So, your company has decided to focus on Client Experience. You’re not alone! In a recent study, Gartner predicted that by 2018, more than 50% of organizations will be focusing their investments on client experience innovations.
As a leader, you have talked to the key people in your organization and everyone has agreed - your company really needs to hone in on client service in order to deliver a quality product and service. As entrepreneur and Shark Tank investor Daymond John puts it, “to over-deliver in service to a customer is by far the most valuable thing to a business. Because there are only two ways to improve the operations of a business: increase sales or decrease costs.” And great client service increases sales.
It seems obvious: Client Experience must be your new focus. The solution you’ve come to is to hire a Client Experience executive to drive this new initiative. Sounds simple, really. Almost too simple.
... and it is.
Delivering a great Client Experience doesn't happen overnight. It requires a combination of People, Product, and Processes orchestrating flawlessly towards your company’s vision. Client Experience is dedication, passion, drive, and, of course, change. The leader you are about hire could be as talented as it gets, but he or she can’t do it all alone. As the legendary Michael Jordan once said, “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.” The same principles apply to the workplace, and very specifically to Client Service.
So when your organization decides to focus on Client Service, don’t panic! Here are some steps you can take to ensure you are setting the right foundation for success.
The position of Vice President of CX is open. Qualified candidates are prescreened and carefully evaluated. The interview process begins - but how will you know that you’re making the right hiring decision?
Besides overall experience and fit, here are a few things to consider:
Walmart is currently ranked #1 on the Fortune Top 500 list - and yet they are considered one of the worst companies when it comes to Client Service. I would recommend asking your potential VP candidates this question: What is your favorite brand and why? Everyone’s connection to a particular brand is very personalized, and their description will be based on their own positive client experience. Also, you will learn if the candidate pays attention to specific, small details and if the candidate gets excited about them.
A simple question: “what’s the best service you have ever provided?” or “what’s the best thing you ever did for someone?” will reveal the candidate’s true heart and passion for client experience (or lack thereof). The person that you choose to represent your organization’s client experience needs to have a warm, genuine care for others in order to bring that intended client experience to all levels of your organization.
So you’ve got a great CX leader - now what? Your next step is to build out your client service team.
The structure of your client service team (or teams) and the department will obviously depend on the size of your organization – and yes, to answer the question I’m sure you’re wondering, great client experience often comes with an additional cost. For many companies, this may not be an issue, but if you’re in a smaller company, you’ll have to consider the financial impact and how you can make the most of your client experience. Make no mistake, smaller businesses - a focus on creating great client experience is the road to steady growth and revenue!
Things to consider when developing your Client Service team:
NPS, otherwise known as Net Promoter Score - the index used to measure how willing your clients are to recommend your company to others and, by proxy, how satisfied your clients are with your services. Collecting accurate NPS measurements is crucial to understanding how close you are to gaining those coveted “Promoters” - the clients who love your products and will tell everyone about them.
Ask yourself, what’s your plan for collecting NPS data? Luckily, if you’re not sure, there are a range of SaaS and CRM systems, like Qualtrics and Salesforce.com, ready to help you build a Net Promoter System.
Every day, we have access to extraordinary amounts of data at our fingertips. But as Daniel Newman over at Forbes points out, success in today’s market comes from first embracing the data and then following where it leads you. You need the right business intelligence to analyze not just what’s happening right now, but what trends are indicating for the future. You don’t want to be the Blockbuster to your competitor’s Netflix.
Obviously, there is no “one size fits all” solution to creating an effective CX team structure, as every company has different resources and different goals. One thing that companies focusing on client experience should have in common, however, is an internal CX Center of Excellence - a set of capabilities, resources, and best practices that provide a foundation for the CX strategy across your organization.
And once you have a CX Center of Excellence, deciding on a CX team structure requires a significant amount of evaluation and planning. A client experience transformation entails five crucial elements: vision, governance, an initial road map, metrics and initiative objectives, and change-management principles.
Without the right resources (read: funds, time, and talent), this whole conversation is a moot point. Building an incredible Client Experience is not just a one-time quick-fix project. It requires long-term dedication, strategic planning, and - sometimes - a shift in your company’s outlook. You can collect the data and build the client experience team, but at the end of the day, it’s about taking the results and feedback from your clients to continuously build a better experience for them.
Client Experience is not a job or department - it's a path that a company chooses to follow to achieve their vision. According to a Walker study, by the year 2020 client experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. Is your organization ready to differentiate itself?
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