> The four stages of moving up the Customer Experience Maturity levels
Customer Experience Management is rapidly becoming de rigueur for many B2C firms. It started in earnest in the hospitality and restaurant industry, but is rapidly expanding into other services sectors, such as banking, telecoms, media, retail sector, and even among some leading utility industry firms. In a prior post, I argued that the first step to truly embracing customer experience management is a rigours self-assessment using a maturity model. This provides invaluable context for identifying what parts of the company need attention first and which parts can wait.
A rigours self-assessment should raise important questions about how to take action, especially for managers and corporate leaders that have done little to push CX at their organizations. For firms to manage the transition from the lowest CX maturity levels to the highest, a systematic, synchronized transformation program is needed.
At Synergy Consulting, we break up this CX transformation program into four stages, each corresponding to a move up in maturity level:
- Commit. At the non-existent CX maturity level, the first step to embracing CX is getting management consensus on the need for change, and a senior leadership commitment to drive a well-defined, multi-year effort to transform the organization into a CX leader across all the 13 criteria of the CXM Maturity Model. The act of completing a maturity model assessment is an important part of that step, as it establishes both what has been achieved and what more needs to be done.
- Fix the basics. Any multi-year CX transformation program for a CX-immature organization needs to address the most immediate customer dissatisfactions that are hurting the business. We call this fixing the basics. The focus in the early quarters should be to get some quick wins by alleviating extreme dissatisfactions, most of which are usually due to individual touchpoint weaknesses, and most of which can be addressed by the individual touchpoint owners without the need for significant coordination. This approach in the short term works well considering the wider organizational limitations, where the still silo’d mentality dominates across the functions and coordination between them is a challenge.
- Build branded journeys. With quick wins at individual touchpoints achieved, and the most glaring customer dissatisfactions alleviated, the management mindset must shift from individual touchpoint-focused improvements towards design of a coordinated, cross-touchpoint customer journey. This is by far the most difficult transformation stage. Frequently, success in the quick wins during the “fix the basics” stage leads management to falsely believe that further investments and improvements at the individual touchpoint level will give the same return on investment. In fact, further investment into silo’d approaches to individual touchpoint improvements have diminishing returns in terms of moving customers towards delight, trust, and long term loyalty. It is at this juncture, with the basics out of the way, that management should start bringing together the organizational silo’s to coordinate cross-touchpoint customer journey improvements. Kick-starting this effort can be via proof-of-concept customer journey pilots with one or two of the easier and most impactful journeys. To do this, we recommend a 6-stage approach that starts with prioritizing key personas and journeys, defining the detailed journey maps, moments of truth, and performance, defining the root causes, prioritizing the improvements, re-designing the to-be journey, and piloting and scaling the re-designed journey.
- Industrialize. The final stage of a CX transformation is to industrialize the customer journey design and management as part of the organization’s “business as usual” operations. The transition to operations requires the institutionalization of a CXM process that ensures the organization is able to continuously monitor, manage, and improve the customer journeys in line with the brand promise and changing competitive dynamics and customer needs.
It is important to reiterate the importance of high level commitment in undertaking this process. Sega Genesis managed to go from a 15% share of the US market to a 55% share in just four years in the mid-1990s largely because the then CEO was driving the company’s transformation, ensuring its brand was represented in all aspects of its product and marketing (and thus customer experience). Likewise, Apple managed to survive the 1990s before storming ahead in the 2000s largely because of its CEO. So it is important that directors and vice presidents looking to work CX into their business units make their case to C-level executives to help ensure success.
See if our Customer Experience Management Consulting Practice can help you.
Customer Experience and how to implement it at your organization, download Synergy Consulting Group’s White Paper: From Satisfaction to Emotionally Connected.