As it appeared in the Daily Nation on March 7th, 2017
A great customer experience does not just happen! It takes time and effort to transform customers’ experiences from mediocre to delightful or even from good to great. Many organizations have gone through such transformations and most have had great success. Recently I was having a conversation with a CEO of one of Kenya’s leading organizations. He reiterated that they were working towards a full transformation of their customer experience. Their intention was that their overall customer experience would differentiate them. Like many other global service leaders, this CEO has caught the customer experience bug. That is what I call very good news!
Christine Crandell a Forbes writer on customer experience states that customer experience is a catalyst of transformation as it directly influences culture, strategy, structure and all parts of a business. Any organization that has gone through a successful customer experience transformation can confirm this. It is never business as usual once the organizations makes major strides on the journey towards a full transformation of the overall customer experience.
At the center of successful customer experience transformations is leadership commitment and involvement. Top executives set a clear vision of what the ideal customer experience looks like and why the organization must transform. When there is clarity of the desired customer experience, cultural change starts to happen. The leadership team has a major responsibility to inspire the team to action.
Customer experience transformation is a complex endeavor. It is not enough to have in mind the desired customer experience. The overall corporate strategy must support the desired experience and required resources provided. Other key considerations that must be made include having the right people, redesigning the processes and having a supportive structure. The organization must also be intentional about making the overall experience innovative so that it is easy for the customers. Above all, there must be a system for measuring whether indeed transformation has happened. Unless customers can feel the transformation, it cannot be said to have happened. Organizations transforming their customer experience are keeping their customers engaged in the process and are consistently seeking feedback and acting on it.
Customer experience transformation cuts across organizational boundaries. As such, everyone must be involved in the transformation efforts. In particular, the roadmap that the transformation will take needs to be well articulated. Equally, the desired change needs to be communicated in a language that everyone understands. In addition, everybody’s responsibility needs to be clear and the envisioned customer experience must be supported by individual actions. Unless everyone gets involved, the transformation remains an effort in futility. A successful customer experience cultural change touches every fabric of the organization.
Organizations on the journey towards transforming their customer experience know that it is not enough to come up with a customer charter and post it on their website. A transformed customer experience is seen in the daily interactions between staff and customers. It is also seen in the policy decision that leaders make as well as in the processes that the customers have to go through. The transformation must look at every point and channel of interaction and work towards making the interaction more customer focused.
Lucy Kiruthu is a Management Consultant and Trainer connect via twitter @KiruthuLucy