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Why Large Organizations Can Struggle With Customer Experience
Bigger isn't always better: Data and personnel at big companies can often be working at cross-purposes. The solution: finding smart ways to make data actionable and people accountable.
Posted Mar 13, 2017
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Delivering a better customer experience (CX) is a top priority for companies of all sizes. With vast resources on hand, you might think that the bigger the company, the better their CX. In reality, it often turns out to be just the opposite. A big ship’s CX strategy requires monumental effort and buy-in to steer correctly, and even more work to redirect that ship if things get off course.

Many of the struggles large brands experience are inherent to their structure. Information silos and differences in culture across departments are difficult to surmount. More complex industries face massive logistical challenges that make delivering basic products and services infinitely challenging.

Regardless of behind-the-curtain difficulties, bad customer experience will negatively impact the bottom line. How do large brands tackle this challenge?

Garbage In, Garbage Out, and Vice Versa

It all starts with data. In large organizations, customer interactions generate massive amounts of data at a breakneck rate. While more can be better, volume can also paralyze or lead to myopic decision making when insights are generated in silos.  

De-siloing can’t happen all at once. A good place to start is to ask three questions: What data is available? What data is accessible? What data is actionable?  That last question is key. I’ve seen many large organization’s CX efforts stutter or fail because they spend too much time playing with data that simply is not actionable in a way that matters to the business. 

CX for CX’s sake may generate a bonus-worthy score in the short term, but in the longer term, it can’t do much else. Data must have a purpose. With everyone focusing on the overarching business objectives—the aspects that leadership cares most about—CX teams are more likely to receive the necessary resources to break through more quickly. Bringing the right data together and focusing on whether it’s actionable will ensure customer experience efforts move into the must-have column on your company’s balance sheet. 

Get Your Hands Dirty

You can’t have a firm grasp on CX without getting up close and personal with every level of the customer journey. Top leadership is often out of touch with the day-to-day customer and employee experience, yet they’re the ones making decisions that impact those experiences. There’s only one way for the top of the house to understand what it’s like to be in the trenches: embrace the undercover boss experience.

Unless the C-suite spends time on the front lines, they simply can’t get it. So, executives, get out of your corner office and spend a day visiting and talking with frontline employees at your brick-and-mortar locations. Listen into live interactions at call centers. For your braver ones, actually take a few calls from unhappy customers. Ride along with installation technicians to visit customer homes. Tag along on quarterly business reviews. Buy something online and try out your live chat. Use your store, product, or service as a customer would—and then give feedback. This will provide value and perspective you can’t get any other way.

CX Fails Unless Business Succeeds

Many CX leaders don’t connect their own KPIs to overall business goals, nor do they identify places and people in the business who can benefit from the insights they generate. CX teams must gain a deep knowledge of the company’s vision and short-term goals, and then align customer experience initiatives in support. Unless CX goals are contributing to the greater good, funding and focus for those efforts will eventually end. 

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