I’ve been introducing the idea of customer experience a lot lately. It seems there is a basic understanding of the phrase, but when we get right down to it, the business leaders are perplexed with what, exactly, should be included in the customer experience mantra.
When introducing the idea of customer experience, it’s best to backtrack back to the brand promise.
Your brand promise = What customers can expect, typically written from the company perspective. Some aim higher and try to achieve the “essence” of the brand, but too few do this succesfully.
Nationwide is on your side. – Nationwide
The company is a leading content, commerce and technology company that provides customers easy and convenient access to books, magazines, newspapers and other content across its multi-channel distribution platform.- Barnes & Noble
Your customer experience mission = How you want your customers to experience the brand, and, perhaps more importantly, how you want them to feel. The customer is the star of this statement.
The Ritz-Carlton experience enlivens the senses, instills well-being, and fulfills even the unexpressed wishes and needs of our guests. – Ritz-Carlton, The Credo
Without a customer experience mission, however, you are selling an idea (your brand promise) with no backbone to support it.
Take a look back at the Nationwide promise. What if you are a Nationwide insurance policy holder and your claim is rejected? Does that feel like they are on your side? Well, it’s easy to figure out that customers who have had this experience feel like Nationwide is NOT on their side.
When we are challenging business school students and entrepreneurs to write business plans, we urge them to consider the marketing angles of a brand promise. How can you summarize your essence? What makes you special?
But, too rarely, we ask them to consider what their customer experience mission is. How should your customers FEEL after dealing with your company? What processes will you put in place to ensure this happens? How can you reinforce this experience at every step along the way?
Why don’t we do this? Brand promises are important, but too often they only go as far as driving the latest marketing campaigns. If it’s truly a promise, then push it to become a customer experience mission.
What do you think? What brand promises are destined to let you down in the experience?
Does your mission statement reflect the experience you have promised for your customers?
We have made a special checklist to help you reinforce your customer-centric vision, from the ground up. Gather your team and deconstruct your brand promise, then sleep on it. The best mission statements are not conceived during a 45-minute power session!