Have you experienced a situation where you have used a solid product, but a lack of focus on the end to end customer experience and continuous product investment made using it painful for the consumers? This is an all-too-frequent scenario that makes it extremely difficult for organizations to build long-term customer loyalty, and highlights the importance of organizational alignment around the OVERALL experience provided to customers as an indicator of success.
As a senior product and CX leader responsible for delivering an industry leading SaaS product offerings to Banking & Financial services clients, I find it important to focus on continually investing in products so customers see ongoing and incremental business value. It is equally important that I directly influence the cross-team engagement and overall customer experience related to the consumption of our products by customers across all interaction channels. This includes product enhancements, software releases, and day-to-day customer engagement through support, development, project and relationship management teams.
In my experience, I have found a couple of simple guiding principles that work their way into almost every meeting or conversation that I have with organizations:
Know your client’s business – I mean REALLY know it
Every improvement or investment related to the customer experience must be done with a clear vision of how it is going to improve the business.
- When a client asks for something, ensure that you truly understand the business drivers and expected outcomes, and why it adds value
- How does any change positively impact the overall service that clients provide to their end customers?
- How can operational efficiency be improved through automation, STP, API integration?
- How do we align our pricing model to the client’s revenue model?
- What are the downstream systems and integration points to consider?
- What service levels are business-critical and why? What is the business impact if there is an issue?
- Can data be used to understand how clients use our platforms, and what corresponding KPIs would help us drive positive change?
Interact with clients often – and SHOW you are listening
To understand and better visualize the processes that clients go through when using our products and services, we need to understand the user personas and their journey. They need to be valued and have a voice, preferably multiple voices, across different user groups that have unique interests, with clear success criteria and expected outcomes defined.
- Host client forums/ advisory boards – understand strategic direction, align roadmaps, maximize investment in areas that drive their business outcomes, and ensure they see real benefit.
- Participate in the broader industry – identify long-term trends, challenges, innovation opportunities, and regulatory/ compliance needs. Build relationships and be a thought leader.
- Use partners to develop complete solutions – clients need to accelerate business outcomes, leverage partners to address customer business challenges, end-to-end.
- Who are the client-side change sponsors? why are they requesting a change? and what does success mean to them?
- Which interaction channels are most valued? – focus on reducing friction in these first.
- Be transparent inside and out – measure support quality, customer satisfaction, project delivery, SLAs and KPIs, and share them with clients and your organization to drive client-centricity at all levels
- Align the delivery organization to CX using KPIs – every project, service, release needs to be examined in the context of the real CX and adapt your processes to changing client needs.
The end game here is simple – consumers of products and services that have a positive customer AND product experience will be loyal, drive more business, refer you to others, and build your brand reputation. Therefore, success depends on being committed to the overall experience at an organizational level. This means executive focus, allocation of time & resources, training staff, developing client focused metrics, leveraging data, and continuous investment.
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