How Much Do You Champion The Customer?
“The internal customer experience determines the external customer experience.”
Shep Hyken — Customer Experience Guru.
You know the price of everything in the organization; the staff base, assets, the media spend, the paper value and even the individual dollar spend of your customers. But how much are your customers really worth? How much value do they play in growing your brand? They are your most powerful asset, but how much are you investing in growing that asset?
We know that customers aren’t one-and-done, giving rise to proper metrics like customer lifetime value (CLV). And we know that value actually covers a much broader role the customer plays in the relationship, including their impact in building the brand too. These relationships are the most valuable asset a company has, so they need proper investment.
That’s where Customer Champions come in. Customer Champions can be c-level individuals, a team or a company wide function which influences every customer facing operation. Put simply, Customer Champions place the customer at the heart of everything you do to grow powerful and influential customer advocates; the customers who become your strongest advocates in your customer communities.
Customer Champion organizations use behavioural data at one end and joyous customer moments at the other. They substantially improve customer lifetime value, deliver superior customer moments, better user experiences and treat the customer as the most important individual in the room.
Here, we explore 4 insights into how Customer Champion organizations operate.
One: Everyone works in Customer Experience, not just the CX team.
“Customer service shouldn’t be a department, it should be the entire company.”
Tony Hsieh — CEO Zappo’s
The truth is, everyone in the organization is there to champion the customer. No matter how internal or external the function, success is ultimately measured in how it benefits the customer and improves their value perception of the company.
This isn’t a moot point. When United Airlines dragged off 69 year old Dr David Dao from an internal flight at Chicago in April 2017, to seat two crew members, a global brand had abandoned any pretense of customer experience. If United Airlines invested in pointing all operations at customer service, they would have avoided a media storm which gripped the planet, undoing years of multi-million dollar investment in building the brand in the first place.
Two: Customer Champions Invest in Brilliant Customer Experiences.
No matter how negative the point at which a customer moment is created, your CX agents need to be at their best to deliver powerful customer moments. Sure, the best customer experiences will struggle with a poor product, but a great product can be undone with poor customer support.
Use all the tools and technology to get better and better. Bring in automated CX to work alongside your agents to offer 24/7 support and cover the transactional moments. Get technology to connect customers with the right agents to reduce your AHT (Average Handle Time) to free customers to get on with using your product and get on with their lives.
Three: Customer Champions Leverage the Most Valuable Customers
“Customer experience is the new advertising department.”
Max Kalehoff — CEO SocialCode
The request has been solved, the Net Promoter Score is close to 100, and the customer is beaming. It’s a powerful moment, so capture it. Immediately. If you leave it, the feeling will fade and the euphoria will evaporate.
A raw, positive customer referral is infinitely more powerful than any advertising copy. By giving customers the chance to share it there and then, you’ve captured genuine customer delight. Get it on a video voxpop and you’re starting to build brilliant social content to floor your competition.
Four: Everything = The Customer
It might be the oldest slogan in the book, but putting customers first comes from a time when US industry first woke-up to the power the customer held in the relationship. There was a time where the very idea of putting the customer first was a revolution! Of course, fame and fortune followed. But we cannot stress this enough; the customer is everything. Nothing will succeed without the customer at the other side of the equal sign.
The Customer Champions Are Coming
According to the Walker Study (The Customer Analytics Experts) Customer Experience will overtake price and product as THE key brand differentiator by 2020. A Gartner research study (Stamford Conn. 2015) also predicted that by 2018, over 50% of organizations will significantly restructure investment into customer experience innovation.
The Customer Champion era is fast approaching as technology unleashes a new age in the customer relationship. And competitors will grab your share through brand fanatics sharing stories of brilliant customer experiences, no matter how innovative your product is.
The very reason you started the organization was the opportunity gap you spotted to bring customers in. Your conviction that customers would follow your idea makes them the biggest shareholder in the growth of the organization at every stage. Make sure they’re a part of everything you do, no matter how fast you’re evolving.
Harvard Business Review — How to create true brand advocates
IESE Business School — How to put your customers on the front row
Harvard Business Review — The big goal behind all the customer data
Customer Experience Magazine — Your customer advocacy programme is on the verge of complete disruption
Hubspot — Customer Champions can do your selling for you
Gartner: Organizations are changing their Customer Experience priorities
Sharpen: The Customer Service Strategies behind Zappo’s success
Buffer — 14 Amazing Social Media Customer Service Examples
C-Space Customer Quotient