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Tag Archives: Customer Journeys

Customer Experience (CX) Pyramid

28 Apr

Most organizations aren’t ready to deliver great Customer Experiences across all channels.  Many of them have invested heavily in conventional methods of doing business, backed by in person or over-the-phone customer experience.  This has led to creation of siloed operational structures within companies, where each silo operates individually.

With the advent of digital channels, these organizations set out to use and proffer their services via digital channels.  They did this by creating discrete digital-product groups in their existing operational infrastructure.  However, their siloed infrastructure falls short of meeting customers’ requirements in terms of seamless communication and interaction across all channels.  The reason being:

  • Customers’ utilization of multiple channels and touchpoints across Customer Journeys.
  • Requirements of personalized services / products by the customers.
  • Anticipation of impeccable coordination and communication by the customers no matter how they interact with the business.

This necessitates the businesses to not only provide great Customer Experiences at each channel, but also make the transitions across these channels simple to improve the overall Customer Experience (CX). However, improving the overall Customer Experience isn’t that simple a feat, especially with silo-based operational infrastructures.  Providing consistent amazing Customer Experience warrants:

  • Creation of a robust operational ecosystem through Transformation of internal operations, to respond quickly to customers’ expectations.
  • Meticulous design and delivery of Customer Experiences.

Most organizations understand the significance of Transforming their Customer Experience—however, they lack the direction and support required to realize this goal. Organizational leadership can make use of the Customer Experience Pyramid to guide their CX Transformation.

The Customer Experience Pyramid is an empirical research based framework, which is quite effective in not only improving individual touchpoints but streamlining the entire Customer Journeys.  The CX Pyramid entails 2 core dimensions:

  • Focus Areas – the organizational spheres that must change to enable provision of amazing digital Customer Experiences.
  • Strategic Building Blocks – the strategies that define how this change can take place and made part of the organizational processes to deliver exceptional Customer Experiences.

The 4 Focus Areas crucial in a business to change in order to deliver top-quality Digital Customer Experiences at scale are:

  1. Vision and Strategy
  2. Talent Management
  3. Operations
  4. Technology

Let’s discuss the first 2 individual Focus Areas of the CX Pyramid in detail for now.

Vision and Strategy

Redirecting focus on making Customer Experience a part of the Organizational DNA necessitates creating a Vision statement and Strategy to depict, clarify, and plan out the purpose and objectives of serving the customers.  The senior leadership needs to come up with a short and crisp Vision statement.  The Vision sets out the foundation that reflects the leadership’s focus, importance the organization gives to Customer Experience, and the high-level objectives associated with the provision of quality Customer Experiences.

Next, the leadership should work on developing strategies to build fundamental competencies within the 4 CX Building Blocks—i.e., CX operations, metrics, CX-centric culture, systems and governance protocols.

Talent Management

Once the Vision statement has been agreed upon, it’s time to work towards carrying out the required actions to produce customer-centric outcomes.  The first step in that direction involves linking all employees who work in discrete silos (in conventional structures).  To align all employees, there is a need to create a Transformation team and define new roles / CX groups.  The Transformation team should train and direct teams responsible for the different stages of the Customer Journey, instill new ideas, and foster desired behaviors in them.

Senior Leadership need to also assign a CX Team to run the CX program.  The CX Team has to lay out processes and yardsticks to foster cross-functional collaboration and coach functional units to adopt customer-centric design practices in their operations.

Interested in learning more about the other focus areas of the CX Pyramid Framework?  You can download an editable PowerPoint presentation on Customer Experience Pyramid here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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4 Connected Customer Strategies to Create Delightful Customer Experiences

24 Dec

With startups ready to disrupt traditional players, established firms need to form an even stronger bond with their customers, instead of waiting for customers to reach out to them.

The traditional Customer Experience model — referred to as the “acquire what we make” model — is characterized by occasional interaction between the companies and the customers, once a customer ascertains her/his needs and looks for products or services to fulfill them. In this model, companies do all they can to offer quality products or services at a competitive price, while their marketing and operations are based only on brief engagement with the customers. Because of the occasional connection with the customer in this approach, the vendor has little knowledge of the difficulties a customer faces to procure a product or service.

With each passing day the tactics that organizations use to connect with their customers are undergoing rapid transformation. Technology and customized digital interactions provide companies the means to build deeper relationships with customers. Organizations pursuing Customer-centric Design, today, are addressing customers’ needs the moment they occur — or even before that by virtue of “Connected Customer Strategies.”

Connected Customer Strategies call for the companies to maintain customer relationships round the clock (24×7). These strategies demand from the organizations to develop an assortment of new capabilities (e.g., invest in Big data and Analytics), connect with the customers on a regular basis, track their activities, and offer customized experiences and offerings. These strategies are not about using modern technology, rather the methods companies should adopt by using technology in creating delightful experiences and long-standing associations with the customers.

There are 4 distinct Connected Customer Strategies that are instrumental in developing exceptional Customer Journeys:

  1. Fast Response
  2. Personalized Recommendations
  3. Proactive Recommendations
  4. Automatic Execution
https://flevy.com/browse/flevypro/customer-experience-connected-customer-strategy-4003

Let’s take a deeper dive into the first 2 strategies, for now.

Fast Response

Organizational Leadership needs to carefully consider adopting the most suitable connected customer strategy. The Fast Response strategy, as the name suggests, is about prompt and flawless delivery of required services and products to the customers. To adopt Fast Response strategy, organizations need to ascertain the customer requirements carefully and simplify their purchasing process.

The core capabilities needed to implement this strategy include prompt delivery, minimal friction, flexibility, and precise execution. This strategy is appropriate for knowledgeable yet authoritative customers who dislike disclosing their personal information. Using this strategy, a prompt response to a customer needing replacement of a product should be a simple yet accurate, couple-of-click online ordering process and the order should be delivered a few hours later. The aim of the Fast Response strategy is to reduce the amount of time and energy the customers spend on procurement as much as possible.

Personalized Recommendations

Organizations using Personalized Recommendations strategy help customers identify their needs by presenting various options to them. The strategy involves active involvement of firms in assisting their customers by offering a menu of customized offerings — as soon as the customers have finalized their requirement but before their decision on how to fulfill it.

This strategy is suitable for customers who are willing to share their data with the company and value advice but still hold the final say. With the Personalized Recommendations strategy at work, the journey for a customer needing a product replacement could simply involve the customer’s visiting a company’s website, automatic suggestions to customer about the correct product based on her/his prior shopping history, the customer ordering the suggested product, and receiving the delivery a few hours later.

Interested in learning more about the other Connected Customer Strategies? You can download an editable PowerPoint on Customer Experience: Connected Customer Strategies here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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5 Key Ingredients of a Robust Omni-channel Customer Journey Design Approach

28 Nov

Businesses are getting increasingly complex and so are customers’ expectations. Digital organizations are digitizing their critical Customer Journeys at scale to outperform competition. These organizations are using Digitization to create streamlined journeys, which result in more agile IT units, quick delivery of new products, and improved Customer Experiences and Engagement.

But before embarking on digitization and streamlining Customer Journeys, organizations need to transform their products, processes, legacy systems and technology, and culture to become truly digital businesses.

Streamlining multiple Customer Journeys concurrently requires integration of existing systems, building new capabilities, and deploying existing competences in a different way. Specifically, it entails embracing the following 5-phase Omni-channel Customer Journey Design approach that is critical for improving Customer Experiences and accomplishing higher Customer Engagement:

  1. Develop Enterprise Customer Experience Story
  2. Prioritize Technology Transformation Projects
  3. Develop a Flexible Ecosystem of Technologies and Platforms
  4. Adapt Principles of Strong, Agile, and Lean
  5. Be Adaptive in Performance Management

Now, let’s talk about the first 3 phases of the Omni-channel Customer Journey Design approach.

Phase 1 — Develop Enterprise Customer Experience Story

Creating a Customer Experience Story calls for setting up a Customer Experience team. The Customer Experience team begins by identifying the critical factors and main concerns in their customer relationships. Around these themes, they, then, carefully outline the experiences customers may come across during each and every interaction they have with the company in the form of a story. The Enterprise Customer Experience Story is unique to every company and provides a summary of the strategy, brand, and positioning in workable terms.

Next, the team identifies the journeys that are able to effectively deliver the factors and features critical for the customers utilizing digitization. Each journey should be critically analyzed to assess its significance, cost advantages associated with scaling it, the governance and technical impediments, and the availability of adequate financial and leadership resources to manage it. Thorough analysis of Customer Journeys yields a plan of action that aids in creating prioritized journeys.

Phase 2 — Prioritize Technology Transformation Projects

IT Transformation is typically the most challenging and resource hungry among other change initiatives. For instance, designing a mobile app is simple, however, it’s the linkage of the app to all the channels customers use and its integration with the back-end systems that is complicated.

To undertake Digitization, companies should avoid digitizing each journey separately — as it fosters internal silos — and investing heavily in Internet or mobile-channel IT. A better approach for the organizations is to rather prioritize the IT initiatives to enable smooth transformation of IT architecture with the addition of more customer journeys. Standard IT components are reusable across different journeys.

Phase 3 — Develop a Flexible Ecosystem of Technologies and Platforms

An important consideration for digitizing core journeys and scaling digitization is to link your IT systems with the technologies and platforms working outside the firm. These external systems provide the organization several advantages, including quick access to new customers, data pools, and capabilities.

Next-generation integration architecture should be designed in such a way that it should support open standards, dynamic interaction models, and curtail security threats. Progress in cloud computing and technology infrastructure has made quick and easy access, management, and operations of infrastructure resources possible — including networks, servers, databases, programs, and services. The skills needed to manage these technology ecosystems include DevOps experts to supervise integration of development and operations, enterprise architects, cloud engineers to manage software and cloud-computing, data scientists, and automation engineers.

Interested in learning more about the other key phases of the Customer Journey Design approach? You can download an editable PowerPoint on Omni-channel Customer Journey here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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7 Key Imperatives to Design a Breakthrough Customer Experience

1 Nov

The constant advancement in technology has raised the expectations of customers in terms of their interaction with companies.  This digital disruption is also forcing businesses to develop new capabilities and explore innovative ways and means to deliver improved Customer Experiences.

Organizations can overhaul their Customer Journeys by embracing latest digital insights and practices.  To develop a truly exceptional, breakthrough Customer Experience, organizations should work towards adopting 7 key imperatives:

  1. Develop Customer Empathy
  2. Design the Complete Customer Experience
  3. Reinvent the Customer Experience
  4. Lead the Way with Industry Rules
  5. Become an Agile Organization
  6. Continuously Improve and Iterate
  7. Foster a Culture of Collaboration

An organization does not need to execute all 7 of these imperatives—it varies from case to case depending on the circumstances, market, and customer requirements.

Let’s, now, discuss the first 4 imperatives in further detail.

Develop Customer Empathy

Many firms use surveys and face-to-face interviews to gather firsthand customer insights to enhance their Customer Experiences.

However, when designing Customer Journeys—in addition to customer data—companies need to understand their customers’ behaviors deeply and put themselves in their customers’ shoes.  This entails knowing the complexities the customers face during various journeys and developing new ways to understand Customer Journeys—for instance, by making researchers accompany customers while shopping, by asking customers to report their activities and provide feedback as they interact with various offerings, and involving customers to provide their input on early versions of proposed offerings.

Design the Complete Customer Experience

Most people consider that design pertains only to good artwork, outlook, and appearance of products.

However, it involves not just the look and feel of a product but also the way it operates.  To render breakthrough Customer Experience, companies need to fundamentally shift the way design is perceived—not just the user interface design rather designing the overall Customer Experience.

Great Customer Experience design encompasses crafting every interface the customers have with the provider from the minute they consider a purchase.  It warrants enrolling all people that can make a difference to the customer (especially from the operations and IT units), mapping out customer touchpoints, and transforming fundamental systems and processes.

Reinvent the Customer Experience

Improving current Customer Journeys enables achieving incremental cost reductions and quality enhancements.

However, to improve Customer Journeys there is a need to shift the way Customer Journeys are perceived—from merely addressing the issues in a Customer Journey and streamlining a process to completely transforming the entire Customer Experience.

This should be done by carefully deliberating on and thoroughly analyzing all journeys from a customer’s perspective, drawing inspirations and studying benchmarks from other industries, and addressing customers’ needs.

Lead the Way with Industry Rules

Financial institutions are, to this day, quite cautious of utilizing technology to verify customers’ identification documents for deposit account opening.  Compliance teams at these institutions often resist the efforts to transform customer account opening journeys, as they exercise extreme care to ensure regulatory compliance.  Some banks make the customers fill their applications online but ask them to visit a branch with the completed paperwork, resulting in a cumbersome Customer Experience that is no longer acceptable as we enter the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Leading organizations strictly adhere to laws but demonstrate to the regulatory authorities how technology has helped them break the status quo surrounding regulatory compliance and develop innovative solutions to manage risks and compliance better.

Interested in learning more about the other imperatives key to developing a breakthrough Customer Experience?  You can download an editable PowerPoint on Breakthrough Customer Experience (CX) here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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In this Digital Age, Are You Ready for Digital Reinvention?

31 Oct

“All you need is your own imagination
So use it that’s what it’s for (that’s what it’s for)
Go inside, for your finest inspiration
Your dreams will open the door (open up the door)” Madonna

Madonna is a perfect example of reinvention. A very versatile actress, Madonna has the ability to adapt to new trends; someone that can send a lesson to companies struggling with their own digital revolution.

In this digital age, change is rewarded while being static is being punished. Companies must be open to radical reinvention to find new, significant, and sustainable sources of revenue.  Incremental adjustments or building something new outside of the core business can provide real benefits and, in many cases, are a crucial first step for a digital transformation. But if these initiatives do not lead to more profound changes to the core business and avoid the real work of re-architecting how the business makes money, the benefits can be fleeting ad too insignificant to avert a steady march to oblivion.

Discovering Digital Reinvention

Reinvention is a rethinking of the business itself.  Based on a Digital Quotient Research, reinvention requires significant commitment. First, the investment must be aligned closely with strategy at a sufficient scale. And second, digital leaders must have a high threshold for risk and must be willing to make bold decisions.

Digital Reinvention is not a throw-it-all-out approach. If you look at Apple when it moved from a computer manufacturer to music and lifestyle brand, it has reinvented itself while continuing to build computers.  Likewise, this is the case with John Deere.  John Deere is the brand name of Deere & Company that manufactures agricultural, construction, forestry machinery, and others. It continued to sell tractors and farm equipment while reinventing itself into a creator of online services for farmers.

Digital Reinvention is an innovative approach to laying the foundation for future growth while continually pushing improvement targets.

Approaching Digital Reinvention

Digital Reinvention will put new demands on leadership. Hence, an organization must have a strategic approach to Digital Reinvention: The 4Ds of Digital Reinvention.

  1. Discover. The primary goal of Discover is to develop a tight business case for change based on facts. Organizations must discover what your digital vision is based on where the value is. This will shape your digital ambition, strategy, and business case.
  2. Design. Designing, creating, and prototyping breakthrough experiences is the main focus of Design. It is reinventing and developing new capabilities and breakthrough Customer Journeys.
  3. Deliver. This is the third phase where organizations need to gather speed and scale necessary for reinvention. Its primary focus is to deliver and develop a network of partners who can rapidly scale your ambition. There is a need to activate an ecosystem to rapidly deliver at scale.
  4. De-risk. The 4th D, it is focused on structuring the change program, resources, and commercial model to reduce operational and financial risk. It is essential for senior leaders to focus on structural and organizational issues that can hamper the organization’s ability to manage cyber risk.

Having a good handle of the 4Ds of Digital Reinvention will prepare leaders towards Digital Transformation and new challenges.  It will be able to come up with the right answers to key questions that will arise in preparation for Digital Reinvention. Coming up with the proper answers to these crucial questions can guide companies to reinvent themselves ad stay in the game.

Interested in gaining more understanding of Digital Reinvention? You can learn more and download an editable PowerPoint about Digital Reinvention here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

Are you a management consultant?

You can download this and hundreds of other consulting frameworks and consulting training guides from the FlevyPro library.

Are You Able to Maximize Impact of Customer Experience on Value Creation?

30 Oct

Digital-savvy startups are disrupting markets and threatening conventional businesses.  They are doing this by utilizing technology to offer new products and services and providing tailored yet uncomplicated experiences for their customers.

Likewise, large traditionally-run firms will have to keep evolving their Customer Experience approaches to secure additional avenues of revenue and to stay competitive.  To accomplish this, they will need to develop capabilities to effectively utilize insights on customer preferences and design offerings as per the customers’ preferences.

Many organizations, today, are undertaking Digital Transformation programs to improve their Customer Experiences.  However, a majority of these Digital Transformation initiatives fall short of securing their maximum value potential due to focusing only on improving specific touchpoints instead of confronting the entire customer journeys—spanning across several departments and channels.

To make their Customer Experience sustainable and to become Customer-centric Organizations need to clearly transform their ways of doing business, operations, and employee behaviors.  It is critical to improve these fundamental support processes before embarking on initiating any Customer Experience optimization initiatives.

Customer Experience optimization facilitates in gaining more satisfied/paying customers, additional value, and better retention rates.  Research reveals that the companies that have higher Customer Satisfaction levels can achieve four times growth in value compare to those that rank lower in Customer Satisfaction.

Customer Experience (CX) Approach to Value Creation

The following pragmatic 5-phase approach to Customer Experience Management and Value Creation is of great benefit to organizations aspiring to enrich their Customer Experience, achieve clear-cut differentiation, and capture the most potential value:

  1. Understand What Customers Value
  2. Simplify and Streamline Offerings
  3. Link Customer Value to Operational Drivers
  4. Focus on Most Important Customer Journeys
  5. Adopt Continuous Improvement (CI) Thinking

Let’s now delve deeper into the first 3 phases of the approach.

Understand What Customers Value

Ascertaining the key drivers of Customer Satisfaction is the foremost step in improving Customer Experience.  A flawed approach—that many companies still employ—at the onset of a Customer Experience optimization initiative is to reduce costs associated with internal processes and exploring customer pain points.  This doesn’t assist in maximizing Value Creation.

Customer-centric organizations, on the other hand, devote their time in developing a clear understanding of what really matters to their customers.  This helps in deciding where to focus, rationalizing their processes, and creating new experiences for the customers to generate additional value.

Great Customer Experience necessitates much more than just satisfactory interactions.  Customer Satisfaction should be mapped along the entire customer journey—spanning multiple functions and channels—as customers use various channels to communicate with companies before making a transaction.

Simplify and Streamline Offerings

Alongside rationalizing the processes, it is equally important to carry out a detailed analysis of the brands, offerings, and price structures is essential to tap value from Customer Experience.  After all, even the most pleasing Customer Experience cannot offset an unpredictable or exorbitantly expensive product.

Once these fundamentals are in order, organizations should investigate which interactions and Customer Journeys carry the most significance in a Customer Experience; evaluate how the organization is rated in each journey; identify and focus on the operations that need to be overhauled to improve the overall Customer Experience.

Link Customer Value to Operational Drivers

Technology and customer input provides the stimulus to streamline offerings and Customer Experience.  However, the real value comes from linking the Customer Experience to core operational processes.  Seeing journeys from the customer perspective aids in focusing on what they need and linking internal processes, structures, and KPIs to customer facilitation.

This necessitates deeper insights on elements that are of most value to the customer across a journey, pinpointing drivers of business costs and revenues, and—most importantly—inculcating the right mindsets across the organization.  This detailed evaluation of customer journeys facilitates in determining operational improvements that bear the most positive effect on Customer Experience.

Interested in learning more about the other phases of the approach to managing Customer Experience?  You can download an editable PowerPoint on the Customer Experience (CX) Approach to Create Value here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

Are you a Management Consultant?

You can download this and hundreds of other consulting frameworks and consulting training guides from the FlevyPro library.


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