3 success factors when implementing customer experience best practice*

This article was first published on Nunwood.com – the Customer Experience Blog. It is the exclusive property of KPMG Nunwood, part of KPMG in the UK.

[KPMG Nunwood believes] in identifying the driving forces behind creating great experiences and helping [their] clients implement superior experiences on the back of this insight. Understanding the DNA of these experiences is one of the contributions brought by [their] yearly customer experience leader rankings both in the US and in the UK. These rankings (and accompanying reports) are dedicated to showcasing what customer experience best practice looks like.

However, implementation is not as easy as it might seem; it requires a certain degree of know-how. Here we reveal three vital success factors to have in mind when you want to bring best practice inside your organisation.

1) Begin with the customer in mind

Although it might seem trivial (or too obvious to be pointed out), having the customer in mind is not always a given when companies want to implement best practice. Having the customer in mind is to always consider the impact decisions might have on them and how they’re likely to react or feel. Too often, organisations will invest significantly (in terms of people, resources and assets) to implement customer experience best practice in their industry only to realise that their customers do not welcome nor value the newly implemented initiative. When thinking about improving the experience you deliver, think about what your customers value, what changes would make the experience better and how this best practice would apply to their case. It is therefore critical to acknowledge (and work with) the fact that different types of customers have varying needs and motivations to do business with brands. Best practice for one customer base might be worst practice for another: if you mostly service more senior citizens, do not simply assume that the latest mobile banking innovation is the key to improving the experience you offer them: get to really understand them and make them the centre of your strategy, not a by-stander.

2) Translate success across industries

By putting your customer first, you are enabled to understand them, what they enjoy and where their pain points sit. From there, adequate solutions can be sought. In a number of cases, a suitable approach to solving these pain points might exist as a ready-to-go solution, having already been implemented by a different organisation. However, do consider obstacles to implementing another’s approach: their solutions might not fit your customer base, and will likely be strongly linked to their brand or even patented.

Leaders that will stand out are those that are able to look beyond their industry and see how they could transpose customer experience best practice from different fields to their organisation. In this instance, going beyond the feature of a solution and understand what benefit it brings to customers is the key. An organisation that decides to simplify its journey by removing stages might inspire you to redesign your own journeys as a more seamless experience to customers, by identifying a stage that might not be necessary to the customer’s. Other brands can challenge you to rethink how to best use your floor space in physical locations to showcase your brand or sell your products –it’s not about the solution they offer, but how they decided to solve an issue. Organisations that understand these principles and successfully translate success from industry to industry are a step ahead of their competitors. For these forward-thinking leaders, sky is the limit when it comes to being inspired.

A country’s culture does matter

When organisations realise they can draw inspiration from examples outside their industry or country, they can, sometimes, dismiss the role of the culture. When you seek the solution in far countries or drastically different industries, be aware of the risk of failure due to a cultural mismatch.

For example, USAA, the leader of our 2016 USA Customer Experience Excellence ranking has implemented on its smartphone apps biometric technology, for customers to log on literally with the blink of an eye. USAA is an organisation that has been recognised for its strong Empathy and Resolution – hinting to the fact that this innovation certainly was customer driven. This innovation is very forward thinking and it might not be appropriate to your market in another country. Maybe the majority of customers have a general distrust of their financial services provider, maybe the most popular smartphones are not even able to handle such a technology (or they might not even be smart in the first place).

Taking another perspective, in some fashion retail spaces in Brazil, staff are trained to understand and display very high level of empathy. With a few probing question, they get a deep understanding of who you are, what you’re looking for and for what occasion you’re looking to buy your next outfit. Although very fitted to the local culture, it would come as no surprise it would be considered overstepping boundaries and invading personal spaces in most European markets. This is the clear example of customer experience best practice that might backfire if one decided to implement in the United Kingdom. They might reach a very high level of Empathy, but it would appear to be excessive and intrusive to the customer base of every single major fashion retailer in the UK.

And even if it all works out…

Keep in mind that best practice is all around us. As such, focusing on others’ customer experience best practice might not offer you a comfortable lead in your industry, but will certainly provide inspiration and aspiration. The best innovations you can implement are driven by your entrepreneur employees (discussed in a future article) and by your customers. To ensure you effectively capture what your customers yearn for and uncover critical pain points, you must implement a successful voice of the customer programme.

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