I originally wrote today's post for The DiJulius Group; it was posted on their blog on May 15, 2014.
Is your company short-sighted when it comes to the customer?
I've been using the phrase "short-sighted" a lot lately, and it got me thinking about how too many companies are short-sighted when it comes to customer experience management. If you're not familiar with the phrase, Merriam-Webster defines it as: not considering what will or might happen in the future; made or done without thinking about what will happen in the future.
Does that sound like it applies to any companies you know? Unfortunately, too many of them still either don't think about the future customer experience* or think focusing on customer experience is a one and done/project. It's not; it's a journey, as we know. As such, we need to envision the experience not only for now but also for well into the future.
*I confess. Many of them still don't think about customer experience, period.
What are some of the symptoms of customer experience short-sightedness?
- Operating in the moment, for the moment
- Making decisions in the moment, for the moment
- Operating in a siloed manner
- Failing to make decisions based on what's important to the customer
- Thinking that the purpose of the business is to maximize shareholder value
- Not putting the customer at the center of business decisions today and every day
- Failing to view customer experience management as an enterprise-wide discipline
- Not sharing the vision with employees
- Not helping employees understand the importance of a great customer experience, how they contribute, and how their contributions matter
- Failing to focus on the big picture, the end game, the outcomes
- Or focusing on the wrong outcomes
- Not considering the employee experience and its impact on the customer experience
How do we avoid short-sightedness in our customer experience management efforts?
Start with a vision. Your customer experience vision will be inspirational and aspirational; it will outline what you see as the future state of the customer experience. It will briefly describe the experience you plan to deliver. And it will serve as a guide to help choose future courses of action. That little statement packs a lot of punch!
Having a vision shows you understand it's a journey.
Some customer experience vision tips include:
- It should align with the company vision
- Even better, the corporate vision is the customer experience vision
- The vision will guide your strategy
- Strategy drives execution and subsequent actions
- Business decisions should be made based on this vision
- It is internal
- It must be communicated
- It must have commitment and buy-in from those who live it, execute on it (shared vision)
- All employees must know how they contribute to, and align with, the vision
- The vision should motivate, inspire
- Revisit it at a regular interval to ensure that it still reflects the experience you want to deliver
Need some inspiration? Here are a few examples of corporate vision statements from brands you know well.
Amazon: To be the earth’s most customer-centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.
San Diego Zoo: To become a world leader at connecting people to wildlife and conservation.
Avon: To be the company that best understands and satisfies the product, service, and self-fulfillment needs of women — globally.
IKEA: The IKEA vision is to create a better everyday life for the many people. We make this possible by offering a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishing products at prices so low that as many people as possible will be able to afford them.
Kraft Foods: Helping people around the world eat and live better.
The Walt Disney Corporation: To make people happy.
Toyota: Toyota will lead the way to the future of mobility, enriching lives around the world with the safest and most responsible ways of moving people. Through our commitment to quality, constant innovation, and respect for the planet, we aim to exceed expectations and be rewarded with a smile. We will meet our challenging goals by engaging the talent and passion of people, who believe there is always a better way.
Can any of these double as customer experience vision statements, too? What's your customer experience vision? How do you inspire employees every day to deliver a great customer experience?
The very essence of leadership is [that] you have a vision. It's got to be a vision you articulate clearly and forcefully on every occasion. You can't blow an uncertain trumpet. -Theodore Hesburgh