- 30 years of Global Customer and Patient Experience working across silos to extend relationships with customers and create deeper loyalty.
- Client sectors include: Healthcare; Consumer, Small Business and Enterprise Software; Defense Contractor; Electric Utility; Animated Film; Computer Hardware and Non-Profit.
- Specialties: Customer Experience; Lean/TPS; Process/Organizational Excellence; Business Process Improvement.
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Driving Growth Through Customer Experience - Design Thinking, Digital Transformation
- Companies are in business to take care of customers but many people tasked with satisfying them have never met a customer.
It is very important that representatives from all of the various functions involved in delivering an offering to the market meet with customers face-to-face. This includes not only sales, customer service or marketing, but engineering, finance, manufacturing, purchasing, human resources, and other functions that tend to stay at the office or on the factory floor.
Such functions receive feedback from customers only through the filter of other functional groups. They miss the rich, multifaceted learning and feedback they receive when they face real customers. Meeting with real customers using real products is necessary if a cross-functional team is to create a product that solves the customer’s problems and truly delights them.
- Many companies invest in features that they think are important but that customers don’t really value.
- Companies tend to create their offerings on either a market-out or market-in basis. That means either they create a product first and then see if the market responds to it (market-out) or they take the time to first consult the market and then develop an offering that meets the needs of customers (market-in).
Market-out companies are engaging in a degree of guesswork as to what customers might need. They risk investing in features, or in entire offerings, that customers may not want. What the producer of the offering thinks the customer values is not necessarily what the customer really values.
- The customer experience journey requires patience while many companies are focused on the short-term win.
- Getting the customer experience right does not take any more time than the normal development cycle for a large company.
However, leaders often have a short-term focus. When it looks as if the quarter sales figures may come in light, they turn to Marketing to generate more leads. If they spent time with customers they would have all the leads that they need.
It pays to invest in the time to understand what's working and what's not working for your customer. If you know why your customers bought your offering, or why they no longer use it, you will be able to convert those insights into changes to existing products, or into a steady stream of winning new offerings.
You can find quick wins in the customer experience journey, but it's not designed to deliver them. Customer experience work is designed for you to understand what it feels like to be a customer. It requires patience and developing that patience entails cultural change.
- Customer experience is a team sport; it requires a cross-functional organization and many companies have never worked cross-functionally.
- Despite decades of talk about cross-functional teams, many companies have never made the shift to a horizontal organization. Cross-functional teaming is not in the comfort zone of many leaders. Understanding the customer experience and transforming that knowledge into winning offerings, is a job for end-to-end thinkers.
The customer experience journey is within an ecosystem that involves employees, customers, and partners. Resistance to cross-functional teamwork inside the company can be an impediment to listening to customers and incorporating their voices into your offerings.
- Corporate culture is often a barrier to incorporating the customer experience into products and services.
- The shift from a market-out to a market-in approach involves a cultural shift for many organizations. There are cultural barriers to working cross-functionally, to listening and learning from customers and to cultivating the patience required to incorporate the voice of the customer into your offerings. Sometimes an external change agent can help to create end-to-end customer experience focus and to drive the cultural change. In other cases, a change catalyst can become just another barrier.
The customer experience journey requires determined leadership. In many cases, there needs to be an internal champion who understands the process and the benefits, and who has the persistence to keep the organization moving in the right direction. It is easy to give up on customer experience work and revert to a market-out approach. Bringing a customer experience focus to the company can be a significant change management challenge.