Have you heard that we are in the age of the customer?
There is no way you can define the purpose of your business and successfully achieve it, if you do not have an in-depth appreciation of the customer.
Therefore, if the purpose of your business is to only make money, then you need to go back to the drawing board to redefine your Vision. It is not money but, the Customers that are the life-line of your business.
So, in this maiden piece, I would be sharing with you the importance of reviewing your service vision so that you can begin to take steps to position your business to create ‘the customer experience’.
The first thing to get you to review the purpose of your business and your service vision, is to understand that we are in the age of the customer.
Times have changed and so have ways of doing things. This indicates that the ways of thinking and seeing things have also changed. So, let’s go way back in time. Some history is always good to give us another perspective on things.
In the illustration above, you can see that even though the end was the customer, the focus during those years were different.
The Age of Manufacturing was focused on inventions and bringing them to life. The customer was not the focus, product development was the focus.
Then we had the Age of Distribution, focused on the logistics of getting the products to the end users (customers), it didn’t really matter what we the customers received, we were just glad we did. I would also like to assume that even then, customers didn’t really know what they wanted either.
Then came the Age of Information, the likes of Google became our very best friend for knowledge. Amazon made shopping easy from the comfort of our homes, or on the go and we had our orders delivered direct to us without hassles. This opened the customers’ mind to possibilities.
Now here we are in the Age of the Customer. Manufacturing, Distribution, and Information have almost been perfected. It is all about the customer. The experience of the customers, when they come in contact with your business via any channel is what needs to be carefully designed, planned and executed to near perfection. Call it design thinking if you wish. And with the disruption of technology and social media, organizations have to protect their brand because customers have been empowered, the Voice of the Customer (VOC) cannot be ignored. They own their decision to chose what to buy and who to buy from. Businesses that design their products and services around the customer are those that are in business to win, to stay relevant.
Involve customers in your process, if you want to deliver the experience that will assure repeat business and referrals.
In that light, you need to know that customer experience is an art and a science.
So, let me answer the million dollar question – what is the purpose of your business?
Building loyalty in your customer and customer advocacy, is a strategic purpose driven art. It is deliberately leveraging on technology, process and people to turn your goals into a reality.
First you must be able to envision what you want for your customer. What kind of experience do you want them to have?
Then write your vision down. Write it all down. There is a something about writing down your vision and seeing it every day. It puts the fire in you and makes you run to achieve.
Then do an honest 360 degrees assessment of your business ‘as is’. Include a SWOT Analysis.
What are your Strengths & Weaknesses, looking around you what are the Opportunities and the Threats?
Then look at the 3 elements that drive success in the Customer Journey – Do you need to reengineer yourPROCESSES? Are the current TECHNOLOGY solutions in use in your business obsolete or relevant in this intensely competitive era? Do you need to embrace new solutions? Then take a look at your PEOPLE. Even if you have Process and Technology right but, you have People wrong, you are still not strategically positioned because it is people who drive Process and Technology. So, carry out a skill / talent assessment of your people. Some may be the wrong fit for your organization that is making a change to take its market share. What about development? Do you develop your people with relevant trainings, exposure and empowerment?
Finally look at the look and feel of your business on all channels – Website, Social Media, Contact Centre, and Physical Locations – what is the ambience of your shops or offices? What about your social media presence? And the design of your website. It is all about packaging.
There is so much to really think about, to get you on the path to designing the winning strategy. Do bear in mind that you need to rely on expert judgment to get you there.
But it all starts with you – the business owner. Are you ready to revolutionize your #serviceculture?
What is your service vision? Let’s continue this conversation with you sharing.
I will be giving a free one hour consultation to each of the first 3 business owners who are able to share what they observe to be the customer service culture in their business.
We need to make service a lifestyle and we will start with putting #serviceinyourveins
Ivy Ikpeme-Mbakwem is Customer Service Certified (CSC) Certificate from the International Customer Service Association (ICSA) & Rockhurst University Continuing Education Centre (Kansas, USA) and holds a BSC in Business Management from the University of Calabar. Ivy is also a Member of the John Maxwell Team as a Leadership Coach, Teacher & Keynote Speaker (In Training). Her work experience spans over a period of 17 years with organizations such as Nigerian LNG, Econet (now Airtel), Intercontinental Bank (now Access Bank), Bank PHB (now Keystone Bank), Mobitel Limited, Panaftel Limited and presently The United Bank for Africa.Ivy has also consulted privately for organizations in need of customer service strategy development, contact centre implementation and training of their employees.