Sunday, January 3, 2016

Planning a meaningful customer experience

Organisations are today increasingly working on customer experience management in order to generate a coherent approach towards their customers. Why? Because we live in the economy where profitability is based on evaluation of every investment and growth with clear differentiating factors is a must. Customers may no longer be only looking for a product or a delivery. They are looking for what serves them best. It makes sense to focus on customer understanding, in order to know where to focus, and provide relevant processes, services, delivery approaches, communications and pricing options to support the customers requirements and needs.

Customer understanding is at the heart of meaningful customer experience.
In a service organization, the success lies on the internal capabilities and skills of the employees. Service is created or delivered by people. Thus, it is important that the organization has support, motivation and an organizational culture that enhances better customer understanding and its use. Where to get started? Customer understanding may comprise of various elements. Starting from industry understanding - what are the drivers of the industry, what impacts the companies and what are the trends and technologies driving businesses forward. Looking more inside the customer organisations, it is important to understand customer needs, customer purchase processes and customer strategies. An internal perspective is to acknowledge what is the value of the customer, and what is their supplier strategy. Regardless of the perspective, what makes a difference is how to use the customer understanding in daily operations and for longer term development. Different functions may make more sense from different models.

Lets take customer needs and purchase behaviours - which may give most input for offering development - how to package and price a product or a service. Knowing what the customer requires is the basis for meaningful offering and value proposition. Taking customer value, may be relevant for planning prioritization models and how to resource customer management.

A logical view to customers lifecycle operations is definition of customer journey. And taken it from customer point of view. Finding meaningful steps to keep focus can help identify strengths and weaknesses how the customer is faced throughout the business or relationship.

The models are many. Some companies start from one, initiate learning and gradually get additional viewpoints. Where customer understanding may be at its best when all customer viewpoints come together to form a coherent customer experience. This may mean that company chooses to focus on its most valuable and potential customers, and is able to build services and products, delivered in an optimal way to these customer groups to become win-win situation. Operations must be profitable for all parties. Therefore companies face the pain taking decisions where to focus and also what not to do.