While customer experience (CX) is already an established discipline in the English-speaking world, it has remained on an immature level in Germany for years. But without a doubt, customer experience has now become a hot topic for many German companies. Large enterprises have started to consolidate CX activities in one central function, and SMEs implement Voice of the Customer (VoC) programs that are continuously gathering feedback after a touchpoint event.
What is driving these companies to invest in customer experience? According to Gartner, 89% of all companies plan to compete on the basis of customer experience this year. The reasons are obvious. Most markets are highly competitive and transparent – thanks to the internet – so that a positive differentiation via products and services is not sustainable.
When I cannot keep my customers loyal with my prices, I need to earn loyalty by providing an exceptional customer experience.
Why should I consider the customer feedback when focusing on the creation of great experiences? The German satirist and writer Kurt Tucholsky once said: “well intentioned is often the opposite of well done.” Transferring this concept to the world of customer experience, one could say that only the perception of a customer counts – no matter what the company tries to portray.
One important first step for a comprehensive understanding of the customer is to create overall ownership for all feedback processes with one central function. A nice side effect to this improvement is that customers are getting a consistent experience across all surveys, which strengthens brand recognition and supports broad brand values.
However, successful customer experience management requires more than good marketing and a VoC program. Becoming a truly customer-centric organization requires a company-wide effort involving all areas and functions of the organization. Customers should get a consistent service level across all touchpoints.
This consistent level of service can create a clear and distinctive impression of a company in customers’ minds. Even more importantly, the absence of confusion and disappointment can help trust evolve between a company and its customers. Trust in turn can lead to customer loyalty, which is the most valuable currency in optimal customer lifetime value.
In the end, it is about considering the customer perspective for all business decisions. CXEvolution, a model that evaluates the CX maturity of a company, is therefore using a holistic approach, investigating all critical areas – from company structure, to customer service processes, to recruitment and reward programs.
The one thing that keeps everything together is in the heart of the model: the company’s culture. Ultimately, the success of emerging customer experience strategies in German companies depends on the commitment of every single employee. Their belief in the importance of customer experience will lead to profitable growth.