• Melanie Foster

Do you measure business effectiveness through the eyes of your most valuable customers?

Updated: May 3

In the global marketplace, following the Covid-19 pandemic, companies will need to figure out new ways to create a differentiated customer experience.

The shift in customer expectations is overturning everything we think we know about business growth. Every event that customers encounter before, during and after a purchase forms part of their experience. Managers often make decisions, sometimes without the right context, with spreadsheets and reports that turn customers and their people into numbers instead of valuable assets.

In the next normal, winning companies will capitalise on opportunities to adapt to evolving customer behaviour, deliver short-term business success, and strengthen their long-term strategic positions.

To guarantee long-term commitment and advocacy, organisations must reimagine and reform the experience through thoughtful, targeted investment. NPS, CSAT and VOC are typical metrics to help zero in on what customers think – and how to make products meet their expectations. Nearly all organisations (whether traditional companies or start-ups) are reorienting their business models to be more digital.

Nevertheless, improving and iterating the customer experience requires a holistic and deep understanding of all customers’ needs and expectations, not just those that engage with surveys. The level of complexity between a company and its customer is getting worse, not better. Well-intentioned decisions sometimes have unintended consequences, and a vicious cycle of mediocrity, or worse, becomes the new normal.

Today you need an exceptional sales team, a strong marketing team and a responsive customer service team. Marketing does not need to own the end-to-end customer journey; instead, it should focus on orchestrating cross-organisational commitment and collaboration at every stage.

Start your efforts with your customers and your business’s most critical efforts. Establish a partnership with the technology team, build a business case and create a roadmap for what you need in terms of data access and analytics. Speed and response times are essential, but not if they result in poor execution.

To create that effective holistic approach, develop a positive customer experience by actively engaging customers through their end-to-end experience. A customer-engaged programme will enable appropriate teams to address essential issues:

  • Bundle value-added programs into a programmatic model for B2B omnichannel customer engagement and success, e.g., focus groups, advisory boards, online communities, and case studies

  • Identify in-person interactions in the value chain

  • Identify the most significant friction points in the customer journey and reduce buyer effort

Your CRM can be put to an enormous variety of uses to track and manage the entire customer experience. Ensure the data you collect makes a difference in how your customer team interacts with customers and what you deliver to them through customer experience. Be prepared to adapt, iterate, and operationalise changes across the organisation based on both quantitative and qualitative feedback.

Each organisation will pursue its customer priorities differently based on industry, starting point and the competitive landscape. All organisations create a competitive advantage by putting customers first and overseeing their experience.

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