The single most important challenge for all brands of the Age of the Customer? The development of a positive digital customer experience. 71% of companies already understand that traditional differentiators alone are not enough to guarantee engagement and loyalty.
So where do successful experiences come from? Company culture, that’s the answer. You can invest all your budget in technological improvement, but if your company has not a shared customer centric culture all other activities will ultimately fail.
In this moment of fast and continuous revolutions, you may believe that the key factor is how you implement and adapt innovative technologies and devices to your business needs.
Smartphone, Oculus Rift, Apple Watch: they all reshape the connection between a brand and customers but in the end they are just the tip of an iceberg, with unseen roots in your employees.
PEOPLE HAVE THE POWER
In the era of mobile-mind shift, your employees can determine whether you stay top of mind or disappear from customers’ mind when the purchase moment comes.
A true digital transformation can only be achieved when you become conscious that:
Your customers are more critical than your brand;
Your employees are your first customers;
Your culture is the foundation all your marketing efforts are built on.
There is a direct correlation between the culture within an organization and the experience that customers have when interacting with that organization. Culture defines the behavior of your employees, and employees deliver your value system to customers, in their day by day interactions.
Culture and experience are strictly linked: the actual experience you deliver will tell you everything you need to know about what is working and what needs to be improved as soon as possible.
As long as your focus stays on traditional differentiators, you probably won’t feel the urge to improve and share your company culture. But, again, product, price and advertising can’t help you in markets where all other companies are moving to compete on the basis of the customer experience.
START WITH YOUR EMPLOYEES
New channels, innovative IT structures, back office efficiency can do nothing until all branches of the company move together towards a customer centric approach, from top management to front office operators.
Whenever decision makers only care about product improvement, big spending campaigns and behind the scenes technology, this choice will be visible in the journey map, and will result in a bad customer experience.
A strategic innovation always requires a deep change in company culture. Simply throwing money at it will likely not yield the type of culture needed to actually drive engagement.
As Brian Solis once said, “the entire service-profit chain begins with, and absolutely depends on, engaged employees.” You can have the most honorable values but you will never be recognized as unique if nobody knows or cares about them.
To improve and deliver amazing customer experience, start with the employee experience. To retain customers’ attention and loyalty, start with employee loyalty.
If you don’t take care of such a critical matter, your employees won’t feel your values as their values; in one word, they won’t be engaged.
Dissatisfaction always impacts on the outcome; when that happens, no matter how clever your business plan is, the whole customer experience will end up being faulty and inadequate.
CULTURE IS NOT A PROGRAM
Culture is more than just one-shot projects or programs coming from outside. Companies already spend huge budgets on employee engagement programs - a total projected to top $1.5 billion dollars in the next years (Bersin & Associates).
The result? Actual employee engagement has reached the lowest point, falling down to 13% (Gallup). Take an internal survey and you will determine the perception of your people in regards to brand values and employee empowerment. As a consequence, you will find out the truth about the state of your customer experience.
To deliver the best experience, across all touch points and on any device, you need to to become customer-centric on all levels. The idea is not to replace good employees that may not be ready, but to transform them into agents of internal change.
How can you reboot your company culture so that employees and customers become part of the same customer journey map? Forbes has traced 5 tips to improve your customer experience, starting from improving yourself.
Hire for values not skill sets - remember that70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated.
Make your leadership visible - leaders should never hide in their offices. A message spoken by leaders will deeply resonate with your team.
Reward employees to make customers happy - companies with stronger employee retention boast greater levels of customer retention. Gamification can help you with this.
Rely on social media communication - the recent Facebook Messenger evolution teaches that brands can now manage their relation with customers taking advantage of the powerful two-way communication on social networks.
Share customer centricity with everyone - without customers there is no business at all. All departments should share this common vision and put their efforts to improve the experience. The time of profit for profit’s sake are really over.
Company culture and employee empowerment have a great impact on customer experience. This is the reason why we included both in the the DCX 7-Steps Checklist, a useful guide with requirements and insights for a successful digital transformation. You can download the free paper here: