For any major investment to become successful, it takes total buy-in from all parties. It is not enough anymore to see each customer as a one-way transaction. The customer-business relationship is about the full 360-degree commitment.
The customer-business relationship begins long before the customer begins the conversation with a company. It begins when your company first enters the customer’s mind and continues once they invite the business into a conversation. Any first impression of your brand, even a passive first impression, will determine how a customer moves forward and the extent of your company’s involvement. While, your company’s sales or marketing teams may often reach out to the customer as part of the initial interaction chain, the pain point the customer is hoping to resolve has long been on their mind. The manner in which your company interacts with the customer will determine how future relations will be shaped, so taking a deep dive into how your company wants to be perceived is imperative for its longevity.
To achieve the long-term investment of the customer, your entire company, including the executive team, must take an active approach in the implementation and adoption of an enhanced customer experience platform. Consistent, long-lasting changes take an understanding and commitment by all to see its total benefit. The first step to gaining buy-in is demonstrating the investment and why it is being implemented. Concrete examples of what could be done to enhance the customer experience and how it will benefit both parties is a major demonstration to any detractor or cautious team member. All employees are seeking the same bottom line: increased revenue, a stronger customer base and a positive company reputation. Your customer-facing employees are in the front lines every day and are a great resource for enhancing the customer experience. They have a first-hand experience in understanding what drives loyalty and appeals to your customers. This total customer experience attitude is limited in action without the support and participation by the executive team. The actions and attitude of your executive team speak loudly to the company as a whole. Their dedication from the start of the process will lay a strong foundation to the greater adoption and optimal success in centering your company on the customer experience.
To increase the impact of company actions, a strong customer experience should align with business strategies. When one grows and succeeds, the other will as well. A successful strategy should benefit both the company and the customer, drawing in participation from all angles. To do so, include input from all impacted departments, including sales, marketing and customer service. This movement towards a customer experience centered business philosophy is not a simple switch, nor is it for the short term. Your executive team must understand how aligning with customer loyalty will lead to greater revenue and enhanced relationships. They must be the biggest cheerleaders in this implementation, as their buy-in will drive the largest detractors to invest in the plan, especially when their metrics are at stake. As the customer and employees are considered at each step in the process, the motives should be clear and concrete. What is best for the customer should be best for the company and empowering your employees to deliver consistent service should be key. Adding incentive for early and strong adopters will be key to the band wagon effect. By celebrating the successes of this customer-first attitude, other departments will follow with the desire to receive similar accolades.
In the end, happy customers share their experiences and will open the door to positive referrals, increased revenue and new customers. The consequence of not putting the customer first is decreased loyalty and negative word of mouth, which, unfortunately, is much stronger and more harmful. When the executive team stands behind the movement towards a customer experience centered business model, this idea will become a greater action. Their investment will begin the domino effect from the top to the bottom with total adoption as the final destination.
About the Author:
TopLine Strategies delivers the complete integration and development of sales, marketing and customer service technologies that enable corporate clientele to improve revenue streams and strengthen customer interactions. Our project management and consulting is designed to achieve timely delivery, 100 percent user adoption of the technologies we implement and deliver measurable returns on investments for our clients.