Customer Experience Management holds increasing potential for organisations wishing to differentiate themselves, but without a cohesive strategy long-term CX improvement is almost impossible.
Synergy Consulting’s business assessment and 13-part proprietary CXM Maturity Model works hand-in-hand to establish enterprise readiness, and map out a sustainable CX growth path.
As more and more business sectors and their respective services become commoditised, companies – especially B2C companies – are increasingly called to find non-traditional ways of distinguishing themselves from their competitors.
Customer Experience Management (CXM) has quickly emerged as a primary tool for doing so. Now, influencing service sectors from hospitality and retail to banking and telecoms, CXM has tremendous potential to influence business revenue if implemented well. However, this is not a straightforward process.
In order to achieve the systemic appreciation and activation of CXM that is required for firms to succeed, they must first understand their organisational readiness.
Customer journeys must be understood holistically, and even companies that already prioritise their customer might only do so in a haphazard fashion. Positive CX is the result of multiple experiences across numerous touchpoints. It necessitates synergistic engagement of customer-facing and back-office processes, systems, organisation, governance, and culture.
Businesses need to perform an honest self-assessment to gauge how prepared they are for what is needed.
Synergy Consulting Group’s proprietary CXM Maturity Model helps organisations determine where to take action, while helping them assess their progress as they move along the CX maturity journey. The five levels of the model assist firms in identifying their CXM starting point:
Level 1: Non-existent
Customers feature little in business objectives. The company is sales, product or technology-focused; CX initiatives do not exist and budgets or KPIs are not customer-related. Customers are not segmented and little to no attention is paid to branding.
Level 2: Fragmented
The business strategy features CX objectives but brand values do not reflect the reality of the customer’s experience across various touchpoints. The organisation tries to deal with customer dissatisfaction and related business weaknesses reactively and individually, but business areas remain detached from each other. Touchpoint issues and improvements are managed in a siloed fashion by channel owners operating in isolation.
Level 3: Managed as a program
CX becomes central to the firm’s strategy and is led as program by the PMO. Brand values are communicated to relevant customer touchpoints but CXM budget and planning do not form part of business-as-usual activities.
The PMO begins to build a single view of the customer by coordinating the insights and activities of multiple touchpoint owners. Cross-functional groups utilise market research, analytics and technology to achieve a cohesive customer-centric program.
Level 4: Established
The enterprise’s Customer Experience strategy has already seen significant implementation, with customers experiencing the organisation’s brand values consistently across all touchpoints.
A temporary Head of CX is appointed to manage and operationalise the cross-functional CXM process. Under his lead the Customer Experience journey across the organisation is redesigned and upgraded.
Level 5: “In our DNA”
The final objective of any CXM strategy: full enterprise inclusion. CX management is no longer the responsibility of a specific business area; it is ingrained in the everyday functioning of the entire organisation.
The Head of CX is, as was always the intention, made redundant and CX no longer has its own budget or targets. Instead it is integrated into all facets of day-to-day business, including planning, process, and resource allocation.
Cross-functional teams and inter-departmental networks respond in harmony to ad-hoc CX issues. Throughout the firm multiple KPIs focus on incremental CX improvements, while micro-segmented customers experience the same depth of brand value felt within the organisation.
A maturity assessment has two important outcomes. Firstly, the CXM Maturity Model’s evaluation of market criteria ensures that the company matures at the right pace for its external circumstances.
For example, IT systems need to be available to support certain levels of customer experience analysis and management. And there is little value in having an ‘In Our DNA’ level of CX maturity when the customer base does not yet require or appreciate such an approach.
Secondly, a CXM maturity assessment helps a company determine where it needs to focus and what it needs to prioritise in order make Customer Experience part of its DNA.
Only with this level of CX maturity can firms distinguish themselves from competitors while being responsive enough to encourage sustained customer loyalty.
However, moving up the maturity ladder is not an elementary task. It requires a holistic understanding and systemic approach to CXM evolution. At Synergy Consulting, we see the CX transformation program as four stages, each corresponding to a shift up in maturity level:
At the first CX maturity level (non-existent), evolution can only be initiated by obtaining buy-in from management and senior leadership. Decision makers need to acknowledge the need for change and drive a clearly-defined long-term commitment to CXM transformation. Completing a CXM maturity assessment is a critical first step, but no initiative will succeed without leadership engagement.
Fix the basics
Before long-term Customer Experience gains can be achieved, the burning issues need to be addressed. A CX transformation program must begin with resolution of the most pressing and immediate sources of customer dissatisfaction.
Because most of these issues are limited to individual touchpoints, addressing them does not usually require the enterprise-wide coordination that typifies more mature CXM models. Thus, in the early transformation period, these areas offer quick wins that utilise the siloed mentality that is usually still prevalent at this level of CX maturity.
Build branded journeys
While the most glaring single touchpoint concerns are being dealt with management must already begin shifting to a coordinated, cross-touchpoint view that sees the CX journey holistically.
This is the most challenging stage by far. Quick wins in the previous stage often encourage decision makers to pursue more investment in single touchpoint improvements. But this stimulates a deepening of siloed mentality which prevents long-term CXM success and provides diminishing returns on investment.
It is here that management and senior leadership are especially important as they become responsible for drawing different business areas together in the creation of a well-aligned and connected customer experience journey. To initiate this we recommend a 6-stage approach that includes
- Prioritising key personas and journeys
- Defining the detailed journey maps, moments of truth, and performance
- Defining the root causes
- Prioritising the improvements
- Re-designing the to-be journey
- Piloting and scaling the re-designed journey
CX transformation reaches fruition when the customer journey design and management is incorporated into the organisation’s ‘business as usual’. This requires an institutionalised CXM process that allows the business to continuously monitor, manage and improve customer journeys, while responding to changing customer needs and brand developments.
The importance of high-level commitment in undertaking this process cannot be understated. Sega Genesis increased its US market share from 15 percent to 55 percent in just four years during the mid-1990s. This was principally thanks to the then-CEO’s dedication to the company’s transformation, ensuring its brand was represented in all areas of Customer Experience, including product and marketing.
Apple’s legendary rise in the early 2000s was also largely due to the influence and commitment of its CEO. There are many other examples, but the lessons are clear: leaders wishing to advance their business through improved CXM need to recruit broad-spectrum support and engagement among C-level executives and beyond.
See if our Customer Experience Management Consulting Practice can help you.
For a deeper understanding of Customer Experience and how to implement it at your organization, download Synergy Consulting Group’s White Paper: From Satisfaction to Emotionally Connected.