We believe that when you treat customer experience as a business discipline it leads to profits. It is probably the greatest untapped source of decreased costs and increased revenues if you take the time to understand what underlies it, and how you can benefit financially from improving it.
To embed customer experience as a business strategy it can be helpful to think of the different disciplines that will need to be focussed on. These include a customer experience vision, user centred design, measurement, governance and operating model and culture.
We recently helped a client who was grappling with how to establish a cross functional customer experience program. They acknowledged that their current customer experience, operating model and technology stack was sub optimal, and that they needed to design for the new. Across the organisation they needed to work out how to organise themselves and how to get themselves going.
In your organisation, different teams and individuals will deliver your customer experience. User experience designers will design product experiences, sales and support agents will engage with clients and prospects, finance teams will send invoices and handle queries.
Delivering a consistent customer experience across different teams requires clarity on some basic foundations, including what you mean by customer experience and your vision for the customer experience you wish to deliver.
Aligning on what customer experience is
Here’s a simple definition you can use to ensure that stakeholders understand what you mean by customer experience.
Customer experience is how your customers perceive their interactions with your company.
In other words it is what your customers think happened when they tried to find, learn about, evaluate, purchase and use your company’s products or services, or got help with a problem. And it is also about how they felt about those interactions: excited, happy, reassured, nervous, frustrated, disappointed.
Defining your customer experience vision
Your vision statement describes the future state customer experience you wish to deliver. It will be informed by your purpose & mission, business strategy, brand attributes and customer insights. And it will be a critical enabler that informs user centred design and consistency across different teams and individuals. Without a clear, documented vision inconsistency will reign.
We helped a client to create their vision statement by bringing together a cross functional team. During the workshop we grounded the team in the definitions and key insights and then looked at some examples of customer experience visions statements from inside and outside of their industry sector.
Walt Disney’s vision statement stood out as one that they particularly liked: Use each interaction to create magical moments and give people memories they will happily remember. It resonated as it was simple and clear, grounded in customer insights, aligned to company purpose, mission, brand and strategy and ambitious and emotive. You can read more about it in this interesting article on Forbes. Other companies we looked at included Deliveroo, Starling Bank and Adobe.
Using the various inputs mentioned above, we split up into smaller groups to brainstorm ideas for a vision statement and set of principles. That work was refined outside of the workshop until we had a version that was ready to share with the wider organisation and use as an input into subsequent phases including design and measurement..
Of course, defining your customer experience vision is just the starting point. You then need to embed other disciplines within your organisation including user centred design, measurement frameworks, governance, operating models and culture.