When customer experience gets sacrificed on the ROI altar

Unforgettable customer experience is a great goal, but its importance can disappear under the weight of budgets, Clare Sporton reveals, in four steps, how businesses can achieve both.

Claire Sporton vp cx confirmitBe a fox not a bunny. To adapt a local political catchphrase, there has never been a more exciting time to be an Australian customer experience practitioner.

While recent studies have shown that organisations in Australia have been lagging behind in the adoption of CX and Voice of the Customer solutions, this delay can be turned into an advantage if you are willing to learn from the missteps of others.

The biggest trap many have fallen into has been neglecting to engage the rest of the organisation by clearly demonstrating the important weapon CX can be in a company’s arsenal, delivering measurable increases in revenue and reductions in cost.

At face value, CX programs are often seen as a fluffy bunny. Everyone thinks it is lovely – no one is going to say the customer isn’t important – so everyone wants to pet it.

That is until the fox – our financial and operational targets – walk in the room; ‘we’re getting close to the quarter end, looks like we are not going to hit our revenue targets’, etc.

At best the fluffy bunny gets ignored, at worse, it gets eaten by the fox.

In these extraordinarily complex and difficult times, executives are looking for clearly defined, focused strategies that will deliver business results.

So rather than CX being seen as the fluffy and cute rabbit, we need to align our bunny to the focused, effective, lean and mean fox – clearly demonstrating how CX will ensure that we deliver the business results

By implementing an effective, focused program that aligns clearly with your company’s key metrics, you can be the fox, not the bunny.

The CX Network gathered in Paris recently for a jam-packed two-day conference with more than 40 speakers, including myself, sharing their journeys and challenges.

Some of the top takeaways from the event were:

Colorful application icon concept and the shopping cart

  1. Do something with the customer insights you gain from your CX program

There is no point pushing time-consuming surveys at customers if you do not heed what they say. ABN AMRO Bank boosted their customer experience by utilising their customer journey and frontline staff data sources. If your objective is to create loyal customers and increase your Net Promoter Score, you need to listen to your customers at each key step in the customer’s journey and feed back and prioritise across these interactions with your company.  The challenge is not to forget to involve the broader organisation or isolate the insights.

Indian Man Annoyed and bored at Phone on Hold again…!

  1. Harness the Heckler

Don’t get annoyed, learn from them. It’s important to identify common issues and, if you’re able to take action on negative trends, this can develop your customers’ experiences two-fold. TourRadar struggled at first but then they got creative and shared the customer knowledge with the wider organisation and customised concepts to specific brands. Within three months negative reviews helped boost their customer conversion rates by 10 times.

danske bank facade

  1. Embed Customer-Centricity into the Company Culture

Danske Bank’s employees are working together, against the silos, in order to shift from an ‘inside-out’ to ‘outside-in’ perspective, enabling the team to better meet customers’ needs. Communicate with employees and involve them in the innovation process.

accor customer first prioroties 2015

  1. Know Your Customers … as well as you know your product

By caring about their choice and desires, you’re able to deliver extra value to your customers. In 2015, personalisation and recognition became Accor’s number one focus. With all the customer knowledge you gather, you’re able to personalise each of your customers’ experiences, improve customer loyalty, up-sell and cross-sell. All contributing to the ultimate goal of seeing a Return on Investment.

CX can be an exceptionally powerful catalyst for change within an organisation.

It provides a good understanding from an organisational psychological perspective on how to drive change and engagement and bring together a team through transparency and sharing.

For those embarking on the CX adventure for the first time, the most important advice I can give you is to pause and take a deep breath first – do your homework, and ensure you set up your program right the first time. And don’t try to boil the ocean. It’s fine to start small, get those first steps right, and then move on.

Get advice from experts and other practitioners who have implemented similar solutions by joining like-minded groups like CXPA – Customer Experience Professionals Association – a worldwide, not-for-profit organisation dedicated to bringing CX professionals together to share experiences, knowledge and mistakes.

This is a perfect time for Australian companies, especially if they are in a greenfield position with CX, to learn from the mistakes of others.

Because, as Groucho Marx reportedly said: You can never live long enough to make them all yourself. 

Claire Sporton is vice president, customer experience management, at global CX solutions provider Confirmit


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