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Guest Post: Planning for a Successful Customer Experience Journey

Heart of the Customer Guest Heart of the Customer Guest 05/14/2012

Today is a special treat – a guest post from Annette of CX Journey.  You should definitely subscribe to her blog – a great read!

Planning for a Successful Customer Experience Journey

By Annette Franz Gleneicki

A customer experience strategy is just a strategy, a roadmap that outlines your approach to creating a customer-centric culture. Customer centricity is a way of life, a way of doing business, a journey. It’s not just a project or something to check off your “To Do” list for this week. It’s woven into the fabric of everything you do as an organization.

It takes the entire organization to successfully execute a customer experience strategy, not just the executive team, not just the frontline, and not just the CCO and her team overseeing the strategy.

What else should you consider as you make this journey? Well, glad you asked. Buckle up and join me for the ride.

Plan Your Journey

Without a doubt, you’ll want to begin with a plan. Fail to plan, plan to fail. You need to spell out clearly-defined objectives that need to revolve not only around the success of the business but around the customer – and how the two relate.

Start with your brand promise and your purpose. How will you socialize that with your employees so that they live by – and deliver to – it? What’s your purpose? Why are you in business? What’s your story?

Hire a Driver

Executive buy-in, commitment, and oversight are imperative. Leadership is about setting examples and expectations, communicating the vision, steering the ship, providing direction, and setting the tone for the customer-centric culture. Provide the tools and the guidance for what is expected, and let your people work together to create and deliver those memorable customer experiences. Here’s a novel idea: hire a Chief Customer Officer and really put your money where your mouth is! Demonstrate to the organization and to your customers that the customer experience is a priority.

The executives should be as concerned about the employee experience as they are about the customer experience. Start with hiring the right people.

Draw Your Map

You can’t get where you’re going without a map, and you can’t ensure consistent, positive experiences across the organization without understanding the customer experience lifecyle – and all of the touchpoints along the way. In order to do so, create a customer journey map that looks at each touchpoint, each interaction, each role/person, each process, each data input, each system… you get it… everything that goes into that customer touch. You’ll want to consider your competitive position and understand your competitors’ value propositions, as well.

Design and outline the experience you want to deliver to customers. Orchestrate the experience so that employees know what they are expected to do.

Invite Friends

Just as important as leadership buy-in is employee buy-in. It’s important that employees understand their role in driving the customer experience (seems like a no-brainer, no?) and how that links to the bottom line. Employees should understand the brand promise and what is expected of them in order to deliver on that. Don’t skimp on employee training and regular communication with your employees.

At the same time, the employee experience is mission critical.  As I’ve written about in the past, it’s time to focus on their experience. It’s important to create a culture or environment that facilitates employee engagement. If employees are not emotionally connected with the brand (and its purpose and promise), then the customer experience will be less than stellar. An employee’s engagement drives his/her motivation and behavior, which in turn drives the customer’s satisfaction and resultant behavior.

Buy Your Gear

What kinds of tools will you need to facilitate this journey? What will you need to listen to the voice of the customer, employee, partners, the market, the business, etc.? How will you bring all your customer data together into one place? How will you analyze the data to glean insights that will drive corrective actions and continuous improvements? How will you disseminate customer data to the frontline so they can act/react properly?

Check the Car

Make sure you’ve got the right people, the right culture, the right tools, the right data. Do you have metrics in place to ensure that you are meeting your goals? Are you focused on the score and not the experience? If so, then rethink your strategy – it’s not about the score.

Pack the Car

Let’s put it all together and get ready to go.

Hit the Open Road

Once everything is in place and you’ve got a plan for how to deal with risks and issues as they arise, you’re ready to get on the road. Ensure that you are continuously collaborating, innovating, communicating, and improving. Design your products and services from the customer’s point of view.

Tells Stories/Create Memories

Execute. Delight. At every touchpoint. During every interaction. Consistently. On message. Create memorable experiences and share stories of your successes.

Have a great trip!

Annette Gleneicki has consulted with clients for the last 20+ years on their VOC and CX strategies. She is passionate about helping companies deliver exceptional employee and customer experiences that ultimately lead to business success and shareholder value. You can learn more about Annette by visiting her blog, CX Journey, or visiting her About.Me page.



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