A 2015 study by Accenture shows that the overwhelming majority of B2B executives are either increasing their customer experience investment or at the very least maintaining it. However, the same study shows that despite the investment, fewer than 25% of organizations are actually excelling at achieving their customer experience goals. Clearly there is a long way to go.
There are many challenges an organization will face when looking to deliver customer experience and perhaps one of the biggest is that of organizational alignment. Many companies today have organizational silos, which may be effective for internal management, but poses a challenge when trying to deliver exceptional customer experience.
A recent study published by Brand Learning highlighted this issue when it showed that less than 30% of organizations include HR and IT in the development of their customer experience strategies.
So how can a company clear organizational hurdles and properly enable itself to deliver on customer experience?
Gain Insight Into Your Customers Journey
If an organization is going to deliver customer experience, it is important that they gain insight into the various customer touch points. In order to do this, there needs to be a journey map that details the journey a customer takes from initial interaction, to brand engagement, buying cycle, customer support, etc.
Customer experience starts with understanding the end-to-end lifecycle of a customer from their perspective. Without this insight, it is impossible to determine what departments will be impacted, the role that each will play and what changes may need to be made in order to align with the customer.
Know Who Is In Charge
Perhaps one of the reasons why B2B companies are struggling so mightily with their customer experience strategy is a lack of clear leadership. Forbes columnist Adrian Swinscoe first wrote about this challenge when he highlighted a research report by Genesys in conjunction with The Economist called, “The Value of Experience.” The study showed that 72% of CEOs consider themselves in charge of the customer experience. However, only 27% of their colleagues agreed with the CEOs assessment.
With no clear vision into who is in charge of delivering customer experience, it is no surprise that companies are struggling. Many B2B organizations are looking to their CMO to lead their customer experience initiatives. Others are creating customer experience departments and adding the leader to the C-Suite. Still others are looking to their CEO. Whoever takes this role; one thing that is necessary is that leader must be empowered to make the changes necessary in order to deliver.
Change at any level of an organization is difficult. As humans, we are often reluctant to change, but it is often necessary for organizations that are intent on delivering customer experience.
As detailed above, many companies will need to remove organizational barriers in order to succeed. Enabling,
equipping and empowering employees to make the changes necessary and encouraging and open mind set to change is foundational if customer experience is going to be successful.
Even in the best cross-functional working environment, things can often grind to a halt when change is required as department heads may be reluctant. However, the CEO is in the position to mandate change across the organization and ensure that all department heads are working towards a seamless customer experience strategy
As shown by the Accenture study, delivering customer experience is no easy task. However, organizations that do this successfully have a clear-cut competitive advantage and will not only win more customers, but also improve the retention of their current customers leading to increased revenue.