step of their journey with the brand.

Companies such as Amazon are well known for customer experience excellence and boast an organisational culture that thinks, feels and lives customer. Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos’ approach is to innovate from the ‘outside-in’, by determining what the customer needs, and working backwards.

This ‘outside-in’ approach utilises the customer’s point-of-view to inform business decision making, rather than encouraging innovation efforts based on what the company believes a customer wants.

Critical to success is empowering internal stakeholders to work together for a common purpose around the customer and improving their experience. Cultural alignment around what’s best can be initiated by bringing the ‘customer to life’ across the business using customer insights.

When employees ‘buy-in’ and cross-functional work groups collaborate, everyone across the business owns service experience improvement, not just customer-facing departments. Sharing information, insights and efforts creates a positive multiplier effect on the creation of value for the customer.

Utilising co-design disciplines to innovate services also has a positive impact on organisational culture. Co-designing with stakeholders - both customers and employees - shifts the process of innovation from company-centric to customer-centric. This, in turn, generates ideas in a process of joint creation of value and delivers richer, human-centred experiences.

Today, customer experience is the brand. To grow and retain more customers, organisations need to build a customer experience growth engine that is responsive to changing expectations and provides great service experiences that keeps customers returning and talking positively about the brand to their friends and family.

Tags: brand strategy

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

State of the CMO 2019

CMO’s State of the CMO is an annual industry research initiative aimed at understanding how ...

State of the CMO 2020

CMO’s State of the CMO is an annual industry research initiative aimed at understanding how ...

More whitepapers

Latest Videos

More Videos

looking for the best quality of SMM Panel ( Social Media Marketing Panel ) is a website where People Buy Social Media Services Such as Fa...

Kavin kyzal

How to manage social media during Covid-19

Read more

Thank you for sharing your knowledge. Definitely bookmarked for future reading! Check this website https://a2designlab.com/ with lots of ...

Pierce Fabreverg

Study: Gen Z are huge opportunity for brands

Read more

Thanks for sharing. You might want to check this website https://lagimcardgame.com/. An up and coming strategic card game wherein the cha...

Pierce Fabreverg

Board games distributor partners with Deliveroo in business strategy pivot

Read more

Such an important campaign, dyslexia certainly need more awareness. Amazing to see the work Code Read is doing. On the same note we are a...

Hugo

New campaign aims to build understanding around scope and impact of dyslexia

Read more

Great Job on this article! It demonstrates how much creativity, strategy and effort actually goes to produce such unique logo and brandin...

Pierce Fabreverg

Does your brand need a personality review? - Brand vision - CMO Australia

Read more

Blog Posts

A few behavioural economics lesson to get your brand on top of the travel list

Understanding the core principles of Behavioural Economics will give players in the travel industry a major competitive advantage when restrictions lift and travellers begin to book again. And there are a few insights in here for the rest of the marketing community, too.

Dan Monheit

Co-founder, Hardhat

Predicting the Future: Marketing science or marketing myth?

Unicorns, the Sunken City of Atlantis, Zeus: They are very famous. So famous in fact, that we often think twice about whether they are real or not. Sometimes if we talk about something widely enough, and for long enough, even the strangest fiction can seem like fact. But ultimately it is still fiction - stories we make up and tell ourselves over and over until we believe.

Kathy Benson

Chief client officer, Ipsos

Winning means losing in the game of customer retention

At a time of uncertainty and economic hardship, customer retention takes on much greater importance. CX Lavender’s Linda O’Grady examines the big grey area between ‘all’ and ‘best’ customers when deciding who is worth fighting for and how.

Linda O'Grady

Data Strategy Partner & Business Partner, CX Lavender

Sign in