Across the globe, leadership teams at many companies are talking about improving the customer experience being their primary enterprise priority.
Ultimately however, most enterprises aren’t ready to commit to following through with the ideal of delivering for the customer. It’s a hard conversation to have, and few are prepared to have it.
When we talk about delivering on the ‘customer experience’ it is often filtered through the lens of ‘what customer experience are we capable of delivering?’, instead of ‘what customer experience should we evolve to deliver?’.
This disconnect often delays the inevitable, slow and painful death of a company. What is required is a radical change of both approach and delivery with the customer’s needs at heart.
Viability is now determined by market demand. Without customer demand we have no viability, and services need to be designed to solve real customer problems with values that are appropriate to the customer need. Our customers are no longer willing to compromise, because the commodositation of services means that someone else will deliver on what we’re unable to. Commodity.
At face value customer experience is often seen as simply as optimising the digital experience, or even just digitising an otherwise physical or analog experience. In reality, digital is the amplifier of an experience, but not the experience itself.
Customer experience is more broad than that, and is about delivering on the ever changing and unrelenting needs of a customer. Delivering on customer experience requires forgetting everything you believe and ‘know’ in response to what the customer feels and thinks.
True skills of the future are based upon empathic thinking and interpretation of what someone is saying. Customer experience skills of the future are about delivering on what you feel, not just what you think.
It’s about focusing all of our efforts on delivering the same experience no matter what the customer touch point, and much more than just designing out pain points or increasing operational efficiency for those areas.
At the most basic level, a good customer experience is a given, while a great customer experience is looking for opportunity to delight a customer, and maximising that opportunity.
If we simply meet our customer’s needs, we are opening up opportunity for competition to delight our customers. It is in delight that customers truly want to be.
If we are to think about what makes a delightful customer experience, and what helps us to achieve our own business goals it is to realise that:
Customers don’t want to think. I mean that they literally don’t ever want to think, and that everything just makes sense and it’s ok if we are to make decisions for them
Which leads int, us making decisions and to do the simple things for our customers; and they’re ok with the trade-off
It’s more than UX, and far more than technology. A good customer experience transcends the berries of channel and feels consistent, while being novel
In my role at Post I am focusing on the consistency of experience over all else. Without consistency and predictability our customer has no reliability. Without reliability there is no need to use our service.
And so from a strategic approach we’re adopting some key principles to deliver on an outstanding customer experience:
- Consumers are customers (before any other group)
- Reliability over profitability
- Customer is our only measure of success
- Transparency and accuracy
- It is easy and effortless
To truly deliver on customer experience, we need to be humble and full of humility. We need to accept and learn from what our customers say and think.
It is often an uncomfortable space, but one of unlimited reward.