Whether your organization is in the full swing of implementing a Customer Experience Strategy, or you are simply trying to keep your customers front and center to your business, there are a couple very specific things you can do to give your customers a seat at the table when making business decisions that might impact their experience with your brand.
STRATEGY: BRING YOUR CUSTOMERS FRONT AND CENTER
Most employees set out every day to do what’s right by the customers they touch or the experiences they impact. What’s important, though, is to keep a fresh reminder of who those customers are and how your organization fits into their world (as opposed to how they fit into yours). Here are some ways to get started:
- Map the customer journey. Map the end-to-end customer journey to help your organization better understand how a customer experiences your brand across your organization and throughout their lifecycle.
- Uncover the critical customer stories. Have front-line employees share their customer stories and post them on internal websites. You can even record video snippets and put them on office monitors.
- Visualize the customer. Have a visual representation of your customers around the office, on internal websites, and in meeting rooms where business decisions are made. This could be video.
- Identify the objective. Begin every meeting by identifying what the objective is, which type of customer will be impacted by the discussion/decisions (if applicable), and a bevy of reminders to consider the customer perspective.
- Snippets of customer anecdotes or testimonials on office monitors, posters of your customers and “verbatims”, journey maps, and even visual cues that represent your customers in a chair or seat at the conference table (not corny; it works!).
We helped one of our clients turn a conference room into a “Customer Room.” They took out the table and chairs and brought in various artifacts and materials that represented their customers. Teams from across the organization were encouraged to use this space for their team meetings, to immerse themselves into the Customer Experience and ensure customers were front-and-center in their day-to-day work and business decisions. Customer artifacts in the room included:
- A customer dashboard to share progress of customer metrics
- Photos of customers and customer verbatims (“Customer Stories”)
- Organization-wide projects that impacted the customer experience
- A large, poster-size customer journey map hung on the wall to remind employees of the end-to-end experience, with highlights of key customer pain points and actions being taken
STRATEGY: APPLY CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE PRINCIPLES
Customer experience principles are a powerful set of tools that help create a deliberate experience by providing the entire organization with a common, consistent mechanism for centering on the customer’s perspective. The benefit of working with customer experience principles is that they create a foundation of how to treat and create great experiences for the customer. It provides clarity on the key customer principles each employee should consider and bring forward in their day-to-day work. And, they provide a unified mechanism for the organization to think about the customers. When it becomes part of the culture, customers will feel the shift.
A few examples of customer experience principles include:
- Keep it simple, intuitive, and predictable
- No surprises— set expectations and next steps up front
- Make the experience intuitive for users
- Start with customers; design back
Good principles of customer experience bring forward an organization’s brand promise and what customers want and need from the brand — what is most important. More so, they are simple and easy to understand. They are principles an entire organization can get behind.
Cross-functional teams from across the organization should be a part of developing these principles. When they’re in place, it becomes everyone’s duty to socialize them throughout the business. Develop an internal communications plan that keeps the message going strong throughout the organization.
Either (or both) of these strategies gives your client a seat at the table. Choose the methods that work best for your organization – for your size, your time, and your culture. But, in any direction you choose, be unrelenting. In a marketplace driven by experience, the time to be customer focused – inside and out – is now.