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"An insightful and refreshing look at the way consumers and retailers interact in this modern age.”

Sir Stuart Rose,
Chairman of Marks & Spencer plc

All royalties to The Princes' Trust

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Can the whole organisation really get inside your customer’s head?

It was whilst standing on my hind legs presenting to a room full of bankers in Kuala Lumpur on the subject of Customer Experience Excellence that something which I had talked about many times suddenly acquired a new significance. A full blown Eureka moment. So profound, that it made me stay up half the night and rewrite the next day of the four day masterclass that I was presenting.

 

You see, we all talk about customer journey mapping but how many of us have actually done it? No I don’t mean sitting listening to a boring presentation about the subject whilst fiddling with my mobile phone or making a half arsed attempt at it with no commitment – I mean really done it like we meant it?

 

I’ve always said that the key to getting any customer oriented change programme though an organisation is to get the business leaders to walk a mile in the customer’s shoes. Cliched? Yes but no longer enough. The challenge now is to get everyone inside your organisation to see themselves from the customer’s perspective and to understand how it makes them feel to interact with you.

 

What better way than customer journey mapping?

 

First you need to break the link between your own business and yourself – think about a journey where you are, exclusively, a customer. What about buying a take-out coffee from your favourite coffee shop?

 

Close your eyes and step through the journey, list everything that happens from the moment that you decide to buy until you step out of the store with your purchase scalding your fingers (mental note – they need better insulating sleeves on the cups!). How does each event make you feel? Is it a perfect experience? How could it be improved?

 

Now, consider the challenge of delivering the very best coffee buying customer experience you can across five hundred stores every day. For the sake of argument let’s say that there are three staff in every store and on average each store sells 250 cups a day – that’s 125,000 individual customer experiences delivered through 1500 employees in 500 locations – how are you going to guarantee that every customer gets the very best experience that you at head office who own the brand want them to receive? How will you design out the potential frustration and poor customer service from each of those interactions with your brand and your staff? How can digital channels help?

 

If 80% of us are going to be glued to a smartphone within five years this must be a major opportunity to bring digital and face to face closer together for a more consistent, satisfying result.

 

Now walk the store. Go and buy a coffee from three competing outlets and see how it works in practice.  

 

And now you are ready.

 

It’s only when you have got your people to stop thinking like vendors and truly moved them into the customer’s headspace that you can start their journey towards customer centricity.

 

That’s what we did with the senior management of four major banks represented in APAC and they loved it, they got it. It allowed them to break out of all of the issues around risk and compliance and argue with each other about how to deliver consistently great customer experiences.