What’s your customer experience mission?
I have introduced the idea of customer experience to many people. I’m excited that it’s finally catching on! But it seems most business leaders have only a basic understanding of the phrase. When we get right down to it, they have a tough time determining what should be included in the customer experience mission.
When beginning an initiative to improve the customer experience, referring back to the brand promise is essential.
Your brand promise is a means for setting customer expectations, but is typically written from the company perspective. Some companies aim higher and try to express the values and responsibilities of the brand, but very few manage to communicate this successfully.
Consider these examples:
- 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
- Nationwide is on your side. – Nationwide
How do you want customers to experience your brand?
More importantly, how do you want them to feel? Your customer experience mission needs to answer these questions succinctly. The customer is the star of this statement. When your brand tries to steal the show, your mission statement has no meaning to your customers.
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
Why is it so important to consider your customer experience mission as your brand promise? Because without a brand promise, you are only selling a commodity. Your local convenience store probably doesn’t have a unique brand promise.
Without a customer-centric mission statement, however, you are only selling an idea (your brand promise) with no backbone to support it.
Don’t make promises you can’t keep.
Take another look at Nationwide’s promise. It’s a lovely thing to say, but what happens when Nationwide rejects your claim as a policy holder? Does it STILL feel like they are on your side? When you receive that rejection letter, it becomes clear that Nationwide is really NOT on your side. How does it feel when you see that broken promise in the letterhead?
When we challenge business school students and entrepreneurs to draft business plans, we urge them to consider the marketing angles of a brand promise. How can you summarize your essence? Your differentiator? What sets you apart from the competition?
But we seldom ask them to consider their customer experience mission. How do you want customers to FEEL after dealing with your company? What processes will you put in place to ensure their expectations are met? 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 end up being designed to drive marketing campaigns rather than appeal to customers’ real needs. If it’s truly a promise, then make it your customer experience mission.
Photo credits: medicalbillingcodings.org and kayladavis via Creative Commons license