In his most recent blog, Teleperformance UK & RSA CEO Matt Sims wrote about the changing customer journey and how there has been a dramatic change in the way that customers and companies engage in the past decade. Even in the past 18 months there has been an acceleration in mobile and smart device use such as ‘in-app’ customer service like WeChat that far exceeds the expectations of the 2014 consumer. Thinking about the changes Matt mentioned, I saw a recent Forbes article exploring how brands can use the customer experience to create more attached and loyal customers.
The three key areas the Forbes article mentioned were:
- Embrace uniqueness; the more that your brand manages to be unique and to stand out, the more that your customers will remember you.
- Stay current; know what influences your customers and stay focused on these areas and be ready to change and adapt as areas of influence change.
- Show customers they are valued; modern customers expect much more personalisation that ever before – show them you care.
I would go further and argue that your entire strategy around creating customer loyalty needs to be revised so your company truly creates a culture of customer centricity. At the Verdict Retail Future Strategies conference in London recently, the representative from AO.com got up and told the delegates “I can tell you right now, you don’t know your customers”! And he was right – unless there is a formed and executed strategy in place that is measured (and therefore managed) – it simply won’t take place. For AO.com this includes each member of the senior management team spending two days in the year out with the delivery vans – “up at 4am back by 9am” but “invaluable” in helping the company understand the real customer.
McKinsey recently published some interesting new research titled “The CEO Guide to Customer Experience”. The headline result from the research is that leaders who focus on designing their company to focus on the needs of the customer can reduce costs by 15-25% and see revenue gains of 10% all within 2 to 3 years.
This is exciting in itself, but they also argue that you cannot achieve this without a fundamental change in corporate culture – as AO.com has done. You cannot just say that you are customer centric, you need to behave as if the customer is really the most important thing. Again, the white goods disruptor invites customers into their office and interviews them, what comes out is pure gold and helps them understand in a direct way how the company is perceived. They also spend time in the contact centre – saving £76K this year on the tiniest of amends to their website that reduced unnecessary contacts.
Matt’s blog on the changing customer journey emphasises this. The way that customers engage with companies has dramatically changed and I believe that most organisations must instigate a regular review that explores how central the customer is to their strategy. This would then feed into the loyalty strategy and create an environment where the employees feel more animated about interacting with customers because that relationship is treated so seriously and is valued so highly.
Please leave a comment if you have any thoughts on the changing customer journey and you can get in touch directly via my LinkedIn here.
Photo by IBM licensed under Creative Commons