A new guide for CEOs published by McKinsey and Co. says those willing to become customer-experience gurus can have happier employees, while potentially achieving revenue gains of 5%-10% and cost reductions of 15%-25% within two or three years.
“But it takes patience and guts to train an organization to see the world through the customer’s eyes,” the management consultancy warns. “The management task begins with considering the customer—not the organization—at the center of the exercise.”
What customers want
McKinsey says empowering technology means customers expect to get a response to their questions within five minutes, regularly use price comparison apps and place immense trust in online reviews.
“Increasingly, customers expect from all players the same kind of immediacy, personalization and convenience they receive from leading practitioners such as Google and Amazon,” it says.
It recommends that CEOs make sure the customer enjoys a smooth end-to-end journey. Exceling at one or two things, such as billing or troubleshooting, might not be enough if the customer receives his or her package a day late in the mail, for example.
To be sure, customers buying different products and services can place more value on some business functions than others. To figure out which, CEOs now have new analytical tools and big data sources at their disposal.
In one case study at an airport, a business leader was surprised to discover that customer satisfaction had more to do with the behavior of security personnel than with time spent waiting in line.
CEOs can also consider applying behavioral psychology techniques, such as merging different stages of interaction to shorten their perceived duration or offering simple choices to make customers feel more in control.
To bring it all together, leaders must create a customer-focused management structure. This could include devising the best methods to accurately measure customer feedback, applying clear customer satisfaction targets and employing a senior sponsor such as a Chief Customer Officer.
CEOs that don’t could find their company getting left behind.