Many of us have set our individual New Year’s resolutions. While it is healthy to look within our selves and set goals of where and how we might change, now is a great time for organizations and professionals to look within and seek improvement. Last year, many companies focused on hiring good people, simplifying internal processes, and empowering employees to improve the Customer Experience (CX). Perhaps now is a good time to set professional resolutions of how to make these values a competitive advantage.
We have all seen firsthand how consumer expectations are changing. Today, customers expect to be able to engage with a businesses at any time, from anywhere, and from any device. It is clear that offering an exceptional customer experience is the top differentiator no matter what business you are in. Every organization should place CX as a priority. While no one will argue the importance of superior CX, most companies realize they are lagging behind their best-in-class competitors. In a recent study, Harvard Business Review found the following:
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HBR found that many organizations face a variety of barriers to improving CX. These challenges range from organizational silos, culture apathy, and leadership stuck in data paralysis. HBR found that all three of these threats to CX programs yielded characteristics of reactive responses to customer issues. They also found that best-in-class firms often displayed a proactive approach to designing a simplified CX strategy, often based on the customer feedback they solicited.
For example, I had a recent discussion with a client regarding a shift in their contact center strategy. They had conducted multiple surveys and had learned from their customers that their IVR was very frustrating. The automation didn’t work, it was difficult to navigate, and it simplified nothing. The intent of the IVR was focused on preventing calls to agents to cut costs. But how costly was that decision as the volume of dissatisfied customers increased? This client quickly sensed the impact, and implemented quick actions to create a win for both the customer and organization.
Where might an organization look to improve their current CX program? The HBR study pointed towards improved technology as a foundational requirement. Companies researched by HBR lacked significant investments in CX technology and the majority performed poorly. Less than a quarter (23 percent) of the organizations studied invested in data platforms across multiple channels providing a single customer view. Analysis like this empowers leaders to react to the voice of their customers in real-time as they continue to shape business strategies.
Delivering best-in-class CX should be at the top of our resolutions for 2016, as it is certainly a priority of your competitors. Senior leaders can focus on establishing a CX culture and modeling an example of this through their leadership. Managers and supervisors can coach, train, and motivate their people to make a difference for the customers they serve. This is a resolution we all can accept—your title doesn’t matter. Individual and collective improvement in CX will mean all the difference in building your competitive edge.