Time to sit in the bath
Brian H Meredith gets to the heart of poor customer experiences, and explains how it takes hard work and a paradigm shift from the CEO down to put things right. Irritated by SKY Television? Incorrect programme listings? Timing errors on MySky? Scheduled recordings ending before the programme does? I’m seriously considering leaving them. And 2 […]
Brian H Meredith gets to the heart of poor customer experiences, and explains how it takes hard work and a paradigm shift from the CEO down to put things right.
Irritated by SKY Television? Incorrect programme listings? Timing errors on MySky? Scheduled recordings ending before the programme does?
I’m seriously considering leaving them.
And 2 Degrees? Most things about this service and relationship don’t work as they should.
Switched to them from Vodafone, but they are worse.
And Vodafone? They were one of the best customer focused companies when they arrived in New Zealand. But now? Mmmmmmm.
And one of the health insurance companies? (Won’t name them. At least not yet). Claiming to be an amazing culture of employment but in fact couldn’t be further from the truth.
I’ve heard a lot of very bad stories from inside the organisation.
Jetstar? Not a great experience. Won’t fly with them again.
Then there is the private sector medical specialist who kept me waiting 30 minutes whilst he got himself coffee and food, and then ate and drank it whilst I was left in the waiting room.
I left without seeing him. Shall I continue?
No, don’t want to be regarded as a whinging, grumpy old bugger.
But here’s the issue.
Despite the apparent scope, complexity and sophistication that now exists in organisations of every shape, size and colour, where, apparently, they all understand the customer and the customer’s needs and wants, the customer experience in so many sectors continues to be bad.
There’s no simple, clear answer. There are a number of factors that contribute.
One is that management teams don’t seem to realise that their customers are the only place the money comes from.
Another is that CEOs are often obsessed with managing their relationships with their shareholders rather than their customers. Customers are mostly dealt with by the bottom row of the organisational structure whilst the top levels do other stuff.
It’s also a problem when marketing teams work only on the design and development of campaigns rather than realising that every behaviour in which their organisation engages has a marketing effect. Good, bad, never neutral. And it all needs understanding and managing.
A further contributor is the failure by too many businesses to realise that their most valuable and significant asset is their people. They are the ones that do everything that the business does. Technology contributes but it is a tool, not a control mechanism.
You can remove just about anything from a business and it can find a way to carry on. Remove the people and its ceases to exist. Instantly.
Marketing can often be defined as the art of arresting the human intelligence for just long enough to extract money from it. Well, it’s not. That’s mugging. Marketing is about identifying, nourishing and nurturing relationships with customers and potential customers to ensure their wants and needs are met. When that happens, then the business’s wants and needs are also met.
Also contributing to the problem is the sad reality that many ‘bean counters’ are brilliant at counting beans but not many understand where the beans come from. And how. Or why.
And there is a whole lot more that contributes to poor or bad customer experiences, whether that customer is a supermarket shopper or an airline purchasing an aircraft. The poor or bad experiences are so often the same. Or similar.
So here are some quick, easy fixes that require a total paradigm shift and a great deal of hard work and commitment but are vital if a business is to optimise its performance:
• Ensure that the CEO realises that they are the marketing leader ahead of any other role and understands that a business is a marketing organism before it is anything else.
• Ensure that the CFO understands the concept of business, the role of customers and how the beans originate.
• Ensure that the head of HR knows and understands the vital role of people and that it is the people who require their attention, their help and their support – not just the management team.
• Understand that every single member of staff is an MMD – a mini marketing director. Make them proud of that. Help them to be that. Celebrate that with them and with your customers.
Finally, spend plenty of time in a deep, hot bath, with your toe up the tap and a glass of wine or champagne in your hand, thinking about how a business, as a marketing organism, needs to be nurtured, nourished and managed in order to connect people with people on every level; and enjoy the resulting optimal performance!