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Companies deliver customers a defaulted, unplanned experience... THEN wonder: Why don't they like us The truth is: the experience many of you are delivering to your customers today is likely a blueprint of your organization chart....

Think about it. Sales does their own thing, then marketing. Service is not connected, and of course, neither is the data. We send conflicting offers to customers (one insurance company sent a cancellation notice to a customer from the actuarial department, then on the same day sent an cross-sell offer to try to get them to add another line of insurance on the SAME day).
The thing is ....this is not unusual!
The reason most "customer focus" efforts crash and burn is that in the frenzy of etching those crystal balls to sit on our desk with the words "customer" on it -- no one takes the time to understand how you play together in the corporate sand box.
"Experience" is only as good as the understanding of what it is across the company, and the hand-offs between the silos. So ask yourself these three questions:
1. Have you got an agreement across your company on the stages of the customer experience -- one that everyone REALLY agrees with? Not the "yeah, yeah" thing in the meeting - where everyone then goes back to their corner of the world and keeps doing what they've always been doing.
The purpose and imporance of this is that is you can get agreement, you can now manage from this. Walk around your company today and ask 10 people to name the stages of your customer experience - you'll probably get 10 answers. So how are you going to manage the experience and the hand-offs between them if everyone doesn't even agree on how to define it?
2. Do you line up shared metrics for the delivery of the important stages of the experience? Does everyone know what "SCORE!" means regarding delivery of the key touch points? Again, if you don't know this, what are you managing?
3. Do you share resource planning and strategy development among the silos for the parts of the experience where there is shared accountability for its delivery? Or does everyone do the classic planning-dance where each silo picks a set of priorities for the year, drums up resources and then goes and executes on their tactics?
CEOs all around the world have a false sense of security -- thinking that their companies are really focusing on the customer because they see the littany of projects planned that have the word "customer" in their title. The only problem is, that bevy of projects doesn't aggregate up to fix one thing completely. Each one dabbles in the part of the problem specific to that silo and to meeting that part of the organization's scorecard. And the beat goes on in corporations around the world.
If you answered "no" to some of these questions above, the fact of the matter is that you're likely NOT managing the customer experience. You are delivering a defaulted experience to your customers -- which they are having by clashing and clanging from one silo priority, project and set of metrics to another. We have made our customers some kind of grand guinea pig, experiencing the joys or failures of our experience based on our ability (or inability) to work together.

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image of Jeanne Bliss
Jeanne Bliss began her career at Lands’ End where she reported to founder Gary Comer and the company’s executive committee, ensuring that in the formative years of the organization, the company stayed focused on its core principles of customer and employee focus. She was the first leader of the Lands’ End Customer Experience. In addition to Lands’ End, she has served Allstate, Microsoft, Coldwell Banker Corporation and Mazda Corporations as its executive leading customer focus and customer experience. Jeanne has helped achieve 95% retention rates across 50,000 person organizations, harnessing businesses to work across their silos to deliver a united and deliberate experience customers (and employees) want to repeat. Jeanne now runs CustomerBliss (http://www.customerbliss.com), an international consulting business where she coaches executive leadership teams and customer leadership executives on how to put customer profitability at the center of their business, by getting past lip service; to operationally relevant, operationally executable plans and processes. Her clients include Johnson & Johnson, TD Ameritrade, St. Jude’s Children’s Hospitals, Bombardier Aircraft and many others. Her two best-selling books are Chief Customer Officer: Getting Past Lip Service to Passionate Action and I Love You More than My Dog: Five Decisions that Drive Extreme Customer Loyalty in Good Times and Bad. Her blog is http://www.ccocoach.com She is Co-founder of the Customer Experience Professionals Association. www.cxpa.org