Welcome to the second in a series of blogs from Beehive Research on the fundamentals of customer experience management. Here we discuss ‘Cx the evolution of customer facing businesses’ and how organisations can become more customer centric.
If you missed the first blog in the series you can read it here, Is the customer always right?
Before we look at the typical characteristics of the most customer centric organisations, we must understand the typical structure of large organisations.
Typical Organisation Structure
As businesses develop and grow they typically create a departmental structure with a head responsible for each section. Typically these ‘Heads’ have specific responsibilities for which they are accountable to the board.
Some departments will be external facing with direct customer interaction, others more internally focused with limited, or no, customer interaction.
External facing departments generally have a fairly good customer understanding (though that isn’t a given).External facing departments often include:
- Contact centres
- Account teams
- Sales & marketing departments
Internal departments are often aware of customers but typically, having little interaction, don’t always have the full picture. This usually includes:
Each department typically has targets or objectives to meet, often tied to an individual’s, or team’s, performance bonus. However, although departmental interaction will occur, it is not a given there is collective sharing or understanding of each other’s objectives.
Depending upon the culture and leadership provided by the board, two similar companies can function incredibly differently.
Typical Characteristics of Customer Centric Organisations
The idyllic customer centric organisation is very difficult to achieve, but the principle is everyone driving towards the same shared goal: making the customer experience exemplary.
In customer centric organisations, you’ll often see:
- Leadership: Messages from the top that good customer experience is essential
- Responsibility: Whether an internal or external facing department, solving a customer’s issue, taking responsibility
- Co-operation: and inter-departmental understanding and co-operation become part of the culture.
A customer centric organisation puts the customer at the centre of its culture and does everything to simplify processes, empower employees, and deliver on its promises.
What does a customer centric organisation look like internally?
- Customer experience is embedded in the organisation culture
- Everyone knows their role in delivering an exemplary customer experience
- Effective communication of customer experience measures and achievements throughout the organisation
- All functions exist to improve customer experience
What does a customer centric organisation look like from an external perspective?
- Seamless experience across all customer service teams
- Promises are clear and commitments are met
- They feel valued
- Contact is fast, efficient and personal
- You are easy to do business with
Improve your organisation with our guide to The Fundamentals of Customer Experience Management – a guide to developing an effective customer experience programme.
Typical Characteristics you Won’t Find in a Customer Centric Organisations
In some businesses the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing. This can simply due to a range of issues from a the simple to the more complex, such as:
- Lack of interaction or understanding of the other’s objectives
- Interdepartmental competition
- Political posturing
- Lack of interdepartmental co-operation
Whatever the cause of such situations, the effect can be the creation ‘silos’ or a ‘silo mentality’. From a customer experience perspective, and in extreme cases, this can create a number of issues:
- Customer issues are passed ‘around the houses’ with no department making it their responsibility
- Promises aren’t delivered in accordance to promotions or advertising from other departments
- Blame culture where departments pass the buck elsewhere
- Complex experiences due to the inability to solve a customer’s problem first time around
- Inconsistent customer touch-points and mixed messaging
- Poor customer retention and loyalty
How to Become More Customer Centric
The journey to become a customer centric organisation is not a quick or easy one. In order to improve customer experience an organisation first needs to evaluate honestly where it is on the customer centric scale.
This includes 4 key stages:
- Silos: Where customer experience isn’t integrated into your organisation culture
- Learning: Where there are some good experiences but they are inconsistent and unreliable
- Enlightened: Where promises are usually met and while the experience is good overall, customers are occasionally let down
- Centric: Where your customers have a seamless and easy experience across all touchpoints and truly feels valued.
It may not be possible to reach the utopia of the ideal customer centric business, however any action that leads to a more centric approach can have profound effect on customers. By understanding ‘Cx the evolution of customer facing businesses’, the organisation can differentiate itself from the competition and deliver a more centric customer experience.
Our bespoke Customer Experience programmes give insight and clear prioritization of key areas to make your organisation more customer centric – and how to measure ad monitor sentiment towards your brand. For advice or to discuss your organisation’s priorities, please get in touch today to speak to one of our team.
In our next blog we explore “What metrics to use in Customer Experience Research“.