October 09, 2017

Reinventing Customer Journeys Using Digital Technologies

David Kudas

David Kudas
President/DK Consulting

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Customers accustomed to the personalization and ease of dealing with digital natives such as Google and Amazon now expect the same kind of service from established players. According to Accenture’s 2016 CEO Survey, 25 percent of customers will defect after just one bad experience.

Customer-experience leaders can become even better by digitizing the processes behind the most important customer journeys. In these quick efforts, multidisciplinary teams jointly design, test, and iterate high-impact processes and journeys in the field, continually refining and rereleasing them after input from customers. Such methods help high-performing retailers and commerce companies to release and scale major, customer-vetted process, and product improvements in less than 20 weeks.

Retailers today must think differently about the customer experience (commonly called “CX”) through a multi-dimensional, touch- point-driven experience where the customer has input and can see the results of their input. To achieve this, retail commerce companies must work to Align, Empower, Measure and Recalibrate the journey in product development, delivery, and price.

Perform: Align the organization to deliver against tangible outcomes.

As the customer experience becomes a bigger focus of corporate strategy, increasingly executives will face the decision to commit their organizations to a broad customer-experience transformation. The immediate challenge will be how to structure the organization and rollout, as well as figuring out where and how to get started. Applying sophisticated measurement to what your customers are saying, empowering frontline employees to deliver against your customer vision, and a customer-centric governance structure form the foundation. Securing early economic wins will deliver value and momentum for continuous innovation.

Use customer journeys to empower the front line.

Every leading customer-experience company has motivated employees who embody the customer and brand promise in their interactions with consumers, and are empowered to do the right thing. Executives at customer-centered companies engage these employees at every level of the organization, working directly with them in retail settings, taking calls, and getting out into the field. Some organizations create boards or panels of customers to provide formal feedback mechanisms that follow through to the customer.

Establish metrics that capture customer feedback.

The key to satisfying customers is not just to measure what happens but also to use the data to drive action throughout the organization. The ideal customer-experience measurement system puts journeys at the center and connects them to other critical elements such as business outcomes and operational improvements

Log early wins to demonstrate value creation.

Too many customer-experience transformations stall because leaders can’t show how these efforts create value. Executives, citing the benefits of improved customer relations, launch bold initiatives to delight customers that end up having clear costs and unclear near-term results. The better way is to build an explicit link to value creation by defining the outcomes that really matter, analyzing historical performance of satisfied and dissatisfied customers, and focusing on customer satisfaction issues with the highest payouts.

Delighting customers by mastering the concept and execution of an exceptionally good customer experience is a challenge. But it is an essential requirement for leading in an environment where customers wield growing power.

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