As it appeared in the Daily Nation on August 7th 2018
I know a few CEOs that are the number one customer experience champions in their organizations. They know their customers’ journey and they are walking it in their shoes. They know exactly when the shoe is comfortable and when it pinches. They are leading their teams in taking action to get their customer experience better. Most such CEOs have set key performance measures linked directly to customer experience. A few other CEOs pay lip service to customer experience – they just talk about it but their actions are not in harmony with the words. Their actions speak too loudly that their words mean nothing to their team. Unfortunately, such CEOs are a commonplace. Other CEOs seem clueless about customer experience; they equate it to front office services. Why are many CEOs not taking lead in customer experience. Why are they failing to perceive the full benefits of customer experience?
Today, the market place has become overly competitive and as a result, customer experience has taken centre stage in many forward-looking organizations. It is not enough to differentiate a business through price or products as these can be easily copied. Customer experience has become a differentiator of choice. This is because there are no two businesses whose customer experiences are similar. Every business interacts with its customers differently; there is a way that every business makes its customers feel. It is therefore paramount that CEOs recognize customer experience as the only differentiator that will guarantee their long-term survival.
When CEOs take leadership of customer experience, it makes a big difference in the entire organization. Not only does it demonstrate the vital role of customers in the business it also inspires the rest of the team to take action that improves customer experience. Such CEOs are better placed to align their overall business strategy with the customer needs and with the experience. Globally, Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com is one such CEO. Amazon.com has positioned itself as a customer experience company. Its brand promise is to become “earth’s most customer-centric company”. The company has set a new bar across industries because their CEO leads the customer experience agenda. Is yours a customer experience company?
In Kenya, one of the main struggles that customer service managers often highlight is lack of buy in from CEOs. These managers have a key responsibility of demonstrating customer experience value to their CEOs but the CEOs must be open minded. The CEOs must see value from focusing on the customer. Every CEO must remember that the top line of their income statements emanates from customer spend. No businesses would exist without customers.
If you are a CEO or a business owner who has no idea what your customers are saying about your business, it is likely that you could be headed in the wrong direction. Today’s customer has a choice, they might soon be gone and it will be extremely difficult to get the back. As the CEO, take the mantle, embed customer experience into your culture and hold every member of the team to account. If you do this, every corner of the organization with breath customer experience and the results will be evident.
Lucy Kiruthu is a Management Consultant and Trainer connect via twitter @KiruthuLucy