In this series, I’ll be talking about the 5 steps to building a differentiating customer experience strategy. The Customer Experience Strategy is a part of the Competency pillar within the Three Cs Framework I introduced in 2010 – Competency, Credibility and Culture.
The 5 steps to building a customer experience strategy.
Step 1: Understand Corporate Strategy
Step 2: Who are you as a company?
Step 3: What do your customers want?
Step 4: Redefine your mission statement
Step 5: Get CEO Buy In
After you’ve done this, start to id your holes.
Step 2: Who are you as a Company?
The second step, “Who are you as a Company” could also be entitled: “Figure out your DNA”. There are so many companies that I consult with, who as soon as I walk in the door say: “We want to be the Nordstrom of our industry.” Well, well, well, isn’t that special?? There is only one Nordstrom. And only one Disney. And only one Amazon. And only one Zappos. And they are the way they are because it is who they are as a company. It is their DNA.
I challenge teams to really think, and I mean really think about their DNA. There is a reason, in retail, why you have giant, successful companies that span the entire cost and experience spectrum! There is Target – and you know you’re willing to pay a little bit more for those basics at Target than you would at Walmart. Why? Because they offer a slightly different experience.
There’s Kohl’s and Macys and Saks and Nordstrom – all the way up to Barneys and Bergdorf. There is a room for Kmart and Walmart and Sears! They all sell clothes and towels and they have amazingly loyal customers! They also all have different products and experiences.
My point is – you have a DNA of a company. It is what you were built on. It is what you are known for. There are characteristics of that DNA that really just shouldn’t be messed with, and you need to find those characteristics, strengthen them and lead with them as a part of your Customer Experience Strategy.
There is a very large retailer who decided, a few years back, that they needed to re-characterize themselves. They weren’t a very “hip” brand. Not one that would be referred to as “forward thinking”. They decided that they needed to reinvent themselves and the customer experience they offered. They went whole hog. Changing the name, the look and feel of their stores, what products they carried. They branded themselves as hip and cool and somewhere you’d go to get new, fun brands.
Well, their DNA was pretty far from that. Their DNA was that they were reliable – had great basics. Their DNA was that they could be counted on for a great white sale several times a year. When they strayed so far away from their DNA, they alienated all of their existing customers. And their stocked tanked. Absolutely tanked. Never forget your core customer base – those drawn to you because of your DNA. Those are your most precious assets.
As you build your customer experience strategy, really study and understand your company’s DNA. It is what got them to where they are today. It is what attracted all those employees you’re going to need to help you. Ensure that your CX strategy is reflective of that DNA – enhances it even. You’ll need it in order to be successful in your journey.