Customer experience (CX) is quickly becoming a critical component of successful B2B businesses. So where should you start if you’re looking to become customer obsessed? Kavita Singh spoke with Barbara Stewart, our Propolis Hive expert for CX.
What is the customer’s goal or mission? What outcomes are our customers seeking?
Barbara says: “The reason that’s the first question for people to ask themselves is because people come to this idea when something has gone wrong internally, so that’s when a lot of leadership teams go into it with the lens of ‘how is this going to help me and fix this business?’ And that’s the complete opposite of CX. With CX, it doesn’t matter what you want to do. We can’t keep following the same old pattern, thinking that mentality works.”
This is the first question to ask yourself if you and your company are really ready to go on a CX journey. So, do you know your potential customers and clients? If someone provides customer profiles, that’s one thing, but it’s extremely important to get inside your customer’s brain and ask yourself ‘what is the mission and goal they’re trying to achieve?’
At the end of the day, if someone is giving you a sale or their data, what is the biggest thing they’re going to be getting out of it because it’s a two way street.
What do our customers need and value and how well are we serving against this?
Barbara says: “What is the purpose and goal? And then you understand the motivator. That’s question #2. Underneath that is value propositions. A lot of people use that word, but not a lot of people really spend time on it. They might do one activity, but no one likes to do it because that’s when they have the biggest amount of imposter syndrome in my opinion. So they go into the products.”
In value propositions, you’re asking what are my customers getting? They’re handing their money over to you over your competitors. This is the time to look beyond the product (no matter how good it is) and see what sets you apart from other brands.
She continues: “So you really need to understand their goal of what do they need and what do they value because at some point, to deliver customer lifetime value, you’re going to have to understand what the roadmap is, how to use your product in a certain way, and then understand how you as a business is going to keep evolving and growing.”
Is our whole organisation aligned with our customer´s goals?
A lot of people see CX and think it is a to-do list with tasks to complete and that’s it. However, being customer obsessed requires your company to go from being very internally focused to externally focused. That can be very difficult if your whole system and processes have been designed based on your work culture internally.
Barbara says that usually what happens is that marketing is usually given CX or an innovation team. From there, they’re told to go get ROI, but, in reality, the whole organisation needs to transition to these changes, and that includes the CEO as well.
She explains further: “I have yet to see any business succeed with CX long-term where the c-suite did not buy into it. When it was a marketing tactic, it cost a lot of money, it was very hard to measure and it failed miserably. Everyone needs to understand you can’t have the marketing team absolutely driven and focused and then you have the sales rep doing something completely different. It takes a whole village to do CX.”
How do we turn value created for customers into value created for our business?
Once you have an idea of your customer needs and your entire company is aware of the changes that need to be made, you have to take this all and figure out how this answers back to the business. This will pop up additional questions as well because this question is all about creating the link between your customers and your business’s value.
If you’re asking your company for hard cash to spend, you need to know what you want in the first place and be able to show the results in a tangible way. For example, maybe it’s going to reduce acquisition costs, marketing costs or create an increase in retention. You’ll need to be able to set a target to reach so you’ll have something to show by the end.
Why do you want to become customer oriented?
After you figure out how you’re going to create value, you need to ask yourself ‘why?’ Why is your company delving into CX right at this minute? Because it will be a lengthy process, and it might not be the right time for your team.
Barbara says: “Because if it’s just because your competitors are doing it too, and you don’t have the heart for it, you can just reduce your prices at that point.”
What service capabilities do we need to deliver our customers’ journeys?
This is when ideas have to turn into action. If your company has great research and a PowerPoint presentation to back up why you need to become more customer centric, that is great. However, this is when it becomes essential to make CX action oriented. What is your plan?
She explains: “You’re not going to be customer oriented because you did a customer map. It’s in the action of listening to customers, changing teams to develop out products and services and utilising key skills. That’s how CX comes to life.”
In Barbara’s work, she says she’s come across many people who have excellent plans, but they remain stagnant. However, this is the stage where you really need to sort out your priority backlog. Do you have all the essential people and platforms to make this happen?
What processes, tech and data are required to deliver capabilities?
This leads to the next question. Get back to the basics and focus on the people, processes and technologies that you’ll need. And if you’ve been following these set of questions, you’ll know why Question #3 is so important. Your organisation will already be aware of the changes being made, so they’ll have an easier time understanding your needs.
Marketing might’ve been tasked with sorting out CX and being customer centric, but they probably don’t manage or control the tech or the systems. So when they approach the tech team, they might not have the capabilities you’ll need. That’s why you can’t work in silos and this will be key in making implementation that much easier and possible.
What is the path to implementation?
It might take a good year before you get to this point, but this is when you can finally say okay, where should we start? Now is the time to build out the action plan, once you confirm you have all the resources.
Barbara advises: “You need to prioritise them based on customer needs because you can’t do everything at once. There’s no point in prioritising something the customer doesn’t actually need. There might be something the customer really needs. It’s a really complex process piece.”
How do you prioritise different customer needs?
So this is the step you’ll need to take once you figure out one type of customer segment because the reality is, you’ll need to do all these steps again for all of your customer segments.You can start with potentially your most valuable customer segment ot the most at risk, but once you start, it won’t be as bad to go through the process all over again.
Barbara says: “Give yourself time. Break it down into tiny bite sized pieces. For me, I’ve always said to people, take one of your customer personas and do this on a small scale and start to get traction.”
What does success look like (objectives, KPIs and metrics)?
Once you get to this stage, you’re going to be exhausted. So what you really need to start thinking about is how CX is currently answering back to the business and then make sure you start tracking it on a daily basis. You’ll want to celebrate those little wins.
She concludes: “And hence why I say to people don’t do CX unless you’re willing to really change the business. This is not a campaign. Your business should not look the same when you start answering these questions compared to when you’re finished answering them. If it’s a similar business, you didn’t answer the questions.”