Ever feel like brands give you the bait and switch? You engage with a brand, visit their website, consume their content, and with each interaction your affinity for the brand grows. Then comes the moment of truth . . . you buy their product or service and the experience does not live up to the expectation.
I was speaking with a colleague a few weeks ago about delivering customer experience. During the discussion I mentioned the foundational element of the brand promise being part of the DNA of an organization. I explained that if the employees do not understand the brand promise and mission, how could they possibly deliver that experience to the customer? She agreed and then added, “you could get our executives in a room and I am not sure they would all agree on the promise or mission of our brand. How then would the rest of the employees know?”
While this one conversation may not be indicative of every company, it does underscore the importance and need for employees to know what their company stands for so they can deliver it.
There are many brands that can be named when it comes to a positive customer experience (there are just as many that can be named for negative customer experience). One brand that comes to mind that truly delivers on customer experience is Apple. Their current mission statement as delivered by CEO Tim Cook is as follows:
“We believe that we are on the face of the earth to make great products and that’s not changing. We are constantly focusing on innovating. We believe in the simple not the complex. We believe that we need to own and control the primary technologies behind the products that we make, and participate only in markets where we can make a significant contribution. We believe in saying no to thousands of projects, so that we can really focus on the few that are truly important and meaningful to us. We believe in deep collaboration and cross-pollination of our groups, which allow us to innovate in a way that others cannot. And frankly, we don’t settle for anything less than excellence in every group in the company, and we have the self- honesty to admit when we’re wrong and the courage to change. And I think regardless of who is in what job those values are so embedded in this company that Apple will do extremely well.”
There are themes that stand out when reading this mission statement:
Willingness to change
These themes and this mission statement are experienced at every customer touch point. Whether you are on the Apple website, use their products, engage in their advertising, walk into one of their stores, etc. The focus of their mission is felt and delivered at every customer touch point. How did this happen? I believe that answer is found in the last sentence of the mission statement, “those values are so embedded in this company.” At every level, within every job role, within every function of the organization, Apple ensures that innovation, focus, excellence, honesty and willingness to change are part of the DNA of their employees. It is this hyper focus of brand DNA throughout the organization is how Apple ensures their brand promise is part of the customer experience.
If employees at every level of the organization do not understand and embody the mission of their organization, there is little chance of delivering a holistic customer experience. It is the role of business leaders to clearly define the brand mission statement, ensure it is understood at every level of the organization and enable, equip and empower their employees to deliver it at every customer interaction. This is where customer experience starts.