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Crafting and Cascading a Customer Experience Strategy Across Global Organizations

Introduction

Delivering superior customer experience (CX) is paramount for business success. A well-crafted CX strategy transcends the superficial touchpoints of customer interaction, delving into the cohesive integration of all company divisions to deliver consistent, high-quality customer interactions. This strategy should encapsulate everything from understanding customer behaviors and preferences to aligning internal processes and cultures around those insights. However, while easy to write about, it is much harder to implement in both B2B and B2C contexts.

Understanding Customer Needs and Expectations

The foundation of any CX strategy is a deep understanding of who your customers are and what they value. This involves collecting and analyzing data through various methods such as surveys, customer interviews, voice of customer (VOC) programs, and feedback mechanisms. These insights inform the service standards and product offerings that will most effectively meet customer expectations.

There are several ways to obtain data and understand customers. Voice of Customer (VOC) programs capture customer preferences, experiences, and expectations through direct and indirect feedback. Companies like Oracle, SAP, Amazon, Samsung, and NTT use VOC to refine their products and services. Sales and delivery teams provide invaluable data through regular customer interactions. Insights from these teams at companies like Salesforce, DHL, and Walmart highlight trends and areas for improvement. Data analytics is critical for processing vast amounts of information to uncover patterns and actionable insights. Organizations such as Google, Netflix, and Spotify excel in leveraging data analytics to enhance user experiences and personalize offerings. Real-time Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) integrate data from various touchpoints, offering a unified view of the customer. Firms like Segment, Oracle, SAS, Tealium, and Treasure Data use CDPs to enable real-time analysis and personalized customer interactions. Feedback and complaint management tools are essential for promptly addressing customer issues. Companies like Zendesk, Freshdesk, and ServiceNow use these tools to monitor customer sentiment and resolve problems quickly, thereby improving satisfaction and loyalty. Customer surveys remain fundamental for gathering direct feedback. Businesses like SurveyMonkey, Qualtrics, and SurveyGizmo provide platforms to conduct surveys tailored to specific customer journey touchpoints.

Establishing Clear CX Vision and Goals

A clearly defined CX vision and specific, measurable goals are essential. This vision should be aligned with the company’s overall strategy and communicated effectively to every department. Goals might include improving customer satisfaction scores, reducing churn rates, or increasing customer lifetime value. Additionally, it is crucial that the words and promises made in the CX vision and goals are executed meticulously. The discrepancy between what is promised and what is delivered can deeply impact brands negatively.

Successful execution ensures that the company lives up to its promises, thereby fostering trust and loyalty among customers. Companies like IKEA, Samsung, Software AG, and Toyota exemplify this principle. IKEA’s vision of creating a better everyday life is reflected in their commitment to sustainability, affordability, and innovative design. Toyota’s vision of “Respect for People” and “Continuous Improvement” is embedded in their famous Toyota Production System, emphasizing efficiency and quality.

Aligning the Organization’s Culture

The organization’s culture should support and promote customer-centric values. This can be achieved through training programs focused on empathy and customer service, performance metrics prioritizing customer satisfaction, and leadership modeling these priorities. Communication, continuous change management initiatives, and other strategies are essential to this alignment.

Aligning and transforming culture is not a project with a due date but a continuous effort involving the entire company. Effective communication ensures everyone understands and is committed to the CX vision. Continuous change management initiatives help the organization adapt to evolving customer needs and market conditions. Training programs and employee enablement strategies are crucial.

European companies like Philips and BMW have demonstrated the importance of these elements. Philips focuses on improving people’s health and well-being through meaningful innovation, aligning their culture with this vision through extensive training programs and open communication. BMW’s culture of continuous improvement and employee empowerment ensures a strong commitment to customer satisfaction and innovation.

Cascading Customer-Centric Strategies Across Global Divisions To align customer-centric strategies among many divisions worldwide, companies should adopt a structured approach. Top leadership should articulate a clear, unified CX… Share on X

This vision must be communicated effectively to all levels through comprehensive internal communication campaigns. Companies like Siemens and Samsung start by selecting key divisions in different countries to pilot their strategies.

Regional leaders are empowered to adapt and implement the vision locally, supported by regional training programs focused on customer-centric values and skills. Standardized performance metrics, tailored to account for regional differences, ensure accountability. Implementing centralized Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) facilitates consistent data collection and analysis, providing a unified view of customer interactions across all regions.

Additionally, appointing change champions in each division helps drive initiatives and maintain momentum. Regular feedback loops enable regional insights to be communicated back to central leadership, allowing for strategy refinement globally and regionally. Schneider Electric uses this approach to ensure their global customer-centric strategy is effectively implemented and continuously improved.

Designing an Integrated Customer Journey

Designing an integrated customer journey involves mapping the entire customer journey to identify all touchpoints between the organization, partners, and customers. This exercise helps ensure a seamless customer experience across various channels and interactions and pinpoint areas that need enhancements. Each touchpoint should be optimized to contribute positively to the overall experience, and this is a continuous effort.

Conduct comprehensive research to understand the full scope of the customer journey. This involves gathering data from multiple sources such as customer feedback, social media interactions, sales data, and direct customer interviews. Companies like HSBC in Europe and Toyota in APAC excel in this area. HSBC uses advanced analytics to track and understand customer interactions across digital and physical channels, enabling them to refine each touchpoint for a seamless banking experience.

Create detailed journey maps that visualize every customer interaction. These maps should highlight key stages such as awareness, consideration, purchase, post-purchase, and loyalty. Each touchpoint must then be analysed to identify pain points and opportunities for improvement. Use customer feedback and performance metrics to determine which interactions are causing friction and which are delighting customers.

Optimization of these touchpoints requires a cross-functional approach. Collaborate with departments such as marketing, sales, customer service, and IT to ensure each touchpoint is aligned with the overall CX vision. Continuous monitoring and adaptation are crucial. Establish feedback loops where insights from customer interactions are regularly reviewed and used to make iterative improvements.

Implementing Technology Solutions

Investing in technology that enhances the customer experience is essential. This process involves leveraging a range of solutions, including Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems, Voice of Customer (VOC) programs, Customer Data Platforms (CDPs), real-time analytics systems, and other tools to track customer interactions and glean insights.

However, merely implementing these technologies without practical actions and listening to your customers and following the company mission and goals will not turn your company into a winner. To truly utilize all available information and enhance company outcomes, follow these steps:

  1. Integrate CRM Systems: Deploy robust CRM systems such as Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics 365, Oracle, or HubSpot. These platforms help track and manage customer interactions across all touchpoints, providing a unified view of customer data.
  2. Implement VOC Programs: Use VOC tools like Sandsiv, Lumoa, Qualtrics, Medallia, or SurveyMonkey to capture direct feedback from customers. Regularly analyze this feedback to identify trends and areas for improvement.
  3. Deploy CDPs for Real-Time Insights: Invest in Customer Data Platforms like Segment, Oracle, SAS, SAP, Tealium, or Treasure Data to collect and unify customer data from various sources. CDPs enable real-time analysis and segmentation.
  4. Utilize Advanced Analytics: Leverage data analytics tools such as Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics, or Tableau to analyze customer data and extract actionable insights.
  5. Enhance Digital Platforms: Ensure that your digital platforms, including your website and mobile apps, offer a seamless and intuitive user experience. Use content management systems (CMS) like WordPress or Sitecore and e-commerce platforms like Shopify or Magento.
  6. Enable Omnichannel Communication: Implement solutions that facilitate consistent communication across multiple channels. Platforms like Zendesk, Freshdesk, and Intercom help manage customer support and engagement through email, chat, social media, and phone.
  7. Monitor and Adapt: Establish continuous monitoring and feedback loops using tools like Hotjar or Crazy Egg to track user interactions and gather feedback on digital platforms.

Continuous Feedback and Adaptation

A CX strategy should be dynamic, with continuous feedback mechanisms built in to adapt and refine approaches. Regularly updating the strategy based on customer feedback and evolving market conditions is crucial. This involves setting up multiple feedback channels such as customer surveys, social media listening, direct customer interviews, and net promoter scores (NPS) to capture ongoing customer sentiment and insights.

  1. Analyze Feedback Data: Use advanced analytics platforms such as Tableau, SAS, or Power BI to analyze the collected data. Segment feedback by different customer demographics to understand diverse needs and preferences.
  2. Create Feedback Loops: Establish a structured process where feedback is regularly reviewed and acted upon. Form cross-functional teams to analyze feedback and implement changes.
  3. Pilot and Test Changes: Before implementing widespread changes, pilot new initiatives in select markets or segments.
  4. Engage Employees: Ensure that employees at all levels are engaged in the feedback process. Regular training and updates on CX strategies help employees understand their role in improving the customer experience.
  5. Monitor Market Trends: Stay informed about market trends and competitor activities. Use market research tools like Nielsen, Gartner, or Forrester to gather insights.
  6. Iterative Improvement: Adopt an iterative approach to CX strategy. Use Agile methodologies to continuously test, learn, and improve.

Cross-Departmental Collaboration

Ensuring that all departments, from marketing and operations to sales and IT, understand their role in delivering the CX vision is crucial. This involves breaking down silos and fostering an environment of cross-departmental collaboration.

  1. Unified Communication Platforms: Implement platforms like Oracle Fusion, Microsoft Teams, or Slack to facilitate real-time communication and collaboration.
  2. Establishing Cross-Functional Teams: Form cross-functional teams that include representatives from various departments to work on specific projects or CX initiatives.
  3. Cultural Sensitivity Training: Offer training programs to educate employees about cultural differences and regional preferences.
  4. Regular Inter-Departmental Meetings: Schedule regular meetings that bring together leaders and team members from different departments to share updates, discuss challenges, and align strategies.

Practical Examples:

  1. Ericsson: By establishing cross-functional teams that include engineers, product managers, marketers, and customer support specialists, Ericsson ensures its products and services meet market needs and exceed customer expectations.
  2. Bosch: Bosch forms project-specific teams that include members from R&D, marketing, sales, and customer service, ensuring all perspectives are considered during product development and service enhancements.

Measuring Success and Impact

To ensure the effectiveness of your customer experience efforts, it is critical to define clear metrics, scorecards, and KPIs to measure its impact comprehensively.

Key Metrics and Their Importance:

  1. Adoption Rate: Measures how quickly and widely customers are adopting your new products, services, or features.
  2. Customer Effort Score (CES): Gauges how easy it is for customers to interact with your company and resolve issues.
  3. Customer Satisfaction (CSAT): Measures how satisfied customers are with specific interactions, products, or services.
  4. Customer Lifetime Value (CLV): Estimates the total revenue a company can expect from a single customer account throughout its relationship.
  5. Customer Retention Rate: Tracks the percentage of existing customers who continue to do business with you over a specified period.
  6. Revenue Growth: Monitors the growth in revenue directly tied to your CX initiatives (timewise or the overall company growth since it started.)
  7. Return on Investment (ROI): Calculates the ROI of your CX initiatives by comparing the investment costs against the financial gains achieved.
  8. Net Promoter Score (NPS): Measures customer loyalty by asking how likely customers are to recommend your company to others. It is not the way I work but NPS is a decent measure for transactions at least and often to supply a number for the management.

Tools and Practices for Effective Tracking:

  1. Scorecards and Dashboards: Develop comprehensive scorecards and dashboards that provide a real-time view of your key metrics and feedback. Tools like Tableau, Power BI, or custom-built dashboards help visualize data and track progress against goals.
  2. KPI Alignment: Ensure that KPIs are aligned with the overall business objectives and CX vision. This alignment helps maintain focus on strategic goals and drives accountability across the organization and growth.
  3. Cue Cards for Customer Interactions: Use cue cards to standardize customer interactions, ensuring consistency and quality.
  4. Effort and Investment Analysis for the company or the entire company: Regularly analyse the effort and investment required for various CX initiatives and compare them against the outcomes achieved.
  5. EBITDA Analysis: For a comprehensive financial evaluation, incorporate EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization) analysis. Samsung often does that.
  6. Regular Reporting and Reviews: Establish a cadence for regular reporting and reviews of CX metrics. Monthly or quarterly reviews can help identify trends, address issues promptly, and keep the organization aligned with the CX strategy.

Leadership and Governance

Effective governance in managing customer experience (CX) initiatives worldwide requires strong leadership and a structured approach to implementation. This begins with forming a dedicated CX team or committee, led by a Chief Customer Officer (CCO) or Chief Operations Officer (COO), to oversee the strategy across all divisions. The roles and responsibilities within this team must be clearly defined, ensuring accountability and focus. Governance structures should include regular meetings and reporting mechanisms to track progress and address challenges promptly. Integrating technology and data analytics helps in gathering and analyzing customer insights to inform decision-making. Training and development programs are essential to foster a customer-centric culture, while cross-departmental collaboration ensures a seamless customer experience.

Practical Business Case: Siemens’ Global CX Governance

Siemens, a global leader in electrification, automation, and digitalization, showcases effective governance of customer experience initiatives across its worldwide operations. Under its Vision 2020 strategy, Siemens emphasizes strong leadership and structured governance to drive customer-centric transformations.

  1. Dedicated CX Team: Siemens established dedicated teams within its divisions to oversee the CX strategy. These teams include representatives from various departments, such as sales, marketing, IT, and customer service, ensuring a holistic approach to CX management.
  2. Clear Roles and Responsibilities: Each team has clearly defined roles, with a Chief Customer Officer (CCO) responsible for the overall CX strategy. This ensures accountability and a focused approach to achieving customer satisfaction.
  3. Regular Meetings and Reporting: Siemens conducts regular cross-functional meetings to review progress and address any challenges. These meetings provide a platform for sharing insights and best practices, ensuring continuous improvement in CX initiatives.
  4. Integration of Technology and Data Analytics: Siemens leverages advanced analytics and digital tools, such as their Siemens Xcelerator platform, to gather and analyze customer data in real-time.
  5. Training and Development Programs: Siemens invests in training programs to build a customer-centric culture. Employees are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to deliver exceptional customer service, fostering a unified approach across all regions.
  6. Cross-Departmental Collaboration: By forming cross-functional teams, Siemens ensures that different departments work together seamlessly to enhance the customer experience. Regular feedback loops and integrated project management tools facilitate effective collaboration and communication.

Through these governance practices, Siemens successfully aligns its CX strategy with business objectives, driving customer satisfaction and loyalty on a global scale.

Conclusion

A robust customer experience strategy not only improves customer satisfaction and loyalty but also drives organizational growth and efficiency. To achieve this, companies must focus on understanding customer needs, establishing clear CX vision and goals, aligning organizational culture, cascading strategies across global divisions, designing integrated customer journeys, implementing technology solutions, ensuring continuous feedback and adaptation, fostering cross-departmental collaboration, and rigorously measuring success. Effective governance and strong leadership are crucial to ensuring these strategies are executed flawlessly. By leveraging technology and maintaining a dynamic approach to CX, organizations can build lasting customer relationships and drive sustainable business success.

Article authored by Ricardo Saltz Gulko. Follow him on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ricardogulko/

Sources:

  • Siemens.com Global Website, “Customer Experience Transformation at Siemens,” available at: https://new.siemens.com/global/en/company/topic-areas/customer-experience.html
  • Cascade Strategy, “How Siemens Uses Strategy Software to Drive Their Vision 2020,” available at: https://www.cascade.app/strategies/siemens-strategy-2020
  • Oracle, “Customer Experience (CX) Solutions,” available at: https://www.oracle.com/cx/
  • Samsung, “Samsung’s Customer Experience Strategy,” available at: https://news.samsung.com/global/tag/customer-experience
  • NTT, “Global Customer Experience Management,” available at: https://services.global.ntt/en-us/services-and-products/customer-experience
  • Salesforce, “Salesforce Customer 360,” available at: https://www.salesforce.com/products/customer-360/overview/
  • DHL, “Enhancing Customer Experience with DHL,” available at: https://www.dhl.com/global-en/home/customer-service.html
  • Spotify, “Spotify’s Data-Driven Customer Insights,” available at: https://newsroom.spotify.com/2021-04-27/how-spotify-uses-data-to-personalize-your-listening-experience/
  • Segment, “What is a Customer Data Platform?” available at: https://segment.com/cdp/
  • SAS, “Customer Intelligence 360,” available at:
  • Zendesk, “Customer Service and Engagement,” available at: https://www.zendesk.com
  • ServiceNow, “Customer Service Management,” available at: https://www.servicenow.com/products/customer-service-management.html
  • IKEA, “Sustainability at IKEA,” available at: https://www.ikea.com/us/en/this-is-ikea/sustainable-everyday/
  • BMW, “BMW’s Commitment to Customer Experience,” available at: https://www.bmwgroup.com/en/company.html
  • HSBC, “Customer Experience at HSBC,” available at: https://www.hsbc.com/who-we-are/our-customers
  • Nielsen, “Global Measurement and Data Analytics,” available at: https://www.nielsen.com
  • Gartner, “Research and Advisory Company,” available at: https://www.gartner.com
  • Forrester, “Research and Advisory Firm,” available at: https://www.forrester.com
  • European Customer Experience Organization (ECXO), “Customer Experience Insights,” available at: https://ecxo.org
By |2024-06-28T10:01:07+01:00June 28th, 2024|#CXmeasurement, #loyalty, #Metrics, Amazing Human Cetricity, artificial intelligence, Culture Transformations, customer centricity, Customer Loyalty, Customer Sentiment|Comments Off on Crafting and Cascading a Customer Experience Strategy Across Global Organizations

About the Author:

Ricardo Saltz Gulko is the Eglobalis managing director, a global strategist, thought leader, practitioner, and keynote speaker in the areas of simplification and change, customer experience, experience design, and global professional services. Ricardo has worked at numerous global technology companies, such as Oracle, Ericsson, Amdocs, Redknee, Inttra, Samsung among others as a global executive, focusing on enterprise technologies. He currently works with tech global companies aiming to transform themselves around simplification models, culture and digital transformation, customer and employee experience as professional services. He holds an MBA at J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Evanston, IL USA, and Undergraduate studies in Information Systems and Industrial Engineering. Ricardo is also a global citizen fluent in English, Portuguese, Spanish, Hebrew, and German. He is the co-founder of the European Customer Experience Organization and currently resides in Munich, Germany with his family.
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