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Six Pillars for your road to excellence – Characteristics of brilliant customer experiences*

This content was first published on KPMG Denmark Customer Insight blog. It is based around KPMG Nunwood’s proprietary framework on customer experience management.

All over the world, Executive Boards have a constant focus on unveiling what strategies can set their businesses apart and propel their growth. As a result of this focus, a considerable proportion of leaders have zeroed-in on a strong customer experience strategy as their top priority to drive business growth over the next decade and beyond.

However, along with the determination of customer experience as the key strategic priority for their businesses, these leaders are facing the challenge of building a roadmap with meaningful metrics to lead the way and monitor their progress. With companies offering solutions like Unified Communication as a Service, businesses are able to build their relationships with their customers, through the use of technology. As technology revolves around pretty much a lot of industries, it only makes sense for companies to use this to their advantage and see the impact this can make.

This is generally when they come across the Six Pillars System, a sophisticated way to measure customer experience excellence developed by KPMG Nunwood from the UK.

More than a million customers across 3 continents have helped KPMG Nunwoodto understand and codify what excellence looks like and what creates a great experience – this led to the Six Pillars System, the driving elements of a successful customer experience strategy that has since been serving as a roadmap to businesses around the world.

By understanding what is embodied by each of the Pillars of Excellence, executives can start to assess where their businesses lead of lack and work towards ensuring the key behaviours underpinning each Pillars are built into the experience delivery in their organisations.


Using individualised attention to drive an emotional connection

Personalisation is about demonstrating a deep knowledge of your customer. It’s proving that you know him/her (talking to them by name) and interacting with them on their preferred manner (by phone if they want the phone, in the branch if they prefer so).

The companies that best understand Personalisation often have a very advanced and rich customer relationship management (CRM) system to support this personalised service delivery, allowing them to treat their customers as the unique individuals they are – not one more undistinguishable customer.


Being trustworthy and engendering trust

A brand that is strong in Integrity is one that is perceived as reliable and standing for much more than financial profit and their shareholders’ dividends. It is about ensuring great delivery on trust-building moments, demonstrating expertise in one’s area and always keeping one’s promises. Leading organisations.


Managing, meeting and exceeding customer expectations

Customers don’t evaluate interactions in a vacuum – they bring their own assumptions on what they believe is reasonable to expect from the brand.

A key part of customer experience strategy is to find the perfect balance between setting expectations high enough so that customers want to engage with them and leaving room for delight over the relationship. Leading brands do that by having a strong understanding of the built-in expectations customers bring along as well as how to adjust these to provide an optimal experience.


Turning a poor experience into a great one

Simply put, Resolution is being there to support and help the customer. It may be a formal complaint or support request, as well as answering a couple of questions in store or on social media. Leading organisations have understood that it is important to address these situations optimally. Not considering the needs and requirements of a customer can result in negative feedback, which will reflect poorly on the business. A lot of the time, people tend to focus on the negatives, than the positives. But negative feedback isn’t all that bad. It allows businesses to see where they are going wrong and can improve from it. By looking into companies such as RepCheckup, you’ll be able to find an effective way of making the customer experience a lot easier. Soon, you can take control of your online reputation, which is important for any business to do, especially with the rise of social media.

Research has repeatedly proven that these opportunities for support are key moments of truths in the relationship with a brand. These moments can often make the difference between someone criticizing the brand to all their surroundings and a fervent follower. Getting your Resolution right often will contribute to raising the emotional connection with the customer beyond the point it originally stood at before the issue started.

Time & Effort

Minimising customer effort and creating frictionless processes

Time & Effort is a two-sided Pillar. It’s about taking all the necessary time and producing all the required effort to ensure the customer’s contribution both in terms of time and efforts are as low as possible. In other words, it’s absorbing as much as possible the burden of the interaction so that it is made as pleasurable and seamless as possible to the customer.

Organisations that mastered this Pillar are clear with customers on timing for future steps, the required involvement from the customer and what may go wrong. Ultimately, advanced customer experience strategy demands that the process is made as short and easy as possible – removing steps out of the way if they do not contribute to the customer’s goal.


Achieving an understanding of the customer’s circumstances to drive deep rapport

Empathy is best expressed as the ‘emotional’ side of the experience. Although some might believe it’s strongly overlapping with Personalisation, Empathy is about taking the time to listening to the customer and connecting with them on an emotional level, it’s feeling with the customers instead of feeling for them. Empathetic people often share the happiness and sorrows of other people and feel what they feel by procuration.

Organisations that mastered the art of empathy seem to share one trait: they hire people on personality (and empathetic potential) and then train for skills. The emotional connection is the key and most complex aspect of the experience, as noticed on the yearly customer experience excellence rankings from KPMG Nunwood.

Getting the Pillars right is a long and complex road, but it is a road that foster consequent rewards in terms of loyalty, market share and business growth. Executives who narrow their focus on customer experience strategy certainly understand the potential behind such a growing area and are on the right track to expressive business growth.

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