We exist in the age of the customer. Businesses around the globe are doubling down on customer experience efforts and redefining what it means to be customer obsessed. Understanding why customer experience matters to your team is the first important step in developing your customer experience strategy. But, establishing the “why” is only the first step, knowing when to act and where opportunities exist within your organization requires a closer look at people, process and perspectives.  Curious about where those opportunities may exist? Consider the following:

1. Your organization unintentionally prioritizes process over people

Over the last two decades, businesses had to focus on updating legacy systems and realigning their organizational structures to adapt to a rapidly changing external environment. All of this effort led to an abundance of process experts and Lean Six Sigma black belts.

While process excellence should be applauded, this “process first” approach runs the risk of enabling poor customer hygiene and over time an unintentional blindness to people. When internal process efficiencies replace comprehensive, frequent research with customers the overall customer experience suffers. According to McKinsey, the next generation operating model must “simultaneously disrupt existing processes, drive value, and improve customer experience while reducing costs.”  

What are signs that your business may have shifted to a process first rather than people first approach? Just look at how often your strategy prioritizes back-end efficiency for employees over the front-end experience for customers. How do employees spend their time engaging with customers? Is it explaining internal processes or listening for customertheir insights? If your customers are not driving your processes, or if your processes are driving your customers, it may be time to consider experience design.

2. You need to accelerate innovation and execution.

Move fast and deliver value. An organization’s ability to act quickly proactively and provide quick acting customers with the value they demand depends on how prepared your employees are to keep pace.  What’s the key to achieving a rapid innovation and execution cycle throughout your business? Simple: focus on the customer. “Only by focusing on consumers and their needs, and using that as their starting point, can brands outperform.” Businesses who have synthesized their strategy, their processes and their employees on the customers they serve are already innovators in customer care. 

If you are struggling to accelerate your innovation cycle, it may be time to engage experience design to ensure your organization has clarity and a laser focus on the ultimate goal. 

How easily can your team answer these key questions?

1.Who are you here to serve? 

2. What problems do you need to solve? 

3. Do you know your customers well enough to feel confident you are solving the right problems? 

If your answers above suggest it is time to re-center on the customer, you are in good company and likely already have structures in place to support this change. Using agile frameworks that are naturally focused on evolving the way we approach work will provide an essential foundation to shifting to a customer-centric mindset. Placing the customer at the heart of an agile design process will yield better results, faster. 

3. You believe you are your customer.

You are not your customers. Let me repeat: you are not your customers. It’s ok if this doesn’t make sense at first. We are customers too – why wouldn’t we know best? We buy products and engage with services. We have a deep reservoir of personal experience to draw from. So, when it comes to understanding the customers we serve, we often assume our point of view alone is enough.

While we may have a situational understanding or even situational empathy for our customers, very few organizations understand how their customer’s unique feelings, needs and priorities intersect with their services or products. Failing to recognize this basic internal bias limits many companies in their ability to truly innovate in customer care.  

Summary

1. Are your customers driving your processes, or are your processes driving your customers?

2. Is your organization equipped to act proactively and provide customers the value they demand?

3. How well do you understand how your customer’s unique feelings, needs and priorities intersect with your services or products?

Knowing the signs will not only help you better understand where opportunities exist but also when it’s time to take action, and frankly, that time is now. Your customers are setting the pace, the question is how will you keep up?

Interested in taking action? Get in touch or visit the tools and resources available here.