Improve Customer Experience by Eliminating Customer-Focus Boundaries

customer experience ripple effect‘Customer-focus is important for certain job roles, but for other roles, we rely on our own wisdom.’ This is poisonous thinking when some parts of your company are excused from customer-focus.

When anyone in your organization is disconnected from customers, their decision-making may in fact interfere with your company’s customer centricity and ability to maximize value to and from customers. Certainly, customers aren’t expected to have the wisdom required to run your company — but the point is, that your wisdom in all areas should be guided by customers’ values and concerns. Like a set of dominoes, what happens in one part of the company has a ripple effect on customer-facing employees, and possibly on customers as well. Every group in your enterprise can benefit from understanding their own role in improving or hindering the customer experience.

How can every part of your organization get involved in customer experience management?

Idea #1: Relevant Customer Data Streams:
Stream relevant customer comments to each group on a regular basis — at least annually, but perhaps real-time. Based on that data stream, build a company tradition of creating group-specific customer experience improvement action plans, and monitoring action plan progress at least quarterly across the enterprise.

Idea #2: Big-Picture Connections to Customers:
Work your way backwards from customer touchpoints, to ‘peel the onion’, as the saying goes, identifying work groups that contribute one way or another to each touchpoint. Ask each group to identify what they do to help the successive layers toward the customer to be successful, from the customer’s viewpoint. Build awareness within each group of ways they strengthen or weaken the ripple effect on the customer touchpoint. And encourage ongoing creative thinking within groups to innovate policies, processes, and other aspects of their work in favor of superior customer experiences.

Your payoff will include stronger teamwork and employee morale, process synergy, improved customer centricity from the customer’s perspective, and less waste, enabling higher profitability.

Contact the author, Lynn Hunsaker, to find out how to customize these practices to your situation.

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About the Author:

Lynn Hunsaker is CEO of ClearAction, a customer experience consultancy that grows businesses by helping them become preferred — not just referred. ClearAction is architect of the CX ROI Maturity Assessment, CX ROI Building-Blocks System, and CX Enablement Playbooks for starting, expanding and energizing customer experience business results. ClearAction created the first online course covering the 6 competencies for customer experience success.

Lynn’s career in the customer experience field began in 1991 as chair of a 12-country, six-division taskforce designing customer satisfaction methodology at Sonoco Products. At Applied Materials she led company-wide customer experience transformation as Head of Corporate Quality.
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  1. Desirree 2014/05/05 at 23:32

    Getting customer data through various means (quantitative, audio, video, interviews etc) into functional groups, and efforts at cross functional mapping processes and policies work best when there’s a shared and communicated vision for what the customer experience is intended to be. With that in place, along with leadership accountability and participation, that’s when the magic really happens. Does it matter where you start or does it have to sequential?

  2. optimizecx 2014/05/06 at 14:16

    Thanks, Desirree. We agree that’s where the magic really happens. Yes, it can make a difference where you start. If your primary emphasis is on customer engagement before fixing customer pain, that can backfire. To earn trust with customers so that their engagement is passionate and enduring, we recommend companies to put basic elements (baby steps) simultaneously in place with this *sequence of flow*: CX strategy –> customer-centered culture –> customer voice –> customer intelligence –> customer lifetime value –> improvement of CX –> innovation of CX –> branding internally –> branding externally = retention/loyalty/financial results. This model is explained in our blog post, Model for Customer Experience Management Strategy:

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