Around the world, those fans who are obsessed with the sport of soccer learn the importance of teamwork at an early age. From forwards to midfielders, defenders and goalkeepers, every position takes the field at the same time and everyone has an orchestrated role in making that all-important goal happen.
In a similar way, delivering an exceptional customer experience (CX) requires orchestrated teamwork and a company-wide commitment today. And while some CX fails are easily forgotten, others can be deal breakers. Case in point: Last December I bought a new car during a very tempting year-end sale. I immediately loved the vehicle but after a few days of ownership I discovered an error in my contract. As I attempted to get it resolved, I got nowhere. The sales rep who had been so relentless? Out of the office on holiday. The finance manager who executed the paperwork? Unreachable. I contacted multiple people within the dealership – each time having to re-tell my story. Nobody was invested in helping me. As I spent more time interacting with the staff, my frustrations grew and I very nearly returned the car.
So how do you provide the kind of connected experience that creates loyal, satisfied customers? Here are three fundamental approaches that we use at Cisco that businesses of all sizes can adopt:
- Start with a customer-first mindset: A customer-first mindset is the most important step in establishing an effective CX framework. To prioritize the customer at Cisco, we’ve created a company-wide culture that embraces swift decision making, individual accountability and responsibility. We look to hire and cultivate problem solvers, change agents and self-starters who understand the importance of value exchange. When everyone in the organization is aligned around a common goal – to put customers first – then successful outcomes are more likely to follow. As we’ve learned at Cisco, transforming your culture is a process. It takes top-level buy-in, committed leadership and a CX-driven operating model to bring a customer-first mindset to fruition.
- Break down the silos: In today’s digital world we have the opportunity to create more connection points with customers than ever. That’s the good news. The downside is that many systems still don’t talk to each other. As a result, from an internal perspective there’s often no single view of the customer. Within Cisco, one of the ways we’re busting the silos and getting that singular view is through journey mapping. This is a cross-functional practice that allows diverse teams to clearly understand the importance of their role in delivering on the promise of CX for each customer. Journey mapping lets you visualize every stage in the end-to-end customer journey, recognize important customer moments, and understand how timely and effective engagement impacts customer health. The benefits are clear: TSIA has found that those businesses that establish processes to operationalize customer journey mapping have lower churn rates compared to those that do not.
- Use digital engagement: Research at Cisco has revealed that customers are far more likely to consider, buy, use, renew and love our products and services when they interact with digital communications. And because each customer is constantly evolving, we use data science, machine learning and analytics to continually refine, automate and personalize our digital conversations. Cisco recognizes that not all partners have the time and resources to take digital engagement to the level that we have and that’s why we offer Lifecycle Advantage. Designed specifically as an end-to-end engagement platform for partners, Lifecycle Advantage incorporates our latest CX innovations to enable partners to scale out their personalized communications with customers in a simplified, time-saving way.
When you give your customers great experiences with your products, your services and your company, and you help them succeed, not only will you see revenue and profits rise, but you will also begin to shape attitudinal loyalty with those customers. That loyalty really means love. We want our customers to love us and our partners and love what we do for them. Just like fans around the world love their soccer.
I’ll be talking about this in more depth during our October 9 SuccessTalk, “Borderless Business: Freeing Your Organization from Silos.” You’ll learn how to guide your organization to see beyond a silo mentality and embrace an open culture to optimize the customer experience. I hope you’ll join the discussion.