Customer experience and the business case
Article

Customer experience and the business case

Take aways
  • Customer lifecycle, not surveys, gives you more insights on customer experience.
  • A better customer experience should improve, not hinder, the performance of other departments.
  • Staff and internal systems should be adaptive to evolving customer relationship.

It is always tricky to make a convincing business case for improving customer experience. Firstly, you should thoroughly understand the customer lifecycle and the experience in key stages. Secondly, you should ensure high staff engagement. Thirdly, you should make sure the proposed experience improvement also enhances, not hinders, the performance of other departments. Finally, internal processes and systems should be agile enough to adapt to the evolving customer relationship.

Customer-centric targets are often not the primary metrics in measuring business performance. Business cases are reviewed based on criteria that seldom include customer metrics or goals. It is the missing link between customer experience and business performance that makes the former a tough sell.

Surveys don’t tell you much

Surveys, questionnaires and polls are subjected to various biases, and at best offer a fragmented view of your customers and the context of their experience. However, customers are experiencing an organisation as a whole. Therefore, these tools are particularly unhelpful when customers are engaged with multiple interactions and subjected to outside influences. The best alternative is to find out how positive or negative the customer experience is at different key stages of the customer lifecycle.

Delays and unnecessary queueing can carry economic cost (non productive time), while at the same time create business opportunities by offering faster service than the competition, or premium level services.

Improve staff experience

Staff have tremendous influence on customer experience. It is important to understand how to improve staff experience and to identify drivers that change their behaviour. Changing behaviour usually requires a combination of operational efficiency improvement, training and higher staff engagement.

Companies that prioritize the customer experience generate 60% higher profits than their competitors.

Determine the overall business impact

Making a business case for improving customer experience requires insights on how this improves the overall business performance. Improved experience during transactions, however, does not automatically lead to more businesses, unless the improvement in one area, say better customer onboarding, enhances the performance in another area, say fewer customer incidents. Without this inter-departmental linkage, an improvement in one area may risk hindering the performance in another area.It is important to identify the departments and internal roles that may be affected by the change, as well as the level of impact. It helps you identify key challenges and internal barriers that may stand in the way, and be more ready to move the entire organisation forward.

A customer is 4 times more likely to switch to a competitor due to service-related problems, compared with problems related to pricing or product.

Implied internal changes

Focusing on what affects customer experience helps you define and design the changes necessary for internal systems and processes. But keep in mind that the linkage between customer experience and internal systems is always evolving, as customer relationship and modes of interaction evolve.

Fantastic business outcomes

A strong business case that takes account of a great customer experience more likely leads to fantastic business outcomes. Customer experience is strongly influenced by staff engagement. The improvement of the latter, therefore, has a disproportionate impact on the overall business, and supports necessary changes of internal systems.