Great customer experiences happen by design

Customer-centric organizations spend proportionally more time designing processes and proportionally less time getting better at appeasing unhappy customers. They devote their attention to eliminating what makes customers unhappy in the first place. Of course, glitches will still happen, and the processes you use to resolve those issues are essential. Effective complaint resolution will always be part of your CX portfolio. But that shouldn’t be the main focus.

The challenge? Without deliberate intervention, departments don’t naturally work across functional lines. The marketing team focuses on messaging and response rates. The product management team is occupied with product design and development. Billing concentrates on revenue and collections, and the contact center on meeting service levels and creating positive customer interactions. Each team fixates on being the best they can be within the boundaries of their department.

Cross-functional collaboration

This includes areas whose managers may not fully grasp the overall impact on customer experience. The legal department requires necessary “legalese” in customer documents. The compliance area demands stringent verification to protect customers and the organization. Every department can agree that designing processes and technology with the customer in mind makes sense. Even so, being customer-focused within a silo doesn’t fix the most exasperating barriers to good experiences.

…being customer-focused within a silo doesn’t fix the most exasperating barriers to good experiences.

Great experiences happen by design through cross-department collaboration. They are shaped with a clear-eyed view of the customer as they traverse through the work done by marketing, product management, billing, and the contact center. That work must be coordinated and seamless for the trip to feel effortless, satisfying, and yes, sometimes even WOW. And to create that collaboration, your organization must have high-level sponsorship. Senior leaders must define a common vision and goals, and hold all accountable to pursue them.

Excerpt from Leading the Customer Experience: How to Chart a Course and Deliver Outstanding Results by Brad Cleveland.