The Need to Improve Customer Experience
As cloud computing subscription sales reshape the relationship between vendor and customer, bringing more business customers into the decision-making process, technology enterprises are focusing on end users and their needs. Following points can be factored to ramp up the key capabilities necessary to improve the customer experience:
Sustained leadership commitment
Success depends on C-level commitment to becoming a customer-centric organization. It takes time and patience to build an organization focused around the customer experience, and senior executives should not set out thinking it will take six months; it’s more like three to five years. And the senior team must remain committed through the ride.
Reliable, trusted metrics
Establishing the right metrics allows everyone in the organization to speak a common language about the customer experience and to measure progress transparently. Many technology companies are doing this by adopting metrics to track customer success or by sharing their learnings. A better understanding of customer economics and the implications of customer advocacy also help make informed investment decisions.
Proprietary insights on customers
Technology companies should be looking beyond IT to understand how end users value their products. These customers are increasingly responsible for expansion and renewal decisions. While most technology companies have tried to map out the key touch points in the customer journey, few have taken a data-driven approach to determine exactly which events matter most to customers as they decide on purchases and renewals.
Development that delivers on critical needs
Deep insights can help shape development priorities detailing where and how to enhance and upgrade products, based on available technology and commercial needs. Companies should take a ‘design thinking everywhere’ approach, with nothing off limits. Old methodologies are giving way to Agile to make development more responsive to end-users.
Relentless learning and frontline action
Leading enterprise IT firms continually listen to users to understand what frustrates and delights them. They monitor these trigger points closely and build systems that feed these insights back into the organization, especially to the design process. When done right, this learning and integration plays in a series of internal and external feedback loops, creating a relentless learning and frontline action.
Building a culture of customer excellence
It takes time and patience to develop an organization focused around the customer experience. Leading companies start with recruitment and continuous training for existing staff, to reinforce lessons about the customer experience and to draw new learning into the broader process. Finally, change of this scale requires rewards and recognition.
Robust operational and analytic infrastructure
Supporting these elements, companies need to set up a robust operational infrastructure that supports bringing feedback from the right customers to the right employees. This typically includes an advocacy group within the larger organization, which works with IT and analytics teams to track action and initiatives, and ensure customer experience initiatives continue to make progress.
Improving the customer experience requires patience and time, but the approach is clear and proven.