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How about #thedress code for CX?

March 16, 2015
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It’s amazing how the color of a dress has created such spindles that weave tweets, likes, shares, Instagrams, Pinterests, videos, theories, philosophies, tech talk, scientific fizz and even psychological sessions. I know that you’re amongst those that don’t give a dime about the issue, and yet you’re here to read more on it. So here’s my take on it. But I’ll get to it in a while.

Actually, the whole episode of going gaga over the color of a dress d’ordinaire had a message hidden between the seams. It reminded me of some companies out there that could have worn the 150% – 200% ROI by simply adding a local resource to embroider the convenience for a greater number of clients, but the management decided to leave the threads bare. The instant gratification approach to business is leaving ample amount of revenue on the table. Got me thinking why not dress up CX in a way that companies will inevitably talk about it, strategize it, work up the big data, perform analytics and map out that perfect Customer Experience Journey and enjoy the ROI?

Now, about the color – well, it’s black and blue. Like the truth – which is black and white. You see, providing good Customer Experience is simple, but it’s the twists you create, daring to differentiate and the elements of surprise that give the Customer Experiences that awesome effect – a journey that is memorable at each and every touch-point – a story that customers take home and relive every time they use the product and think about the service.

Because senior leaderships are mired in their everyday status-quo, they don’t really give the new ideas a chance but they’re not to blame. The vivid colors of Customer Experience are just not clear to them. When long gone are the days of questioning the business value or thinking of CX as a fad, and yet in many cases, customer experience initiatives that are approved are small and siloed. Decisions are made based on how easily, quickly, or cheaply a program can be implemented, not whether it’s the right decision for customers or the business over the long term.

But that wouldn’t be the case if companies knew exactly what combination of steps and best practices would complement their strategies and lead to a promising ROI. A good sketch would show what tailors up the perfect-fitting Customer Experience solutions.

Horizontal Stripes or Vertical?

What makes you look thin has been a good old question. For an organization though, a good mix of both kinds of integration accentuates the shape of the CX Strategy. Customers don’t experience their relationship with a company in a single silo. Yet many companies take an inside-out approach to their operations, resulting in redundant or even conflicting customer experience initiatives in different areas of the business. Companies must have complete clarity on the full customer journey by individual, not by product or division.

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Think horizontal: Have good communication and resonance within the organization.

Think vertical: Either learn from your neighboring industries gaining in on awesome customer experiences or go ahead and experiment some verticals-patchwork threading a larger design for an integrated customer experience across their journeys.

Organizations need to understand the need to document the customer’s experience across functions, as well as how to take into account the “off stage” support functions such as HR, accounting, and legal. Their expertise can be invaluable in moving quickly from siloed thinking to customer-journey thinking.

It’s the entire suit(e) that matters

You can’t be well-dressed if you put on a hat and a coat for a day. Organizations are not always clear about who owns the collective “customer experience” within an organization and can see the forest for the trees. Customer experience is not the job of the front office or of customer-facing departments. An enterprise commitment requires alignment and advocacy from the C-suite. And it’s not very common for them to see it as their job.

The entire organizations should be aligned to the commitment that a superior customer experience drives growth and profitability. This commitment from the senior management must be cascaded down through the organization. Incentives, rewards, and recognition must all influence behaviors and actions at every level. Finally, without strong strategic and informal communications delivered continuously to reinforce the commitment, it is easy for a transformation to be shelved like the “bestseller of the season” alone.

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A good customer experience needs commitment from A to Z. I’d say start by following the ABCs (Alignment, Behavior, and Communication) to get the DEFs (Differentiation, Engagement, and Flourish).

A stitch in time saves nine-hundred-and-ninety-nine

Gone are the days when the damage by ignorance used to be as little as nine stitches. Basting doesn’t cut it anymore. Organizations have felt the embarrassment of torn customer relationships on Social Media when a few buttons of angry comments go viral.

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Customer Experience needs to be taken seriously and it’s an everyday job and everyone’s responsibility. Any complaint, suggestion, feedback should be dealt with at top priority and steps should be taken to enhance the customer experience across the channels. And the channels should be consistent too. And organizations need to advance with technological advancements as well. Augmented reality, mobility, agility, accessibility – an organization should be on it and working towards betterment all the time.

The transition between the channels should be smooth and most importantly, customers should never feel a disconnect or a tear during their entire journey – from the plan-to-buy to the bring-it-home and beyond!

Simple is great. Less is more. Attitude is everything

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Often, it’s the simplest of attires that gleam with elegance. It’s good to set the vision, mission and attitude straight: try “commitment is real and success is non-negotiable”. Organizations should keep to consistency. Every day should be working towards providing a better customer experience. The products and services of the company mean nothing if the customers aren’t happy so it should be quite clear that the efforts to improve the customer journey is not different than the everyday job. It’s all connected – everything is. And everything should be – connected!

Organizations need to break from the mold, and take the customer experience projects to become showstoppers at every touch point. Many are already on the ramp, and others need to align their tools, processes and business operations to bring in the ROI. That would make the best fit – be it white and gold or whatever!

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