Author Joe Tawfik presents an assured collection of valuable insights in Experience My Brand that are based on his 25-plus years in senior management. His expertise as CEO of business services companies in particular underlies his assertion that to differentiate itself in the age of digital disruption, a company must make branded customer experience part of its corporate strategy. Rather than relegate customer experience management to any one department, such as marketing, it must become “embedded within a company’s DNA.”
You will learn through detailed analysis and real-world illustrations how to:
• Analyze, Design, and Measure Customer Experience
• Implement Superior Customer Experience Initiatives
• Consider how Customer Experience Will Change and Transform the Future
With its plentiful tables and figures to complement his text, Experience My Brand puts theory into practice in a way that will keep you alert and engaged. Experience My Brand’s unique message makes it a must-have guide for senior managers and their teams who seek to strengthen this critical aspect of their businesses as well as anybody wanting to learn about this increasingly important field.
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Experience My Brand
How Successful Companies Develop Loyal Customers and Increase Profits
By Joe Tawfik
River Grove BooksCopyright © 2017 Joe Tawfik
All rights reserved.
Strategic CX: Is Your Organization Ready?
Many companies may think they are providing a strategic program of uniquely branded customer experiences, when in fact they are only delivering tactical, product-centric experiences. The fact is, a strategic customer experience can increase bottom-line profitability and provide other economic benefits to an organization that a tactical experience cannot. This chapter examines the two approaches to CX and reveals why the area of interest for business leaders is in the strategic value, and not the tactical value, of customer experience management.
Assessing CX Programs: Tactical vs. Strategic
The differences between tactical and strategic customer experience programs are linked to their primary objective. A tactical program will have a very specific objective limited to a particular area in the business that has an impact on customers. The strategic approach, on the other hand, requires a whole-company perspective. As we shall see, the results of each type of program contrast as much as their objectives do.
TACTICAL CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
A tactical CX program tends to operate only within the defined problem area, without considering larger root problems. Rather than tackling underlying causes, a tactical program tends to focus on symptoms of the problem.
Take, for example, an initiative to increase customer satisfaction levels. A typical tactical customer experience program may focus on the training of contact center agents. This type of program does not consider the multitude of other factors that affect customer satisfaction in the contact center.
An organization that adopts a customer experience program for tactical purposes only will not be able to extract value in terms of the bottom line. Tactical CX management tends to end up as a feel-good exercise. Executives sponsoring a tactical CX program feel good about themselves because they are doing something that appears progressive and customer focused, and employees implementing it feel good because they are doing something positive that could help their career progression. However, the general outcome of tactical customer experience projects is short-lived and does not normally translate into an increase in overall profitability. Most tactical projects have a negative return on investment, because what is created is merely an ephemeral asset that soon dissipates, giving no sustainable or measurable value back to the organization. The return on the investment made is rarely realized.
Consider the remedial training programs that your company has delivered over the years and the long-term impact on results. Contact centers are a prime example. Results may temporarily improve, but rarely do they lead to any long-term commercial benefits for the company. Contact center agents typically leave the company after a short tenure or fall into old habits because the underlying root causes of the problem have not been fixed.
STRATEGIC CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
A strategic approach to the same issue — customer satisfaction levels in the contact center — would address the issue from a different perspective, viewing it within a much larger framework by considering components such as the brand promise, customer research, business processes, organizational culture, and technology. If we apply a strategic approach to the contact center example, we would ask a number of questions to get to the underlying causes of customer dissatisfaction. We may uncover, for instance, that the underlying problem is not training but a poorly designed business process, and that only by fixing this process can we hope to remedy the customer problem once and for all.
Unlike tactical programs, strategic ones focus on the greater significance to the organization rather than on the short-term benefits to a particular department within the organization. Action would not be taken unless it would deliver long-term, sustainable value to the company. The myopic view of tactical programs prevents the broader perspective required to achieve sustainable benefits over a much longer period. While tactical CX programs focus only on symptoms, strategic ones fix the underlying causes.
This book is interested in the strategic potential of customer experience. The empirical evidence for companies delivering sustainable, differentiated customer experience and profitability is well documented and convincing. Research of over one hundred midsize and large companies shows that the companies that are able to translate customer experience into bottom-line profitability are the ones that deliver experiences of positive emotion at moments that matter to customers. They achieve this by closely matching, on a consistent basis, the value propositions most desired by their customers. This objective cannot be achieved by allocating the responsibility to a single or a few departments within a company. Instead, the strategic CX program requires a broad and structured approach.
The strategic value of customer experience as an economic booster is closely associated to a number of other dimensions in an organization, including three primary components:
1. Company processes
a. Company strategy
b. Back-office processes
c. Front-office processes
d. Technologies enabling the processes
2. Company environment
a. Culture and people
b. Operating structure
c. Investment capability
d. Employee engagement
e. Senior executive leadership
f. Product/service differentiators
a. Customer profiles
b. Customer values
c. Customer feedback
d. Customer expectations
e. Customer engagement
All these moving parts exist in the organization and affect overall customer experience. The broad examination of all these components will help you identify the problem areas in your company and the most important values identified by your customers. The tactical approach — focusing on only a single or a couple of these components — simply will not achieve any long-term measurable benefits. It simply does not dig deep enough to spark the transformation required for a lasting, meaningful change in the customer experience. Business leaders need to be strategic in our approach, to ensure the initiatives selected are closely aligned with our brand's promise and address underlying problems preventing the company from creating a uniquely branded experience for customers.
Checklist: Evaluating Your CX Strategy
How do you know whether your company is providing not just tactical, product-centric experiences, but a leading, strategic CX program to your customers? By evaluating your organization's current processes and position on customer experience, using a brief, fourteen-question checklist. To help you determine in which direction to proceed, the checklist will identify possible challenges you may face as you prepare to initiate any new strategies.
These key questions are related to how your company is performing in the same market as your competitors relative to volume, value, and profitability of sales. Answering these questions will better prepare you to accomplish the rest of the tasks in this book.
1. ARE YOU WINNING NEW CUSTOMERS FASTER THAN YOUR COMPETITION?
Compare your figures on new customers with those of your competitors. In most industries, these numbers are relatively easy to source. If the information is not easily obtainable, however, I recommend undertaking market research to determine your competitors' activities and their success in winning new clients. The number of new customers acquired should include monthly, quarterly, and yearly figures.
2. WHAT IS THE VALUE OF YOUR NEW CUSTOMERS?
In some industries, a single sale could have a dramatic variance in value, perhaps even ranging in the millions of dollars. It's important to understand the value of the customers acquired, as this will enable you to undertake a more thorough comparison of your own company with others. The aim is to ensure you can compare your competitors' sales volume and value to your own.
3. ARE YOU WINNING AND RETAINING CUSTOMERS WITHOUT COMPROMISING YOUR MARGIN?
The gross margin achieved on the sales made will help you identify signs of market pressures driving your profitability downward. It may be difficult to obtain comparative figures on the profitability of your competitors. Publicly traded companies, however, issue financial reports (normally available in the investor relations section of the company website) that provide insights into gross margins achieved on sales.
4. HAS YOUR COMPANY FORMALLY EVALUATED ITS CUSTOMER CENTRICITY?
It's easy to claim your company is customer focused, but only by asking your team targeted questions can you determine whether team members truly know what it takes to be customer centric.
Numerous surveys can help you determine the level of customer-centric delivery within your organization and its various departments, and I recommend performing an analysis based on empirical evidence. One such study is the CCScore (customer centricity score), which measures the extent to which customer centricity could be experienced across all organizational units.
Swiss researchers released the CCScore (www.ccscore.com) in 2014 to provide organizations with greater insight on the areas they need to improve in order to become more customer centric. The researchers identified factors that form the basic building blocks for determining an organization's customer-centricity level. The factors are clustered into the categories of Leadership, Collaboration, and Implementation.
The CCScore is derived from a fifteen-question online self-assessment designed for all employees, plus additional questions that can be added to evaluate further attributes that are specific to the organization. The assessment takes less than six minutes to complete, after which you can further analyze the available data and make a benchmark comparison.
You don't have to use CCScore to achieve this step, but any organizational assessment you select must be based on scientific grounds.
5. DO SENIOR MANAGERS UNDERSTAND THE VALUE OF CUSTOMER CENTRICITY AND SEEK TO IMPROVE HOW THE COMPANY OPERATES?
Business leaders show varying levels of understanding of, and willingness to commit resources to, a customer experience initiative. Most C-level executives will acknowledge the need to be customer centric and the importance of customer experience to the organization. However, most executives lack an in-depth understanding of the real value of a properly functioning customer-centric organization. Even fewer executives truly understand what is required and how long it will take to achieve a level of customer centricity that translates into bottom-line profits.
The key to answering these two difficult questions is to determine the quality of sponsorship the C-level is willing to give, by examining four dimensions of executive involvement with a customer experience program:
d. Execution capability
There is a direct correlation between the full understanding of the value held by a truly customer-centric organization and the organization's ability to execute differentiated customer experiences. Executives normally fall into five categories based on the maturity level of their understanding and their capacity to support implementation of a strategic CX program. The key attributes defining each category are outlined in table 1.1:
If the executive team falls into any of the first three categories, then education and time are required to reach a level of understanding where customer centricity is properly accepted as a strategic differentiator. Executives displaying the characteristics of category 4 or 5, on the other hand, are the ideal ones to methodically roll out a customer-centricity program that delivers unique, differentiated experiences to customers. Yet few executives are at a category 5 maturity level, ready to make the necessary long-term commitment in resources and funding in order to achieve a sustainable return on investment and transform their organization.
Choosing a single customer experience executive as an evangelist for the virtues of taking the deep plunge into mastering CX management — however committed he or she might be to customer centricity — is insufficient. The entire executive team must be on board, although ultimately the endeavor is still predicated on the understanding, commitment, investment, and execution capabilities of the organization's CEO. Without the determined support of the CEO for the long journey ahead, any attempt to become truly customer centric and to achieve elevated customer experiences will be wasted.
6. IS THERE A CUSTOMER-CENTRIC FRAMEWORK WITH CLEARLY ALIGNED MEASUREMENTS FOR ALL STAFF?
Your organization may claim to be customer centric, and may point to existing programs in place to monitor, measure, and address customer satisfaction levels. Perhaps your customer service activities are centralized according to the traditional model, and your measurement and monitoring are largely focused on frontline staff and the quality of their interactions with customers. This type of focus is not what I would consider to be true organizational customer centricity.
To achieve the strategic customer centricity that will allow your organization to compete in the age of digital disruption and global competitive forces, there must be decentralization of control over customer issues. A framework needs to be in place that stretches over the entire organization and dictates how and why people do things. Measurement of the impact on customers should include all personnel in an organization, including back-office staff. Without a framework and clearly aligned measurements for the entire organization, customer centricity will not achieve the intended economic benefits of any customer experience program.
The right framework and measurement system (covered in later chapters) will ensure an organization is able to adapt to the changing competitive environment and to address customer expectations more rapidly and effectively than an organization that retains a tactical perspective of customer centricity and confines customer issues to one or a few departments within the organization. The framework I will outline is designed to embed customer centricity into the DNA of the organization, making it the first and final thought in all executive decision making.
A review of how your organization treats customer issues will help you determine its views on customer centricity and will provide a reference point when designing your CX program.
7. CAN YOU DEMONSTRATE TANGIBLE BENEFITS FROM CURRENT CUSTOMER PROGRAMS?
A number of organizations have embraced packaged customer-centricity measurement solutions concepts such as net promotor score (NPS) or voice of the customer (VoC) as the basis for measuring customer experience. Later in this book, I will outline how these concepts can be incorporated into a customer-centricity framework. But despite claiming to be customer centric and focused on delivering an exceptional customer experience, the organizations using NPS do not necessarily realize any commercial benefits, even if their NPS score is high. Sure, they may be measuring personnel and their contribution toward customer satisfaction. But the focus for these organizations tends to be more on achieving a metric to earn a personal bonus than on delivering greater customer value.
The measurement of CX effectiveness should be directly linked to an organization's core customer objectives. For example, a start-up organization may be seeking to grow market share, whereas a mature company is more interested in retaining customers and increasing profitability from customer experience differentiation. If neither of these outcomes is achieved by existing CX programs, then there is room for improvement.
A review of your financial performance over twelve to twenty-four months should reveal whether your customer programs are achieving any commercial benefits. If profitability or market share has remained the same or declined, then you need to address the elephant in the room: Why continue investing in a program that is not yielding any commercial benefits?
8. HAVE YOU MAPPED CUSTOMER TOUCH POINTS AND IDENTIFIED THE IMPACT ON CUSTOMERS' EXPERIENCES?
The customer journey normally begins outside the organization and then extends into the organization and beyond. Each touch point reveals an interaction with, and the subsequent impact on, the company's customers. Creating a map of how your customer experiences your products and services will enable you to tackle the issues that matter most to your customers. Identifying hot spots of heightened emotional pain and pleasure gives the organization the necessary insights to determine which areas are most appreciated by a particular customer segment and which could be revised or remedied.
Customer journey maps are essential to ensuring an organization has its finger on the pulse of its customers. Successful maps are dynamic, linked to analytics, and available in real time. Unfortunately, most organizations today conduct customer journey mapping that is created on applications not fit for the purpose, and is detached from customer analytics. This has rendered customer journey mapping a secondary tool that adds only a static view of the customer experience.
Excerpted from Experience My Brand by Joe Tawfik. Copyright © 2017 Joe Tawfik. Excerpted by permission of River Grove Books.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
ContentsINTRODUCTION: The Quest for Unique Customer Experience (CX),
PART ONE: Mastering CX Analysis, Measurement, and Design,
1 Strategic CX: Is Your Organization Ready?,
2 The Financials of CX,
3 Measuring Organizational Customer Centricity,
4 Designing the Customer-Centric Organization,
5 Mapping the Customer Journey,
6 Aligning Initiatives to Achieve CX Objectives,
7 Review: Ten Rules for CX Excellence,
PART TWO: Mastering Implementation of CX Initiatives,
8 CX Implementation Planning,
9 Leadership for CX Excellence,
10 Employee Engagement during CX Implementation,
11 Scaling and Maintaining CX Excellence,
12 Building the Right Organizational Structure and Governance Model,
13 How to Innovate in Customer Experience,
14 CX for the On-Demand Generation,
15 Redefining CX for the Digital Age,
16 Outsourcing and Other Implementation Options,
17 Effective Governance of Outsourcing Relationships,
18 Managing Outsourcing Relationships,
PART 3: The Future of Customer Experience Management (CEM),
19 How Data Will Define the Future of CEM,
20 How Technology Will Define the Future of CEM,
21 The Impact of the Digital Workforce on CEM,
22 Final Thoughts on Strategic CEM,
CONSULTING AND RESOURCES,