August 4, 2016
To share a personal story, this past weekend I had a disappointing customer experience while dealing with two major cable/satellite companies for both myself and my mother-in-law. Not only were we subjected to unacceptably long wait times, both of these companies managed to repeatedly miss their arrival time commitments. I read almost daily about how more businesses are focusing on the customer experience, and according to Gartner, 89% of the companies they survey are already investing in resources that will help them improve in this area in 2016. So, given my recent poor customer experience, I have to wonder, why it is so difficult for many organizations to meet even the basic expectations of their customers? These same companies clearly talk a good game, but when it comes to delivery, they end up falling short.
To take away from this experience, as executives, I want to believe that we are able to recognize what is truly of value to our business, our customers, and our processes. However, if this is truly the case, why then do we fail? While I like to think that we are always working to transform our culture, starting by making sure our employees embrace the mindset of being a customer-driven organization, I think we tend to move on too quickly to the next "hurrah" before the current change is properly in place. This is like framing a house before the foundation is set, and doesn't benefit us or our customers.
Often, this is one of the most challenging aspects of leadership, because we have so many items on the list that we want to accomplish that we're too eager to cross each one off. If we take the time to properly develop and nurture a customer-driven culture, there's no doubt that it will help deliver value to our customers and reward our companies with continued growth and profitability. So, think about slowing it down and making sure that new processes and technology have really had a chance to settle in before moving on.
I have a few steps that will help you create a “take charge and get it done” environment within your company that will help you improve your customer experience, but it doesn't come without some hard work. It's important to remember that once you have it, you'll need to maintain it, as momentum can easily be lost. Based on how I have managed and how we do things at DG Associates, here are my step-by-step recommendations for creating a better customer-centric culture within your own organization, which will then pave the way to a better customer experience:
These five steps are what have worked for building a “customer first” culture within my own organization and in the past, and you can use them as a guideline for improving your own, and even as a jumping off point for adding more complete steps that apply better to your specific needs. Only you know for sure what improvement will look like for your company, and this will allow you to better define your customer experience in a more complete manner, leading to better customer success in the future.
Organizational capabilities that technology services businesses must master
Dennis Gershowitz is the founder and president of DG Associates, a consulting firm that specializes in driving service revenues and profits through the development and implementation of customer experience management (CEM) strategy and service operations improvements. DG Associates is a TSIA Consulting Alliance Partner.
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