For a ship to sail in the right direction and reach its final destination, it needs a good captain. But that’s not enough. The support and contribution from all the other crew members are essential too.
It’s a similar case with customer experience. While one single person may hold the ultimate responsibility, good customer experience is an outcome of hard work and a dedicated effort of a group of people. As customers interact with many divisions of the business through the course of their customer journey, every member of the organization has a role to play in driving customer experience up directly or indirectly. Here are some prominent players responsible for driving customer experience forward in business but in the end, the question is: “Who is in charge?”
The simple answer is – The CEO
According to a study conducted collaboratively by Genesys and The Economist Intelligence Unit, it has been found that there’s a direct relationship between customer experience, CEO engagement, and profitability. More than 50% of companies included in the study have benefitted from high profitability and growth from CEO initiatives on customer experience.
The importance of adopting a customer-centric approach to all business activities is crucial for enhanced customer experience. If this isn’t emphasized from the top-rung, the middle and lower rungs will not focus on it either. The CEO is responsible for customer experience in the sense that he/she must lead by example. The goals that are set, objectives to be met, and company policies and values implemented must be aligned towards providing customers with a better experience. Emphasizing on the role of improving customer experience and conveying its benefits to the organization can get more people on board. Inculcating a customer-friendly workplace starts from the top and is nurtured by the bottom.
The Marketing Team
Customer experience is all about creating a strong emotional rapport with the customers by providing enriching interactions. Many leading brands invest heavily in advertisement and marketing to create powerful portrayals of their products and speak to the hearts of their customers. In a customer journey, marketing bridges the gap between consideration of the product and the decision to buy the product. If they don’t pull it off, a brand has essentially lost its chance in the market.
In this regard, the managers, executives, and other team members of marketing are in charge of creating an appealing notion of their product in the minds of current and potential customers. They must speak on behalf of their brand and persuade customers to proceed to the next level. Moreover, the marketing team also bears the responsibility of identifying customers’ various expectations from the brand, their preferences, and the challenges they face in their journey with the brand. This is how an organization can improve the customer experience over time.
The Sales Team
Salespeople are the ones with whom customers directly interact during their purchasing process so they have more opportunity to create a lasting impression of the brand. Also, in order for the sales team to achieve their targets at the end of each financial year, they have to drive revenue up. Focusing on customer experience is essential here. So, it is their responsibility to ensure that customers leave happily from the store. How can they do it?
Greeting customers pleasantly, helping them pick the right product, answering their queries with clarity, listening to their complaints or issues with patience are all parts of good customer-brand interaction, and this is done by the salespeople most of the time. By ensuring that customers get an optimistic perception of the brand, you are creating a long-lasting relationship. By enhancing their experience at the store, you compel them to advocate for your product.
Almost all the stores have a shopping website in addition to their physical store to help customers purchase products from remote distances and get them delivered to their doorstep. What happens if the website doesn’t function properly? What happens if navigation through products on the website is not user-friendly? What if there’s no prompt service given by customer support online due to technical errors?
All these factors have an immense impact on customers’ interactions and perceptions of the brand, and therefore even the digital team of an organization has a major role to play in contributing to the success of customer experience. In addition, they must also work towards increasing traffic to the websites and leveraging customer interaction with the product online.
All web-based activities related to the store starting from online marketing, social media engagement, and handling the brand’s website has to be managed by the digital team to ensure smooth operation while mitigating possible errors.
Customer Experience Specialist Team
As discussed above, every department has a role to play when it comes to uplifting customer experience, but it cannot take place as silos. An approach to CX must, therefore, be comprehensive, inclusive, and integrated. Even though customer experience can be co-created with the combination of different units such as finance, human resources, public relations, marketing, operations, and production, the existence of boundaries between the units can hinder the seamlessness of CX initiatives. A separate unit that prioritizes customer experience can overcome this by acting as the intermediary between the units for effective communication and coordination. Furthermore, the CX unit can bring in approaches to the uplift customer experience through the collaboration of different teams. Focusing specifically on customer experience can help an organization identify obstacles related to customer experience effectively.
A senior member capable of handling customer experience and driving the team forward must be appointed. He/she must possess the required conceptual skills necessary to help all departments align their objectives towards customer experience.
The list of parties responsible for customer experience in an organization doesn’t end here. Every employee contributes to improving a customer’s many interactions with a brand, and their role must be recognized. Although the teams in charge of production and operations may not interact with clients face-to-face, they also bear a prominent responsibility in delivering a smooth service and a faultless product to the end customer. So, it is vital to focus on all divisions of an organization and take a holistic stance to improve customer experience and update it continuously to keep up with the changing demands of the customers.
Jaakko is an award-winning CX professional and entrepreneur at Feedbackly, founder and community professional at the biggest entrepreneurial digital community in Finland – Yrittäjä.io. He is a notorious keynote speaker from entrepreneurial stories to day to day human communications and customer experiences.