As your organization is trying to win your market by transforming your business to provide the best-ever customer experience, it becomes extremely critical to shape your business strategy by focusing on the outcomes first. As a business leader, very often you may experience the challenge of inertia, which usually means take last year’s financial numbers, add an incremental target to them, make some tweaks in the organization’s structure and go-to-market, create new messaging and branding, identify obvious gaps, and do some new acquisitions/partnerships or implement some standalone cool technology to plug into some immediate short-term siloed business need.
These every-year delta actions provide consistency and sustainability to your corporate objectives. However, to truly transform your business and make it completely customer experience-centric, you may want to consider the four themes listed below, which will help you shape your business strategy based on outcomes and not merely inertia.
You do not have any control over the expectations your customers and channel partners have when it comes to how, where, and when they want to engage with you. We live in a world of omnichannel experience: myriad communication options, both physical and digital; a plethora of channels; an avalanche of customer engagement touchpoints. It, therefore, becomes imperative how frictionless you make that journey for your customers.
In order to enable this frictionless journey:
- Gain flexibility by integrating physical and digital channels. Enable contextual experiences using customer preferences, interactions, predictive analytics, and business rules.
- State-of-the-art sales lead to cash solutions that enable sales teams, customers, and channel partners to nurture leads and opportunity, configure, price, quote, and order products and solutions accurately and efficiently.
- Provide an omnichannel service experience for your customers connecting your call-center platform with services operations and field service technicians.
Most organizations are aspiring to achieve these following objectives when it comes to creating a sustainable flow of recurring revenue from their customer base:
- Increase customer lifetime value with subscription-based revenue models.
- Increase net-new sales growth through referral expansion from your existing loyal customer base.
- Accelerate top-line growth with new revenue streams emanating from a foundation of sustainable recurring value, rather than one-time customer satisfaction.
In this new era of experience management-driven business models, most successful organizations are moving away from a sales practice of “sell and forget” and instead focusing on “adopt and use.” Today, the true sales organization is shaping up to be more of a solution provider and experience expert. Recurring revenue persists only when your customer is embracing the experience rather than buying standalone, one-time products or services from you.
Data-driven mindshare expansion
In the past, most business consulting strategic models would focus on market-share expansion. However, with the proliferation of brands and channels and the explosion of cluttered information in today’s world, the new battle has to be fought at the frontiers of the customer’s mind. Gone are those days when customers could be won with exciting sales pitches or promotions or digital marketing. It’s all about the mindshare now.
- Trying to understand and map your customer’s journey across their whole lifetime and also factor in the relevant customer consent and privacy legal regulations.
- Identifying all points of engagement that your customer experiences while connecting with you as an organization directly or indirectly.
- Understanding the data that arises from all those moments of engagements.
The way to gain the mindshare of your customers comprises:
- How well you have captured both the operational and experience data arising from the methodology above.
- How well you have built intelligence from that Big Data.
- And how well you have made that intelligence actionable at the moment of the customer experience.
True value creation is not just catering to your critical customer needs. It’s about doing this consistently and repeatably and scaling this in a sustainable, efficient manner. It’s not about just wowing the customer the first time, but being the customer’s trusted friend across their whole journey. To be a leader in the customer experience space, you have to excel in value fulfillment.
For shaping your value fulfillment strategy, focus on:
- Seamlessly integrating your customer-facing front-office applications with relevant fulfillment back-end applications like ERP, supply chain and logistics, master data management, and analytics.
- Streamlining your order management across its whole lifecycle – from generating interest to driving purchase behavior; from order processing and fulfillment to completing downstream processes like logistics, finance, and service. A perfectly orchestrated order-management system is essential to master your value fulfillment strategy.
- Achieve cross-division collaboration between various divisions like e-commerce, key account sales, channel partner management teams, marketing, customer insights, IT, etc. Collaboration entails bringing people and process together across these horizontal processes to achieve the vertical uplift towards value fulfillment.
The road ahead
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.” These lines from Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken” are a beautiful reflection of the potential change you can bring as a business leader. You do have a choice: follow a path of inertia or a fresh path of business transformation to make your organization truly customer experience-centric in the years ahead.