What does it feel like to be your customer? That simple question is the essence of customer experience but you’d be surprised how few companies truly ask it of themselves. As Alibaba CEO Jack Ma put it, “I’m not a tech guy...I’m looking at technology with the eyes of my customers, normal people’s eyes.” This week’s CMO Perspectives is about how to make that question one of the very top priorities of every employee in your company.
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We’ve all heard of data silos within organizations, but what does it feel like to be on the receiving end of such silos? What does it feel like to be the customer?
Author Trey Peden describes being the customer of a company with data silos. Recently, he says, he was trying to purchase a popular new smartphone but got a bit lost online. Finally, he spoke with an extremely helpful customer service agent and completed his purchase over the telephone. The next day, he received an email from the same company asking if he wanted to come back to the website and complete his purchase.
Needless to say, Peden was annoyed. “I’m not planning to drop my wireless carrier,” he writes, “but when I got that email I thought: Come on. I know you know I was on the phone with you guys for 20 minutes just yesterday completing this purchase! Get it together!”
That’s what it looks like to your customers when your consumer data is stuck in silos, writes Peden. He goes on to enumerate several ways to centralize data and avoid such snafus in the future.
Following Alibaba’s record-breaking September IPO, the company’s CEO Jack Ma has become a household name.
Author Kevin Claveria is a big fan of Ma’s and says that the secret of his success is putting the customer first. Claveria asserts that Ma is somebody that thinks like his customers, quoting him as saying: “I’m not a tech guy...I’m looking at technology with the eyes of my customers, normal people’s eyes.”
Second, Ma is busier observing his customers, than kowtowing to investors. Ma coined the term customer-to-business to describe his prediction that customers will soon completely dictate to businesses what are their needs.
Third, writes Claveria, Ma believes in corporate social responsibility. “Your business model, it should create value and be good to society,” Mah has said. “If it hurts the environment, it’s not good for society, so just don’t do it.” Read the article in full, and you might end up a Jack Ma fan just like Claveria.
Companies with customer-obsessed cultures – think USAA or Southwest Airlines – differentiate themselves in their industries and earn major financial benefits. So far so good. But company cultures can become entrenched, and it’s hard to transform them. Sam Stern suggests sending everyone in your company back to school – CX school to be precise!
Stern proposes a CX Curriculum for training everyone in your company.
First, all CX team members need a working knowledge of customer experience concepts plus core skills like customer journey mapping.
Second, every successful customer experience transformation must have the active support of the company's senior leaders. He describes how BMO developed a one-day course for its leaders on the fundamentals of customer experience. The training shows how client experience drives business results for the organization.
Another example of CX training was when the patient experience team at Cleveland Clinic first proposed using learning maps to train all 43,000 employees in patient experience principles. Once they had done that, they held several follow-up workshops to reinforce what employees had learned.
What is digital transformation, asks author Brian Solis. Although it sounds like one of those buzzwords that might come out of HBO’s Silicon Valley TV show, digital transformation is an emerging movement where companies thoughtfully invest in new technologies and also new processes and business models to compete in a digital age.
Small and large businesses, writes Solis, need to understand how decision-making is changing. Social, mobile, real-time, and other disruptive technologies are aligning like never before to necessitate big changes within organizations, forcing them to adapt in order to maintain relevancy. When you take a look at some of the most disruptive and promising technology trends out there right now, you realize just how far we’ve come but also how much more things will change in the next 5,10 and 20 years ahead.
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