The very best athletes shift the momentum of the game at critical moments, and as spectators this pivot can take our breath away. Nearly any sports fan can recall a game-changing play that enabled the team to take the upper hand and demoralize the competition.
The very best athletes shift the momentum
of the game at critical moments, and as
spectators this pivot can take our breath
away. Nearly any sports fan can recall a
game-changing play that enabled the team
to take the upper hand and demoralize
Businesses today need to be equally agile
when managing their customer relationships.
They must be able “to turn on a dime”
to capture new markets and break away
from the competition. To attract and retain
customers, high-performance organizations
are moving from a transactional view of
their customer to one that measures the value
of their relationship as the sum of each and
every experience. Those experiences are
defined by an increasingly complex set of
interactions. And the interactions that make up
today’s experiences cut across the enterprise
and have varying degrees of significance.
But making the pivot and successfully connecting
with your customers can be intimidating.
Companies typically offer numerous products
and services via many channels and with
multiple partners, thereby making the prospect
of planning, designing and executing effective
customer experiences daunting.
While companies must acknowledge the
importance of the experience when managing
the customer relationships, strategic and
operational changes are also required to
complete the pivot. The fact is that companies
are at different stages of maturity when it
comes to designing and deploying satisfying
customer experiences. But regardless of where
they are in the process, the bar representing
customer expectations has been raised,
and the pace of change often exceeds a
company’s ability to respond. Moreover,
an organization must look across industries
to understand the types of services their
customers are accustomed to, which they
will also be expected to deliver.
Perhaps the most important hurdle to clear,
however, is the one a company sets for itself
– its brand promise. Failing to live up to a
brand expectation can damage a company’s
shareholder value as it creates a gap between
what customers expect and what they deliver.
As the gap widens, customer frustration takes
over and results in disloyalty and churn.
Curing this ailment requires a customer-centric
approach, including developing market focus
and positioning, defining distinctive capabilities
and enabling a performance anatomy.
High-performance businesses have remarkable
clarity when it comes to setting strategic
direction, especially regarding big decisions.
They always seem to be in the right place
at the right time. This occurs as a result of a
company’s market focus and positioning. They
know where and how to compete when they
set their business strategy.
They also invest in distinctive capabilities
which inherently provide direct value to the
customer. They design product functions,
features and services with the customer
experience in mind. Often this means working
across the enterprise in addition to multiple
channels and business partners.
In this context, a sound performance
anatomy within the organization and flawless
execution are key factors for success. A
corporation’s “culture” must breed a mind-set
that creating positive customer experiences is
the responsibility of all employees, especially
those on the front line. Equally important is
having the commitment to follow through when
times get tough. This means outperforming the
competition, which always requires having an
effective coach to call the right plays.
Naming the right coach in today’s environment
is an emerging dilemma requiring attention.
Companies have wrestled with similar questions
before. Some companies will conclude that
they need a customer advocate and change
agent in the boardroom – especially if the
transformation to customer-centricity is a longterm
one. In some cases this responsibility
can be filled by a traditional line of business
player; in other instances a “chief customer
officer” may be the answer.
Whatever decision companies make
regarding who should lead the charge, the
fact is that making the pivot to this new CRM
mind-set is critical and urgent. Delivering
the customer interactions that produce
optimal experiences to produce long-term
relationships is the new mission of CRM
executives. Achieving high performance
in any industry will depend on the ability
to bring all the dimensions of a company
together to deliver satisfying outcomes.