Information Technology

Customer experience must be a board level discussion

By Richard Corps, MD and co-founder of Ads Reality
Information Technology
Published: 14 February 2018

It’s no secret that providing a quality customer experience (CX) is now – and has been for several years – an important factor for modern businesses.

For example, it’s widely agreed that customer experience will overtake price and product as the key differentiator by 2020 and, according to CapGemini, 80% of consumers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience.

The significance of this shift has been recognised by businesses. With 72% of organisations citing ‘improving the customer experience’ as their top priority and the job role of ‘Chief Customer Experience Officer’ creeping into a growing number of firms, it is clear that the experience and subsequent engagement of customers is becoming more of a priority in the boardroom.

This is essential to the success of CX initiatives. When looking to transform the customer experience strategy across an organisation, it requires the involvement and buy-in of much more than simply the marketing department.

To make real change and reap the valuable rewards on offer, the board – starting with the CEO – must ensure this is a focus that runs through the ethos of the entire company. Here are three ways to make that happen.

Create the right culture
With so many options on offer today for creating a unique and engaging customer experience strategy, a good place to start is by becoming a much more customer-focussed company.

The best way to do this is to create a culture that puts the customer experience at the core of the business. Being truly customer-centric is about being able to provide a combination of great customer service and a great experience across all touchpoints throughout the entire customer lifecycle, which means the business has to live and breathe CX.

But this isn’t something that can happen overnight. Creating a culture such as this requires nurturing in order to overcome common hurdles such as resistance to change, a product-first mindset and a short-term view of the customer.

But most importantly, cultivating a CX mindset across an entire organisation has to be driven from the very top. The idea of putting customers at the centre of the business will only have the desired impact if it comes from those responsible for shaping the values of the organisation, namely the board or CEO.

Such a top-down approach will help to achieve buy-in across the whole organisation and create a company culture that puts the customer first.

Become a customer service evangelist
An extremely effective way for a company to position itself as a leader in customer service is to make its CEO a public advocate of CX. Customers rarely get to hear from the businesses they buy from, so having a CEO that is willing to champion the importance of customer experience can have a significant impact.

CEOs that actively argue for improvements to the customer experience and are seen as being evangelists will likely win the support of demanding consumers that now have more choice than ever before.

Not only that, it will inspire employees – from the C-suite all the way down to customer service agents – to adopt the same mindset.

And there are some high-profile role models that organisations today can take motivation from. For example, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos is one of the most high-profile CX advocates in the world, while Apple CEO Tim Cook has long been known to take a keen interest in the customer.

With a CEO that is willing to publicly champion the importance of the customer experience, businesses can establish the right culture and assure consumers that the issue is getting the attention it deserves.

Support your employees with technology
Along with establishing a culture of customer-centricity and making the CEO a CX evangelist, businesses should look to modern innovations to enhance the experience customers receive across their key touchpoints.

For example, immersive technologies such as Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are quickly becoming more mainstream and offering a far less intrusive way of reaching consumers, so this could be a great place to start.

Indeed, many retailers are already experimenting with AR and VR, both through mobile apps and in-store experiences that engage customers in new and exciting ways. In the fast-moving world of retail, it’s a trend that is only set to gain momentum over the coming months and years.

Again, the boardroom has a key role to play. If the board isn’t prepared to invest in technology, customers will likely turn their attentions – and their wallets – to those businesses that are primed and willing to innovate.

Those who do embrace the likes of AR or VR technology and execute them effectively will likely see the ROI almost immediately, which will be music to the ears of any boardroom!

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