Customer Experience: Lack of Deliberate Strategy

By Jennifer McLeod of CMA's Customer Experience Council

The following is the second in a series of Blogs by various members of the CMA Customer Experience Council.  The series will discuss various aspects of how to embed a company’s commitment to Customer Experience within their organization. Read the first blog post in the series.

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Customer expectations with any brand are real-time and customers are interacting with brands across a variety of channels.  This is why it is essential that companies make the effort to ensure that the brand is depicted seamlessly across all channels, creating that unified experience for the customer.  Consistency is key to a higher brand advocacy and in turn, a greater likeliness to recommend.

To this end, companies need to think in terms of this notion of centralization; enabling all resources to think alike and align to the same expectations when delivering a product or service.  When bringing a brand to market, companies must consistently seek input from all areas of the business and gather customer data to ensure that the brand strategy itself is relevant.  This is truly where the rubber meets the road.  This is the test that determines if the strategy is consistent, connected and delivered in a way that makes the brand one of customer choice. 

A lack of deliberate strategy results in inconsistent execution.  Without question, this results in questionable followers and a true lack of brand advocacy.  What this tells us then is that there are steps that need to be taken to ensure that a deliberate strategy is woven into the fabric of an organization.  Firstly, define what you want the experience with your brand to be. Secondly, ensure that this expectation is intrinsic and fundamental in all employee functions and decision making.  Thirdly, create ways to measure the successful- deployment of a brand strategy must be clear and relevant.  Finally, ensure that the brand strategy is one that defines and guides all of the decisions and priorities within the organization. 

The best strategy is one that is derived from and created alongside company employees..  Garnering the input of the internal teams ensures investment in the plan or the strategy right from the beginning.  Once established, this strategy becomes a ribbon that presents itself in all areas of corporate communication and consistently reinforces the brand promise.

Ultimately, for most all companies, customer experience is the key differentiator.  With so many products being similar or even the same, the only thing that customers rely on is their experience with the brand when making that final choice.  Gartner says that by the end of 2017, 89% of marketers expect that customer experience will be the primary differentiator.  We often now read about the direct link between Customer Experience and ROI, therefore if a deliberate strategy doesn’t exist to promote the Customer Experience and it is not understood across all levels of an organization, how can one expect a high return on investment

Almost all companies today understand and identify that the customer is a top priority or that the customer always comes first however few truly achieve a level of customer loyalty due to a lack of deliberate and consistent strategy.  If the message of the brand is unclear, employees feel misguided, there is a lack of unity in the delivery, and the execution of the brand is inconsistent at best.

A deliberate strategy quite simply, is the voice behind the vision.  It is the “how to” in creating the vision or ultimately, the positive experience and connection with a brand.  It’s about knowing your customer. 

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Tags: customer experience, strategy, brand strategy, branding, customer