I was just going thro’ some reports on the Gartner CRM 2008 summit. There are some highlights which I saw was not new or earth-shattering but definitely makes a lot of sense to reinforce once more:
- Act on feedback, deploy changes and communicate actions to employees and customers – companies should view every contact with customers as an opportunity to deliver brand values and standardise on the business feedback management tool across the organisation and for all communication channels.
- Design processes from the outside in – most process redesign is done with the objective of improving operational efficiencies rather than to improve the customer experience; which requires the organisation to identify which processes matter most to customers then set about identifying what to improve: an outside-in approach.
- Act as one organisation to ensure consistency – the customer may interact with many parties as part of his or her business with a company. The challenge for the company is to ensure that information gleaned at one interaction is not forgotten in the next channel.
- Be open – organisations that want to improve the customer experience often become more open. Being more open may just mean opening up more channels or opening hours but it can mean much more. For example, some firms establish an environment where customers can support, promote, defend or refer their products and services through an online community.
- Personalise products and experiences – some personalisation options are simple, such as a website that enables customers to monogram products, while others are more complex, such as tailoring and personal pricing.
- Alter attitudes and employee behaviour – employees’ actions are often the most powerful improvements in a customer’s experience. Companies can alter employee behaviour in three primary ways: recruit the right types of employees, ensure standards such as policies, procedures and governance structures, and create training programmes and incentives that can modify employee behaviour patterns.
- Design the complete customer experience – many organisations have no plan or design for the customer experience. Companies with a focus on selling experiences focus on designing experiences. Customers of Disney, for instance, told it that difficulties in leaving the amusement parks often spoilt the experience, so the firm has worked to improve parking and traffic at its facilities.
My View: The key question really though, is how do we enable all of this in organizations – to me it is about execution-employee focus. I think there is only a small mention on how do we reward, appraise and evaluate employees who should make this happen. This is really where the pieces begin to fall. There are conflicting KRAs in different departments and hence there are no compelling reasons to deliver a consistent customer experience. To put it bluntly, "if it does not hurt, it does not matter!" This is where it needs to begin and end as the puzzles in the middle are put together!