Dear CEO: Customer Experience Starts With You
April 11, 2011
Being a CEO is not easy. I experience the day to day challenges our own CEO, Dave Crouch, has with running a business, a staff of great folks and making sure customers are satisfied with ten24 Web's services and support.
Thanks to Gini Dietrich over at Spin Sucks and my fellow authors who collaborated on this project, there's an e-book called Dear CEO: Letters to the C-Suite from Experts on Vision, Culture, Community, and Integration that's filled with excellent advice from industry experts on how CEO's can lead the effort in making their organizations better places for both employees and customers. Leadership requires elbow grease; there's no way around it. The advice in this e-book is insightful. I strongly suggest all CEO's or those who interact with the C-Suite get a copy. I do have about five free copies so here's what I'll do. The first five people who comment on this blog post will get the e-book at no cost!
Being an integrated marketer, I'm passionate about the customer experience and feel all companies should focus their organizations around customers. That was the driver for my page in the e-book below. Enjoy! You can follow all the great conversations on Twitter here (#DearCEO).
Many companies claim to be customer-centric, but their actions aren't consistent with this claim. What does it mean? Customer-centric organizations don't just focus on customer needs, they structure their entire operations around serving customers.
Customer-centric companies such as FedEx, UPS and USAA practice walking in their customers‘ shoes every day, and in return, are some of the most profitable companies in the world. Why? Customers become their strongest advocates, continuously buy their products and services, and have a major competitive advantage. Imagine an organization whose key differentiator is its customers not products.
Trash your current mission statement!
Just wanted to get your attention for a moment. Seriously, is your mission statement just a bunch of words for stakeholders to read, or are you living it? Are your corporate goals and objectives realistic? Most importantly, do your employees understand them? Have you and your team communicated the relevance of your mission to each and every employee in the way he or she understands it?
To be customer-centric, you must first be employee-centric.
If your employees understand your mission and how it applies to them individually, it becomes that much easier for them to know their role and value to the organization. Communicate your mission through the ranks continuously and always encourage feedback. You have to be a great listener. Communication breakdowns in organizations hurt morale big time. Don‘t you want passionate, motivated employees to service customers?
Can your internal systems handle customer interactions?
By internal systems, I‘m not just referring to databases and CRM technology but making sure employees are trained and have the tools they need to successfully interact with customers. Do they have access to relevant data from all customer touch points? What type of data is being collected, and how is it being used? How much of that data is used to improve internal processes or customer experiences? Hopefully you are using this critical data, as nearly one out of every four (24 %) executives said that they seldom or never use customer feedback to change a business process (according to a survey by Market Tools, Inc.) Customer data must be shared across the organization for one view of the customer.
Are you meeting your employees’ and customers’ basic needs? We are all human with basic needs starting with food, shelter and clothing for survival. Customer-centric organizations get to know their customers in great detail to satisfy their needs. One of my favorite examples is from FedEx who identified and created a version of their customers‘ ?basic? needs. Do what they did.
1. Physical needs - Having a package delivered on time
2. Informational needs - Package tracking even if it's on time
3. Emotional needs - Peace of mind package is on its way
4. Spiritual needs - Employees and customers being part of something greater than themselves
Who owns the customer experience in your organization?
In a customer-centric organization, everyone from the CEO to the receptionist owns the customer experience. Employees in all areas of a customer-centric organization play an integral part. We are all in the customer business. Treat your employees well, and they will treat customers well.
Are you ready for a radical change towards a truly customer-centric organization? I challenge you starting now!"
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Director of Client Solutions
ten24 Web Solutions