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People think of personalization in many ways. Some, very simplistically: a first name on an email. Others, view it as much more: providing personalized experiences based on a holistic view of the customer. As companies continue to gather more data across more touchpoints, customers’ expectations are rising. They expect relevant, real-time, right-time, individualized communications. In order to deliver on these expectations, companies must begin by thinking strategically about their organizational structure as it relates to loyalty.
If you are tying loyalty to experience and true personalization at each touch point, the entire organization needs to embrace this type of loyalty.
First, you need to develop a customer centric organization by bringing the discussion of the customer forward. Many organizations focus internally especially when times get tough. The leadership team tend to think about financials and sales numbers without really thinking about the customer, their wants needs and whether the organization is truly delivering on the original customer promise. Getting back to the customer focus is the first step. You’ll know you’re there when the customer is included in major decision making
Next, make sure that the concept of customer experience and customer growth are core to the organizations goals and objectives. Now that you have the customer in the board room, you need to identify the various customer touch points combining those touch points with a discussion of the “right” customer experience. This essentially is your customer-centric brand message.
Once this is identified, the organization needs to begin to create customer centric (or personalized) interactions at each touch point. Typically, this starts in one of two areas – operations (think customer service) or marketing (think branding, CRM and loyalty). Or perhaps it’s happening in both areas. If so, is the messaging consistent to the brand and the customers journey? Today we’re seeing a trend toward the convergence of these groups aligning for one consistent experience and personal customer journey. To make this work, these teams need to align and have common goals and objectives. We’re seeing Chief Customer Officers and Chief Marketing Officers lead these charges reporting into the CEO for common support and inclusion of other organizational areas such as finance and legal. Once you have the alignment at the top, other areas who need to be customer centric - those who own and deliver the message and commitment – need to be aligned: marketing, analytics, customer services, operations (store or hotel operations as an example), training, finance. This works best with the c-level commitment. Typically marketing/branding leads the charge and then a matrix of the organization supports the customer centricity under the CCO.
An experiential effort needs hardcore experience and knowledge in Analytics, Training & Development of staff (Program Operations), customer service and marketing communications.
We also recommended a mid-level hire (or two) for Member Experiences focused of the role being on event management and elite relationship management.
To create a customer-centric organization, involving key stakeholders from each of these areas from the beginning, for planning and launch, and day-to-day ongoing support, is crucial. Long-term program success is not a “one and done” operation or program plan and launch. It’s an ongoing, ever-evolving initiative that will get better with time, with the appropriate plan, dedication, discipline, and support.