Coincidentally, when CEOs take the initiative in improving customer experience (CX), the effects are felt throughout a business. Today, as businesses compete for loyal customers, more than ever, we’re witnessing top-down efforts in creating exceptional customer experiences.
Let’s dive in and see what it takes to establish your own, customer experience improvement program based on real-life scenarios!
When today’s consumers interact with a brand, they’re increasingly demanding experiences that “wow” them. In order to maintain a loyal customer base, businesses must demonstrate an investment in their customers’ experiences.
Particularly, in today’s tech-heavy world, consumers are being prompted by more competitor messaging than ever before and, with social media at their fingertips, they’re in control of the reputation a brand carries.
Consumers expect individualized service, omnichannel experiences, and personalized offerings, and are quick to move on to a competitor if a business doesn’t measure up.
Managing the laundry list of factors that contribute to a functional team and the delivery of satisfactory experiences is not something that can be done simply by a savvy social media team or engaging service reps. A successful customer experience improvement program requires the entire organization to buy into the philosophy; therefore, the C-suite needs to make CX a top priority.
As self-proclaimed “customer experience evangelist,” and CEO, Mark Hurd puts it, “the barriers to becoming a truly social business that can deliver superb customer experiences can only be knocked down by the CEO”.
That’s why today’s CEOs need to step out beyond the traditional responsibilities of the C-suite to create organizations that work from the top-down to offer exceptional customer experiences.
Research shows there is a direct correlation between CEO engagement in customer experience and profitability. The benefits of a CEO’s involvement in CX delivery are significant; 64% of companies reported much higher profitability than their competitors when the CEO owns the customer experience.
Improved customer loyalty
It’s easy for the C-suite to be removed from the day-to-day customer needs. However, to ensure customers are receiving the best possible experiences, CEOs need to get to know their target market in order to adequately serve it.
CEOs who can think like their customers and understand their desires are more equipped to identify points of friction. CEOs can better direct customer-facing employees by prompting customers to provide feedback through surveys.
This sort of continuous improvement is noticeable to consumers and will likely result in improved customer loyalty, as they learn to trust a company’s brand.
According to Fred Reichheld, author of The Loyalty Effect, the value of just a 5% increase in customer retention can result in a 25 to 100% increase in profit for a company.
A customer experience improvement program = a more cohesive business process
When businesses focus only on organizing department functions and their personal role in the customer journey, rather than working as a cohesive team, customers can be left with disjointed experiences.
CEOs can help eliminate this disconnect by encouraging a holistic view of the customer journey and department processes.
CX Strategist Martin Hill-Wilson suggests creating a “customer hub,” which he defines as, “housing every competency needed to operate aligned customer engagement; steered by real-time analytics and leveraged through agile change management and stakeholder collaboration”.
CEOs who implement this sort of teamwork mentality foster a positive culture and better performance, which benefit customer experiences.
Regardless of industry, CEOs leading a customer-centric company have a few best practices in common. Research by CX consulting firm, Walker, discovered there are seven key customer-focused behaviors that are consistent among CEOs who lead higher-growth firms.
CEOs looking to emulate the success of CX-focused companies should strive to mimic the following behaviors and qualities:
- Use insights strategically. CEOs should consider improving CX as a holistic, company-wide strategy based on customer insights, rather than a one-time program.
- Set aside short-term financial gain. CEOs should focus on the long-term benefits improved CX will have on customers and company profits, rather than quick wins.
- Seek a broader customer story. CEOs should base their CX strategy on insights gathered by the broader consumer base, not just loyal customers.
- Coordinate across silos. CEOs should use their authority to create a collaborative environment where employees across various departments are responsive to one another and work in coalition towards a common goal.
- Encourage empathy for customers. CEOs should set the tone for how employees view customers. They should create a culture that prioritizes the customer experience and encourages employees to put customer needs first.
- Request information and advice. CEOs should proactively seek customer and employee feedback in an effort to continuously test and improve customer relations.
- Make the call on resources. CEOs interested in making a long-term impact on the customer experience should invest in a comprehensive strategy and provide the necessary resources to fully execute that strategy.
Refining a company’s customer experience strategy is a long-term commitment that requires the participation of the entire organization. Customer-focused CEOs can lead these initiatives to ensure CX is a central part of the entire company’s goals.
Though it takes time, the benefits of a customer experience improvement program are well worth the effort.