Thanks to Bloomberg Businessweek Research Services and SAP for its study of customer experience (http://bit.ly/orgsD0).
Here are their key insights:
- Among survey respondents, 80 percent claim that customer experience (CE) is a top priority. At the same time, most acknowledge their existing CE is somewhat mediocre. As such, you must be willing to create a superior CE.
- Profitable CE strategies are holistic, sustainable and focused on creating competitive differentiation while providing a consistently excellent experience.
- CE is not a single function but a practical and emotional manifestation of how a company delivers on the promise it makes to its customers, through all encounters, on all channels. Delivering an outstanding CE needs to be a core value that is reinforced on a daily basis throughout the organization.
- A strong customer experience is just as important for B2B companies as B2C. Employees expect the same level of CE from business partners that they expect as customers in their private lives.
- The reward for successful CE is the development of loyal lifetime advocates for your brand, which will lead to increased revenues, reduced costs, co-development and growth in new markets.
- CE initiatives pose many challenges because they are transformative undertakings that often require restructuring the organization, business processes and policies, and underlying systems.
- Passionate leadership is a must for CE, but it needs to be combined with specific financial goals and a business case. Like everything else, commitment to CE starts at the top of the organization.
- Two best practices for profitable CE are customer segmentation and focusing on areas to provide relevant, recognizable added value to targeted customer groups.
- CE should be pegged to business strategy and market position.
- Great CE is not necessarily expensive CE. Often, getting the customer experience right the first time (via fully functional processes) avoids costly customer service interactions down the road.
- To be cost-effective and sustainable, CE needs to be built on a sound IT infrastructure that affords everyone a 360-degree view of the customer.
At my employer we’ve invested in a CRM that will give us a 360-degree view of the customer. However, we are learning that the dearth of information we had from 42 disparate customer and prospect databases make segmentation difficult.
Nonetheless, we are committed to pursuing initiatives that will enable us to provide information of value to the most appropriate segments since lack of relevance will result in a negative customer or prospect experience and prevent us from getting back into the customer’s “considered set.”
What initiatives have you undertaken to improve customer experience?