There is irrefutable evidence that the best customer experience brands from every industry outperform their competitors and the stock market by a significant margin, in any economy—yet often there are regrets about the customer experience that CEOs have on their deathbed, having been caught up in the short-term artificial gains. When profits are the sole purpose, it becomes too easy for senior leaders to overlook the importance of building and delivering a compelling customer experience. The companies not investing in CX have CEOs who don’t understand the financial impact it can have. It shouldn’t be thought of as going the extra mile, but rather, as an essential part of your business model.
Company Strategy: Financial Capitalism vs. Customer Capitalism
Back in the 1960’s Milton Friedman argued that businesses’ sole purpose is to generate profit for shareholders. Unfortunately, too many business leaders have taken that philosophy to the extreme, which usually results in corporate greed, unethical behavior, and often, a bad experience for the customer. Today more and more businesses believe in customer capitalism, i.e., leaders and companies who are focused on the vital role of kindness, generosity, and love during customer interactions and with employees. This is an effective way a company can realize true growth, the growth that occurs across a wide range of customers who love doing business with you and become brand evangelists for you. Customer loyalty is great, of course, but brand evangelists don’t just come back. They don’t simply recommend you. They are your greatest cheerleaders, insisting that their friends do business with you, too.
What are the 5 Biggest Regrets of Business Leaders Not Embracing Customer Capitalism?
1. Lacking Executive sponsorship – It is a proven fact that any big initiative, project, or revolution has to have the support of the senior leadership team; otherwise, it will be considered “flavor of the month” or “management by bestseller.” Training customer service teams must be as important as finance, sales, marketing, and operations. The senior leadership team must provide the necessary resources to create long-lasting change. One question I get often is, “How can I get my boss/president/CEO to buy into this?” And I respond, “Have him or her come to my next presentation or get them my book.”
2. No one losing sleep at night over the CX – Over the last several years, one of the most often discussed topics continues to be, who oversees your brand’s customer experience? I am not talking about your call center, customer service reps, or customer support. Regardless of your company’s size, or business model, someone in your organization must oversee the customer experience and all that goes with it. That someone should not be the President, CEO, or owner, but someone who reports directly to them. We have heads of operations, marketing, accounting, sales, and human resources, but our second biggest asset (other than our employees) is our customers. How happy they are is determined by the customer experience we deliver, based upon their customer expectations. Until recently, the vast majority of companies did not have anyone in charge of the entire brand’s customer experience, often leading to customer myopia, i.e., taking an “occasional” approach to gauging their satisfaction. If you are a mid-to-large company seeking substantial improvement in customer behavior, you may want to consider creating a position, i.e., Chief Xperience Officer (CXO) or Chief Customer Officer (CCO).
3. Overlooking soft skill training – How many hours do you train new employees before they can start interacting with your customer? It may be two days, two weeks, or one month. Whatever it is, now do the math. How many of those hours are technical training: product knowledge, processing orders, scheduling appointments, etc. versus customer experience training: customer service vision, non-negotiable standards, building customer rapport, service recovery, etc.? Most businesses spend 98-100% of training on the technical part of the job and breeze over their customer service philosophy because they think it is common sense. Your customer service/hospitality training has to be intense. World-Class customer service organizations make sure their new employees are trained on the hospitality essentials listed above and, just as important, are tested and certified.
*Related – Have You Recession Proofed Your Business?
4. Failing to measure Customer Experience – Every organization needs to create a Return on eXperience (ROX) dashboard. A ROX dashboard helps you determine precisely what victory looks like over time and offers insight into customer churn rates. It should contain three to four key performance indicators (KPIs) directly tied to the level of customer experience delivered by every customer-facing employee and department. Companies need to see the impact that customer satisfaction has on their key metric drivers (i.e., customer retention, average ticket, re-sign rates, referrals, average contracts, frequency of visits). This demonstrates the ROI, as well as allows management teams to hold employees accountable for providing a great customer experience at every level of the organization. Measurement tools can be anything from customer surveys, third-party companies that measure customer satisfaction, and secret shoppers, to statistical benchmarks (such as the average ticket or the number of referrals). These provide a benchmark to measure the impact of the new systems and to determine whether they are being consistently executed.
5. Overlooking the purpose motive – Too many companies underestimate the power a purpose provides to customer-facing employees, which is critical for high morale and engaged employees in a workplace. The currency for millennials is purpose. Think about the most selfless, most sacrificing people you have ever come across. I have found it to be anyone who has anything to do with the following groups: volunteers, charities, political campaigns, and student-athletes. What do these groups and the people who make them up all have in common? They make little or no money, and in a lot of cases, it is highly unlikely they can ever make a living in any of these fields. However, they are part of a cause, part of something bigger. They are focused on their direct impact, and they have an abundance of pride and loyalty to their team. They are part of a special fraternity that they are willing to fight for. Now think of the great service businesses that have made bold moves, revolutionizing stale industries with a completely new model, energized by a workforce on a mission with a promise to provide a truly unique experience. Think of a company like Zappos. It created the same sense of purpose that volunteer groups, charities, political campaigns, and scholastic sports have. However, it does one thing better: it pays its team members. With strategic moves, it has given their customer support teams both a purpose and a paycheck.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“A brand experience is the sum of experiential interactions
your customers have that leave a lasting impression.”
CX VIDEO CLIP OF THE WEEK
What It Really Means When Customers Complain About Price
CX STAT OF THE WEEK
Fakespot estimates that 42 percent of Amazon reviews are fake!
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