How to start a Customer Experience Strategy: 2/5 Start with the company, not the customer

I was approached recently at a conference and asked, ‘if we are starting out on a customer experience strategy, what are the key pieces of advice you would give a business when embarking on a customer experience strategy? I answered:

  1. Ensure those responsible for the customer experience have the right experience too
  2. If it’s the company that wants to be more customer-centric, start with them, not the customer
  3. Understand the potential and the limits of customer experience early on
  4. Once you are in, you are all in and you are in for the long haul if you intend to profit
  5. Short cuts exist, resist. Only used by short lived programmes

2. If it’s the company that wants to be more customer-centric start with them, not the customer

When a company decides ‘customer’ should be more central in its decision making we found it has arrived at this conclusion driven by one of four motivations; cause, compliance, commercial or competitive – more detail on meaning and examples available from Lexden.

Knowing where it originated is critical because understanding which motivation drives the decision to be more customer-focused should influence the approach, framework and governance the business should adopt in structuring a customer experience strategy.

Sadly, this is a very early decision point many business’ miss. To think the starting point should be the customer and how they feel is logical. But misguided, or rather too purist for a commercial climate which is demanding of performance based progress overnight and pinpoint tangible evidence of accountability engraved in a silver bullet. Presenting the case is critical. Trying to deliver this by evidencing the state of CSAT scores or negative feedback verbatim won’t cut it with the even the most emotionally accommodating CFO’s.

The customer strategy needs to be presented on a like for like business case comparison with other decision about productivity, growth and investment.

Being passionate about putting customers first still needs a supporting business case to get buy-in

We work across several borders and in many sectors. Everywhere our findings are the same; the starting point is the same;  the commercial value of a customer strategy. To achieve this, when Lexden are engaged to bring to life or improve a client’s customer strategy, we start by diagnosing the following:

Lexden's CX Diagnostics Tool Kit

  1. BUSINESS MOTIVATION | What’s driving the decision to be more customer focused
  2. CURRENT STATE | Where the business is in terms of its journey to being customer focused (culture temperature check*, capability assessment and commitment to customer improvements)
  3. MARKET VALUE | Market expectation, appetite and opportunity for differentiation by experience
  4. FUTURE STATE | What is a realistic ambition (which business performance measure will CX drive upwards)
  5. CX STRATEGY & TOM | From which a CX Target Operating Model is formulated highlighting what needs to be done, in which order and how it should be done to realise the potential

*Additional point – if the business fails to provide a colleague experience which engages enhanced commitment to the brand and advocacy over others, how can the business expect its colleagues to think or behave in a similar way with their customers? Often this proves to be a game changer in terms of adoption of customer-centric thinking within an organisation to miss this point and not build it into the Target Operating Model will undermine the entire strategy.  

The outcome of the diagnosis phase provides a new view to the business on the current state reality, the future state potential of customer focused strategies and a proven development programme to take them there.

It’s from this sound foundation the customer experience strategy should begin if the business is to provide the best possible experience improvements to the advantage of customers, colleagues, the business and the bottom line alike.

In summary, to put customers first, first the business must get its own house in order.

Posted by Christopher Brooks

Lexden is a Customer Strategy Agency | We put customers at the start and the heart of marketing strategy

We work with brands to attract and retain happy customers | We achieve this by helping them to understand what makes their customers tick, building memorable customer experience strategies and creating engaging customer value propositions.

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