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A positive equation | Maximize the experience and grow your business

Posted: Jan 19, 2021
Read time: 5 minutes
#Business transformation
Bottom Curve

CX – where science meets faith

CX is almost like a religion (but based on math). It requires strong belief to put your trust in the equation that says that Customer Experience and Employee Experience will drive positive financial results as an outcome.

Many CEOs prefer to focus their efforts on improving the bottom line numbers, to figure out “how to do more with less”, with an operational view on the business. In reality, companies that focus solely on that aspect and do not invest enough energy on the experience they provide to customers and employees will find themselves at some point surprised by the competition or at risk of losing their unique value proposition.

It has been proven by research that strong brands outperform the market and that customer satisfaction leads to better financial performance (see chart below).

Source: BrandZ Powerful Brand Portfolio https://www.brandz.com/

In my opinion the only way to survive business wise, with long-term ambitions, is to connect your drive for growth and profitability with a focus on improving the experience of those who run your business (employees and partners) IN ADDITION TO those who consume your products/services (customers).

2021 realities build on the theories of 2020

Back in January 2020 I stood on the stage in a conference at Prague and said that we are living in non-linear times and that our ability to foresee the future is limited due to the fact that we cannot rely on past patterns anymore. I pointed out that the only way to confront it is to live in constant agility and to keep on running. But running is not enough, you need to run in the right direction. Who knows better than your customers what your next destination is? So, the conclusion was that we need to learn to listen to our customers.

Little did I know that something else was happening in parallel to my speech, that would put even more weight behind my words.

I think that the concept of 2020 has become even more evident in 2021, the world has gone more radical and the behavioral parents of customers have shifted, except for one basic element. Regardless of the good/service/treatment we consume, we are always looking to have a positive experience.

The changing hats of roles and behavior

Let me illustrate this through the metaphor of hats. We are changing “hats” on a daily basis, one person can play the role of an employee, patient, passenger, consumer, partner, parent, student, etc. In every role there is an expected behavior from us, as well as from the environment that surrounds us.

The one common thing that surfaces, no matter the hat we are currently wearing, is our will to turn the experience into something positive.

Managing expectations on both sides of the satisfaction equation

Let’s take two scenarios as an example.

1st scenario: you are going to get vaccinated; people tell you it is going to hurt. You are doing the vaccination and it hurts just a little bit. Bottom line: you are happy.

2nd scenario: you are going to see a movie, which everybody says is hilarious, you are watching the movie and laugh just a little bit. Bottom line: you are disappointed.

How come that on the 1st scenario it hurt, but you are satisfied; and on the 2nd scenario you laughed but ended up being disappointed?

The answer lays in the setup of expectations we have from the organization/person we are interacting with.

Expectations are the key factor behind the reaction that generates a sentiment of satisfaction (whether good, bad or indifferent). The setting of expectations comes from two sources:

1) the expectations created by the environment and/or our past experience (market standards). In our example, past movies that we watched or vaccinations that took place.

2) the messages the organization communicates to us (brand promise). In our example the information provided about the vaccine or the advertisement of the movie.

The combination of both trends sets our level of expectations prior to consuming the product, service, treatment and so on.

Making the connection with the Customer Journey

So, what does it mean for a business?

Every organization that is serving people has a journey that allows its consumers to interact with them. It doesn’t matter if it’s an organization that serves customers, citizens or patients, they all provide a journey with a purpose.

To maximize the experience across the journey, organizations need to strategically look at the complete value chain. They should be able to communicate a clear brand promise that is based on the understanding of the market landscape (allowing them to meet at least the minimum expectations), as well as highlight the uniqueness of the value proposition.

On the operational side, it is about having a process that collects real-time data, analyzes it and surfaces the insights to CX Managers to support decision-making on journey changes that will improve customer experience. That in return will drive an increase in satisfaction and as an outcome an impact on the financial performance of the company, for example by: gaining higher deal conversion rates, better customer references, stronger brand reputation and even a facilitation in attracting talents who will be more keen to work for your company.

A growth mindset is required to achieving positive results

What is clear is that all the value chain needs to meet the right level of expectations, but the key is not to degrade the well performing areas to be in line with the weak point areas, but to challenge yourself to exceed your performance. I see this subtle approach too often in business, lowering of performance expectations in line with poor practice just in order to stay on the safe side.

Trying to maintain the existing and solely focusing on the bottom line of numbers is a spiral that is eventually bound to go down and could only be useful as a short-term strategy to overcome difficult times.

The long-term strategy needs to be a constant growth mindset, a burning desire to work and an obsession for your customer needs (in a positive way of course) that is a necessity more than ever before.

Maximize the Experience – a beautiful equation of balance

Companies are focused on maximizing revenue, but if we take a closer look, below the hood lays the real source of revenue generation.

If you focus your efforts on maximizing the experience of your customers and employees, it will eventually result in better financial performance.

You just need to believe in it.

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