A CEO who instinctively considers the customer as part of their decision making processes will automatically lead a company to success. Customer engagement will be the key differentiator assuming, of course, all the other components are on track. This is something I have come to believe in strongly, based on my experience working with many organisations of various sizes over the years.
It’s not always easy, however, to find empirical evidence and research to back this up - so I was delighted when I recently came across this quote:
Research by Genysis found that
“58% of companies with a high degree of profitability relative to their rivals report that, ultimately, the CEO has ownership of customer experience management”
The focus of my work with clients is around building B2B customer engagement to promote customer loyalty, and this includes the customer experience too.
The foundation for the long term growth and profitability of an organisation is the leadership and commitment of the CEO in understanding the importance of keeping the customer at the very heart of the company.
When the CEO (and the senior leadership team) are open to suggestions for innovative customer initiatives, are willing to devote the necessary resources to support these initiatives and enable employees to own their relationships with customers the company will be successful.
This doesn’t mean that the CEO should micro-manage but that they should have a focus, and keep customer relationships as a priority which helps differentiate them from the competition.
Promoting customer engagement and loyalty not only rests with the commitment and vision of the executive team but depends on five key dimension. Being effective in each dimension is what drives maturity in customer engagement.
Having the infrastructure to collect customer data, the processes to distribute that data to the appropriate people and an organisation which doesn’t work in silos are the key supports to successful customer engagement. Knowing how your company affects it’s customers, how good customer relationships are and how it performs competitively drives tangible performance.
From the research we have done in the area of Customer Engagement Maturity, not all companies perform well on all of these – you can use this tool to .
Here are my recommendations for action:
Firstly, the company needs to ensure that customer engagement is a part of it’s DNA – this is a leadership initiative and forms the foundation on which everything else is built.
Secondly, we recommend that the company looks closely at these dimensions – the infrastructure, the processes to distribute the information and the way the organisation collaborates. Here are some tools which can help you develop these.
Thirdly, take a look at the metrics which are gathered about your customers. Work out what you have – how it works and what’s missing and build a framework to work out what is needed to build an interconnected picture. Metrics such as the Net Promoter Score (NPS) and other measures of customer satisfaction, customer success and customer loyalty.
Finally, as an organisation, ask yourself these questions
- Are the metrics feeding into the relevant parts in the rest of the organisation – or just sitting within a department as a box ticking exercise?
- Are the senior managers engaged and asking questions – do they demonstrate commitment?
- Is customer satisfaction part of the company DNA?
- What other indices you could be tracking/measuring? Sales? Customers lost? Twitter? Customer service? Appointments changed? Brand strength?
- How is your customer engagement supporting and contributing to your strategic decision making
If, however, the CEO's focus is elsewhere and you cannot see any tangible commitment to drive change, you may be flogging a dead horse......in which case I can always recommend some good recruitment organisations which may be able to help you further your career in other directions before the competition overtakes your current employer!