Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Lifecycles, metrics, and presentations, oh my!

I was recently a guest lecturer for an MBA class, where I presented on using customer experience in a social enterprise. You can watch the full video here, but you can consider this the highlight reel!

Companies and customers see the customer lifecycle** differently. Most companies approach customer interactions by functional area—marketing, finance, operations, etc.—with each functional area operating as a silo. Functional areas consider the customer only during the transaction that each silo has with them. During certain stages, meeting the customer’s expectations is important to the company, but during other lifecycle stages the focus is operational, focused mostly on cost savings. This often correlates with different departments inside the firm.

All lifecycle stages featured in this post are hypothetical, though they represent
common stages customers encounter when they use a company's services. 
On the other hand, customers view these interactions as an overall experience—and what happens to a customer during a stage the company considers transactional and unimportant may determine if the customer continues to do business with you.  

Cost savings is essential in any organization, but wouldn’t it be better to save costs in areas that are not a priority to your customer, instead of saving them where the customer expects you to perform? This means you have to evaluate priorities with customer wants and needs in mind, and you can’t operate in silos. Instead, companies need to look at the entire lifecycle the same way customers do, as a whole.

So far, these are common concepts for CX practitioners. But what happens when you focus on the social impact of an organization? For social enterprises, there are two places where we often try to make a social impact:

Companies that divert part of their income to a social cause focus on the social impact made at the point of sale. Companies that use their product or service, like many targeting the BoP, try to make their impact during the use stage.

But what happens when we instead try to focus on social impact throughout the lifecycle?   For maximum social impact, social enterprises need to consider not just the customer experience, but they also must consider the beneficiary experience through the eyes of the beneficiary. The company’s model impacts how they can do this:
  1. Social enterprises that treat their customers as beneficiaries need to include the beneficiary experience in their customer experience for maximum impact and return.
  2. Social enterprises that use customer contributions to impact their beneficiaries need to develop both a customer experience and a beneficiary experience for maximum impact and return. 
This all comes down to the principle of the double bottom line.
A final part of my video focuses on metrics. Consider this graphic:

Companies often measure performance using key performance indicators (KPIs), which link to company performance. But this doesn’t track how a company performs in the eyes of its customers. What’s more, most metrics are developed by the company without conferring with customers/beneficiaries.  If the metrics are developed using an open feedback loop with important stakeholders, you can link KPIs and traditional social metrics to stakeholder impact, including customer experience, user experience, and beneficiary experience. This will allow an organization to track its overall quality of experience.

If you are interested in the concepts listed here, and you can watch the whole (42 minutes) presentation here. A little lunchtime viewing, perhaps?

**If you are rusty on the customer lifecycle, read more in my posts on customer lifecycle and journey mapping.

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