Dinesh Mishra, Leader-Customer practice at EY, while highlighting the growing realization about the importance of delivering compelling and differentiated customer experience, emphasizes on the need for an overall customer centric approach and how this can be made the core for an organization and allow technology to act as a strategic enabler.
Customer experience has caught the imagination of the CMO in recent times. A 2013 Forbes Insights and EY’s report — The Customer Experience: Priority One for CMOs — concluded that most marketing executives are prioritizing customer experience over all other agendas. In addition, 69% see customer experience as vital to drive growth and marketing strategy.
In this extended economic downturn, where every customer is being charmed with newer, higher and more evocative propositions for their hard earned rupee, price-based competition as typically seen tends to move companies down a vicious spiral. In this scenario, going the other way and giving customers more of what they want (and very importantly, minimizing what they don’t value) provides a whole new dimension to compete on.
Growth of the digital / social phenomenon does contribute significantly to this situation. A very recent study found that India is a leader in this pack with 75% of the online population also being Digital Consumers. (“How to co-pilot the multichannel journey”)
For the CMO / CXO / CCO, all of this needs to ride on a core platform of customer driven thinking. The customer, still thinks and acts from some fundamental bases – value made available for the money spent. The customer still rates her interaction with an organization based on how she is treated through the journey, as compared to other companies.
What does not change are moments of truth with the customer, and what an organization does during these moments of truth will create the key difference in the battle for that customer’s share of mind and wallet.
Based on the above, here are some insights for CMO / CXO / CCO to ponder over:
- The front-line (shows– every touch-point – human or technology) needs to be geared to deliver what the customer wants, in the manner that the customer wants and gets value in consuming the product or service. Your front line cannot display lesser common sense than your customer – companies will find it increasingly difficult to let their employees hide behind “policies” – trained usage of discretion by the front line to address customer needs with a simple, fast, effective, and non-intrusive customer problem resolution will become key.
- Only happy employees and partners can create happy customers.
- Collecting and making sense of more information about your customer behaviour – Forbes Insight – EY: “Fewer than half (46%) of respondents say that they are able to collect and analyse data from customer relationship management (CRM) systems, social networks, e-commerce sites, email systems and mobile apps”. Analytics is the other side of the journey – identification of cutting edge hypothesis using data patterns.
- Analytics will need to be supplemented with intuition. Senior management might need to get closer to customers than they have been in the past – we are already hearing positive stories of senior management starting to take contact centre calls or going along on consignment deliveries.
- It’s a myth that benefits of better customer experience cannot be measured. In fact any investment in improving customer experience should have a clear business case
Finally your service proposition may be great today, but it will never be as good as what you can make it next week – An unrelenting focus on helping customers lead their lives better within your zones of influence may become one of the key ways of staying ahead of competition.