How to create a compelling customer experience vision

Olive Huang

Olive Huang is a research director at Gartner. She is part of the CRM software research team and focuses on customer service and support, contact centres, CRM vendors and service providers, as well as CRM strategy and best practices in Asia-Pacific.

Organisations are seeking new ways to engage customers, drive new sales and increase customer satisfaction by providing engaging customer experiences. A customer experience initiative that lacks a strong, clear vision often fails to achieve its intended result.

It’s important to create a compelling customer experience vision and socialise it throughout the organisation. A clearly defined and communicated vision gives a sense of purpose for employees. They want to be part of something bigger than they are and to know: “What’s in it for me?”

Companies like The Ritz-Carlton Hotels, Zappos and Singapore Airlines are famous for their customer service and, in particular, friendly employees.

Unfortunately for many organisations, creating an effective customer experience vision is a challenge, even though it’s a fundamental step to creating a customer-centric enterprise. It’s often difficult to engage all stakeholders to work together to develop a vision and strategy because the customer lifecycle cuts through many different departments and functions. Adoption often suffers from the organisation's inability to communicate to employees the necessary changes that come with that vision.

The following attributes are the most important in crafting a compelling vision:

  • Make an emotional connection with customers and employees;
  • Provide a compelling value proposition that differentiates the company from competitors and shows it understands what customers want;
  • Be simple and intuitive – concisely states the purpose and is easy to understand;
  • Demonstrate commitment and sets customers' and employees' expectations.

Bring your vision to life

Once you have a vision, it must be understood internally to have any impact. Communication is key. Your vision becomes the employees' common purpose when they’re able to associate it with real-life examples and personal feelings. To make that happen:

  • Make it real and believable: Communicate the vision using stories and link it with the individual. People feel passionate about things that have a personal impact, and passion will drive employees to go the extra mile to exceed customer expectations.
  • Paint a picture of the journey: Tell employees and partners why they should embark on the journey and where they’re going. Make it transparent to customers.
  • Find champions to “walk the talk” and be passionate about the vision. Leaders aren’t the only ones who need to be champions, so do employees. They’re role models and strong influencers in customer service teams.
  • Communicate value, purpose and impact: Formalise a strong message and tell customers, employees and partners about the value proposition differentiating your company from competitors. Communicate (externally and internally) the implementation progress of the customer experience vision, and the impact on customers.
  • Form active communities of practice to synthesise employee insight about the customer experience and funnel it back to management. The community should have direct access to a senior leader to create the feedback loop.

Implement across multiple departments

To create great customer experiences, the organisation needs to work as one, and that means collaboration is required. The vision will help guide everyone in the same direction.

Top management is the key driver to create a customer experience vision. However, organisations must get all parts of the business involved in the process. Having only part of the group in place can skew the results toward an individual agenda instead of the overall corporate vision. Without representation from all departments, the complete customer life cycle won't be captured.

Take action

By focusing on these top attributes and best practices, it’ll be much easier to create a convincing customer experience vision and put into action. Just remember it must have an emotional connection, be simple and intuitive, and demonstrate your compelling value proposition and commitment.


- Olive will be presenting at the Gartner Business Transformation and Process Management Summit in Sydney, 21-22 June 2016.

Tags: Gartner, customer experience management, marketing strategy

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