With new social media networks and platforms emerging almost every day, organizations must efficiently engage customers while delivering a cohesive experience that drives customer loyalty. During the Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit earlier this month, Nestor Portillo, Director, Social Communities and Customer Experience at Microsoft, shared why customer experience is key to make the content viral and engaging.
Customers in the social media era are in control and are setting companies’ agendas. They:
Trust in advice made by online acquaintances and strangers
Read and create product reviews, product rankings and blog posts
Want to provide feedback about the product, brand and the service
Seek support to connect with like-minded peers
To move brands faster and longer in the social media era, Nestor contends that organizations must provide a consistent experience across all social media platforms. It should be successful, effortless and quick.
Most importantly, organizations must have a game plan that supports the customer journey by:
Considering the different ways people learn
Pivoting on experience and products
Delivering an emotional hook
This game plan must also include a community that:
Is healthy and is not intimidating
Provides a framework for user-generated content and word-of-mouth triggers
Adds authenticity to help establish brand trust
Following this model will lead your customers to buy more, use more, consume more and tell and share more.
“There are no traffic jams along the extra mile.” – Roger Staubach, former star NFL quarterback
Organizations that focus on improving the customer experience will strengthen their customer relationships and their overall business performance. Len Ferman knows this first-hand. Len is Managing Director of Ferman Innovation, specializing in generating and evaluating ideas to improve the customer experience.
Len is also a world juggling champion. During the Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit (TCEL) earlier this month, he reinforced the three principles of new product innovation through his unique presentation. TCEL attendees learned how to juggle scarves while learning how to solve their customer experience challenges using this proven process:
3 Steps to Innovating for the Customer Experience:
Explore: Understand the customer journey. Identify the customer pain points and challenges. Identify themes for brainstorming.
Ideate: Brainstorm with a diverse group to generate a high quantity of possible solutions. Enable all employees to contribute ideas.
Evaluate: Evaluate, cultivate and prioritize the top ideas for implementation
Learning to juggle not only helped TCEL attendees improve their ability to multi-task, increase eye-hand coordination, sharpen their brains and impress their friends, but also provided these valuable insights related to the 3 Steps:
Break down complex processes into elementary steps
Learn how to use the tools that are at your disposal
Recognize the patterns and categories in your data
Identify your customers’ key problems
Strive for accuracy in basic tasks
Create intentional “wow” experiences
Defer judgment – no idea is a bad idea
Include all parts of your organization in idea generation
Stray out of your comfort zone to generate ideas
Balance different methods of brainstorming
Go for quantity when generating ideas
Great ideas are the result of collaboration and building on others’ ideas
Filter out extraneous information and out of scope ideas
Evaluate each idea using carefully designed criteria
Include subject matter experts and customers in the evaluation
Cultivate ideas until they resonate with customers
Prioritize your actions to ensure you reach the goal
Optimal solutions are the ones that match your core competencies
“People will forget what you said. They will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou, American author and poet
Are you building a true experience management core competency within your organization? According to Lou Carbone, Founder & Chief Experience Officer, Experience Engineering Inc., and author of Clued In: How to Keep Customers Coming Back Again and Again, there is “a whole lot of discussion . . . without a lot of deep understanding.”
Embracing experience management is a cultural adoption – it’s not about improving legacy business frameworks, tools or models. Many organizations focus on process improvement instead of on creating true experience management systems or fully leveraging the opportunity to transform the value they create for customers, employees and other stakeholders.
According to Lou, to create a true experience management core competency within your organization, you must focus on these five absolutes of experience management:
Move from “make and sell” to “sense and respond:” Change your organization-driven perspective to an experience-driven perspective (customer-oriented). Sense what customers don’t even know and build on those responses.
Think customer back (emotional/rational bond): Focus on the customer perspective first. Be a “firm of endearment,” a company that if it went away tomorrow, customers would mourn the loss. Examples include Apple, Starbucks, Amazon, Costco, and Google.
Understand and leverage role of the unconscious mind: Focus on “how” customers think instead of on “what” customers think. Understand and act upon the premise that “the tangible attributes of a product or service have far less influence on consumer preference than the sub-conscious sensory and emotional elements derived from the total experience.” – Dr. Gerald Zaltman, Professor Emeritus, Harvard Business School, Laboratory of the Consumer Mind
Become clue conscious: Clue in to how people feel and think as they have the experience, which also includes what they see, hear, smell and taste.
Develop rigorous systems to develop and manage clues: Design your systems around how functional (functionality of good or service), mechanic (sights, smells, textures, sounds) and humanic (choice of words, tone of voice, body language) clues are coming together to create the desired effect. Focus on the moments that matter within customers’ perception, interaction and recollection of experiences.
Managing your customers’ experiences and emotions is what helps you create the emotional connection you need to keep customers coming back again and again.
How do you create an emotional connection with your customers?
“A great customer experience can only be delivered by someone who wants to give it.”– Ian Luxford, Learning Services Director, Grass Roots
During last week’s Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit, Bill Barnes, Senior Vice President, Client Services and Jaci Jarrett Masztal, Ph.D, Vice President, Practice Leader from Burke Inc., presented “Customer-Centric Culture: Why it Matters and How to Measure it.” Bill and Jaci contend that the employee engagement process and the customer experience process, which are usually separate management processes in many organizations, be brought together to improve organizational performance.
The premise of this approach is that a high level of employee engagement is critical to creating and enhancing positive customer experiences leading to customer engagement. To improve employee engagement, organizations should focus on ways to:
Improve job performance
Provide more job growth opportunities
Enhance Talent Management
Better serve various internal stakeholder needs
Improve commitment and retention
Enhance customer service
A customer-centric culture that actively focuses on what is best for the customer is a critical factor in improving organizational performance. Customer centricity is a part of all organizational aspects including leadership, strategy, decision-making, operations and in ongoing job functions. It’s also important to remember that culture is:
Broader – it’s more than an initiative
Motivation, focus, behavior
A challenge for most organizations is determining how measure a customer-centric culture. Measurement allows a true gap analysis and a baseline to track change and assess impact. At Burke, Bill and Jaci help their clients to measure their culture with The Customer Centricity Index, which measures across these six important dimensions:
Leadership & Strategy
Messaging & Modeling
Employee Understanding & Commitment
Product & Service
Excellence Support & Tools
Recognition & Appreciation
Leadership drives the strategy and culture which sets the foundation for Who, What, and How, all of which drive and support customer engagement and business success. Employees believe the products and services are worthy and are equipped to deliver. Employees are recognized and rewarded for the customer-centric behaviors reinforced and repeated. Full customer centricity is achieved when the organization has a collective mindset of doing what needs to be done to the benefit of the customer.
Does your organization have a customer-centric culture? How do you measure it?
I thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit (TCEL) last week! I met some great people and learned more about creating an effective customer story.
Here are some key nuggets of information to help your organization transform the value they create for customers, employees and other key stakeholders by understanding your audiences’ key emotional drivers:
If creating authentic brand identities through storytelling sounds intriguing to you, be sure to join Daryl Travis, CEO for Brandtrust, at the Total Customer Experience Leaders Summitthis week in Miami, Florida as he presents “Using Emotional Energy to Make Your Customer Experience Programs Easier, Faster and Smarter.”
“It’s hard to give truly superior service if you don’t know who you’re talking to and what really matters to them.” – Kelly Mooney, author of The Ten Demandments
Who are your customers? What do they like? What don’t they like? If you don’t know the answers to these important questions, then you don’t know your customers. To know them is to engage them, and to engage them is having customers for life.
Knowing your audience is especially important when trying to target content to various generations in the marketplace and in the workplace. During next week’s Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit, Kassandra Barnes, Research & Content Manager, CareerBuilder.com, presents “Mastering the Mindset of the Millennial Candidate.” You’ll learn how to harness the knowledge and skill set of Millennials, the first generation to grow up digital.
In the meantime, check out these helpful articles on how to effectively market to the millennial generation to build meaningful and long-lasting customer relationships:
“People may take a job for more money, but they often leave it for more recognition.” – Dr. Bob Nelson, best-selling author and motivational speaker
According to Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit (TCEL) session speaker Janet LeBlanc, “Customer-centric companies know how important it is to reward and recognize their employees.” Creating a relevant story with the employee at the center of the recognition goes a long way to unlock higher performance and engagement.
Join me in Miami next week (April 9-11) for TCEL and hear more about employee recognition from Janet LeBlanc during her session, “Employee Recognition Programs Energize and Strengthen Customer-Centric Organizations.”