3 Anchors Necessary to Develop Customer Experience Excellence
Most companies have strong customer experience ambitions; however, customer excellence is rare. Today’s market and customer expectations are more demanding than ever before. Customers are spoilt for choice with easy access to information. Hyper-adoption is now a documented phenomenon and is described as the rapid and simultaneous uptake of new devices and experiences. It is reported that 67% of customers say standards for perception of having received a good experience is higher than they have ever been. Technology innovation coupled with a more discerning customer, places customer experience at the heart of all growing businesses.
Any organisation with aspirations to become a leader in customer excellence, will have to undergo a customer experience transformation journey which can take an average duration of 2 – 4 years. This is a daunting task involving the entire organisation’s mind, heart, and soul. The initial vision of what customer experience excellence translates to for an organisation’s customer, may take many months of data collection, in-depth interviews, and translation into a feasible blueprint. Cascading the vision and blueprint will need to be executed into a tangible service design.
The people and the culture of the organisation will be the enablers of this service design. This element is often overlooked in the internal transformation and often initiated after months or even years of key stakeholders engaging, discussing, and reforming towards the CX vision at an executive and senior level. CX professionals and front-line people then enter the discussion at the last point, feeling left behind and often dis-empowered.
To evolve a culture and the core competencies for this leadership position requires an evolutionary approach. Change of culture and core skills requires taking everyone within the organisation on the journey. Preparing the people to elevate their performance can no longer be limited to obligatory functional and soft skills training as the last step.
At Game2Change we believe that customer experience core competencies need to be evolved from “fluff” – often perceived at superficial training to a more rigorous approach of “tough” which lays a change management foundation to then deliver effective customer experience training.
For people of the organisation to FULFIL the customer experience vision, core competencies need to be developed.
the 3 change initiatives that lay the foundations of these core COMPETENCIES are:
- The Why of initiating a Customer Experience Transformation
This stage is about creating clarity of why this initiative needs to happen and what the benefit is to all stakeholders. Organisations consist of people who invest a substantial amount of their energy and time. When they understand the contribution of the organisation to the broader society and how it seeks to serve (as executed through excellent Customer Experience) – it’s easier to create buy-in for even the most menial job to understand its value to society.
This stage is strongly driven by shifting everyone’s mental model to accommodate a shared vision of an “excellent customer experience” in the future. It is planting the seed to start conversation and dialogue changing the narrative of why Customer Experience within the organisation. Some ideas of how this can be delivered are:
- Storytelling with champions sharing the shift that needs to occur – visual techniques of animated visuals and graphic facilitation are two very effective techniques.
- Game-based learning which allows for the mechanics of a game such as progression, quizzes and inter-team collaboration creating an environment for social and collective learning. This method is a great catalyst for dialogue and discussion and re-positioning the purpose – represent the journey in game-play, with consequences of changing mindsets versus non changing.
2. Understanding who the organisation is serving – Who is our customer
The results which are generated from in-depth analysis of the customers should be shared and understood with all in the organisation. In a US CX Maturity online survey (conducted by Forresters in 2015) only 16% of CX professionals believe they have an understanding of their customers. This builds upon understanding the why; if a clear picture is created of who people are serving and what needs are being addressed – people become more receptive to changing how work is executed and the manner of engaging with customers. It also forms the basis for other customer experience behaviours of empathy and problem-solving.
Some ideas of how Understanding the Customer may be delivered in a more engaging and interactive manner:
- The ability to translate key customer insights and distill this into key personas allows for engaging content and learning to happen. Game2Change has created Customer Cluedo; a digital learning game for people to both test and learn about the organisation’s customers through relatable characters. Up to eight personas can be created with their attributes, motivations, and what needs are being served.
An Experiential intervention allows people to engage and learn about customer insights. A customer journey can be developed as simulated game-play with each touch-point represented as a step /phase linked to scenarios, role-plays, and puzzles to deliver customer insight and awareness.
3. Understanding team contribution to the bigger picture
The organisation consists of teams who either have :
- An internal focus – these are teams who deliver outputs to internal clients, which enable their external delivery to client; or teams who are part of production / behind-the-scenes service delivery. Although they are one step removed, their part is still core to the final service /product or experience delivery
- An external touch-point with the customer. Front-line teams have a direct engagement with delivering products, services or experiences.
An organisation re-positioning itself as a Customer Excellence Leader, needs to develop internal awareness and understanding of the complete customer journey map and how each team / department contributes to this. A good understanding of the big picture and all the moving parts (teams with various outputs and touch-points), will enable agility and cohesiveness to elevate customer experience. This learning also provides a context for how behavioural and technical skills will be applied.
At an operational level some of the benefits of this type of change training are:
- Improved collaboration, as there is a higher chance that the right people and teams can be included. When problems are identified the right people and teams can be included to address the issue
- Potential bottlenecks can be identified quicker and resolved.
A type of learning intervention which can be applied is :
- Cross-functional training – designing and delivering role or team-based scenarios with in-basket exercises to give everyone an awareness of what different teams contribute.
At Game2Change we strongly support the value of simulated and game-based approach in delivering an experience to shift mind-set, re-align people, and creating commitment towards a customer excellence ethos.
We have a number of facilitator tools in the form of games, simulated learning, and playful experiences which can be adapted for your requirements and needs. A great first step in applying this powerful approach is our first tier Customer Experience Game (CX Game). The CX Game has been applied over the last 2 years with over 8 leading organisations on a Customer Excellence journey.