I have a question for you. Do you think you would be more likely to support a strategy that you had some input into or one that was entirely someone else’s creation that required your support to be successful?
Silly question, I know. There is plenty of evidence to show that we are far more likely to support an initiative where we have had input.
The problem is that if the answer is so obvious why is business not involving their people in the development and implementation of their customer service experience strategy?
The answer to this question is not clear; however, what is clear is that very few businesses have a customer service experience strategy. The reason is very few organisations’ have the knowledge and expertise to develop such a strategy.
The result of this lack of understanding is producing inconsistent customer experiences that frustrate and annoy, driving high employee disengagement resulting in low productivity, declining customer loyalty and a reluctance to recommend a business to others and that’s just the tip.
We are trying to do businesses in a “world of sameness’” where there is little difference between businesses both in the products and services they offer and the experience they deliver. All this is driving an increasing focus on price as the only competitive advantage a business can come up with and we know the impact this is having on margins, driving businesses to cut even more costs including their commitment to the development of service.
Research confirms that companies that provide exceptional service have a strong competitive advantage. Customers are prepared to pay higher prices, make additional purchases, are more loyal and recommend the business to others. All of this can be worth millions of dollars to the local economy.
Exceptional service is harder to attain than ever before. Surveys show that customers expect better service from the companies they deal with yet overwhelmingly believe they are getting service that is no better, or even worse.
Of course, organisations that understand this see a huge opportunity and are taking advantage of it by developing a quality customer experience that stands them out from competitors and gives them a sustainable competitive advantage.
One of the key reasons these customer experiences are so successful is they include all their people in the development process because they understand that all their people have a role in that experience and without their support and commitment the experience would be nowhere near as successful.
A 2011 Bloomberg Businessweek survey revealed that “delivering a great customer experience” has become the new imperative: 80% of the companies polled rated customer experience as a top strategic objective.
The key message for those businesses that would like to adopt a greater focus on their customer experience as a way of differentiating themselves from competitors and growing profitability in 2012 is that they involve everyone within the organisation and seek advice on how to develop the key sequential development steps.
Chris Bell is the Managing Director of Customer Experiences, a company committed to building successful businesses through the development of high quality customer experiences and co-founder of cemNZ www.customerexperience.co.nz firstname.lastname@example.org www.customerexperiences.co.nz 027 2792360