As we continue to soak in the new way of existing and working there’s no way you can possibly think about going back to “how things were.” We can only think about where our customers will take us. To keep our businesses going and to ensure customers that we will continue to provide them with great products and services, we are now willing to go to extreme lengths to meet our customers wherever they are. But it bears asking:
- Why were we not always going to these great lengths to meet our customers before?
- And, how can we make sure we are always going to such lengths going forward in a way that’s sustainable and provides great value?
In Kibo’s ebook, Using Customer Experience Innovation To Rebuild Performance At Scale, we talk about how customer experience (CX) can be a strong guiding light to great performance. However, providing great experiences will only take your organization so far before its inner operations are compelled to catch up. To focus on thriving and not just surviving in these trying times, we have to focus on operational effectiveness using initiatives that treat our digital future as the center point of selling and connecting with customers.
Effectively, there are three main ecommerce operational initiatives you can adopt to drive growth and efficiency:
- Think about operational processes and work structures and ultimately how they serve customer needs.
- Take a capability-driven approach to operational processes based on the needs of the customer.
- Incentivize all teams to take a customer-first approach.
Knowing that we have changed the way we do things to better serve our customers and help keep our businesses thriving in recent months, we have to look within our own organizations to see how this change can inspire continued further growth and innovation. We provide more detail on each of the three initiatives below.
Ecommerce Initiative No. 1: Think about operational processes and work structures and ultimately how they serve customer needs.
- Make sure processes always tie back to adding value to the customer
- Regularly review and evaluate all digital touchpoints
- Ensure that any customer interaction is done with full knowledge of how the customer has engaged with the brand
When we think about the teams we work with — sales, marketing, service, customer experience, or IT — we often just focus on the task at hand, or our own role’s parameters, and fail to see how each team and team member connects to the overall brand and CX. When it comes to touchpoints, customer perceptions become more important as less human interaction occurs. As a result, each interaction and touchpoint matters now more than ever.
In order to make the most of those moments, each team needs to be held responsible for how their actions and engagement ultimately affect customer relationships. Internal processes must all tie back to how they help improve the customer experience or other another KPI. Your teams must work together to prioritize the customer experience first to then create and modify processes that optimize the touchpoints that make up the CX. Focusing on the customer journey will allow teams to align more closely with the organizational goals and vision of the company.
Ecommerce Initiative No. 2: Take a capability-driven approach to operational processes based on the needs of the customer.
- Roadmap all capabilities teams currently possess as well as any they’re working toward
- Map those capabilities to how they will affect customer experiences and the customer journey
- Focus on capabilities which add value to the customer first
Once we recognize that there are areas where our teams can grow and innovate, thinking about those areas using a capability-driven approach can help to organize projects in terms of their effectiveness. All internal projects then become focused on making experiences better for the customer. However, without knowing the gamut of capabilities that your team or your organization is trying to fulfill, the overall vision can get lost along the way. While it involves spending lots of time in the details and nuances of a project, the capability-driven approach will keep the strategic direction of your projects aligned and provide insights into what comes next for the organization.
Ecommerce Initiative No. 3: Incentivize all teams to take a customer-first approach.
- Drive all teams to enable customers to use digital channels
- Encourage customers to use digital channels first
- Prioritize offline capabilities as secondary to digital channels
As individual teams strive to cross off everyday to-dos, each function needs to deliver against not only its own unit’s metrics but against consumer-centric metrics as well. Therefore, an aspect of customer satisfaction has to be added into each team’s goal set to best serve customers.
When building out internal goals, organizations are better off starting with customer problems first as this will then help focus all projects and initiatives toward those that will keep organizations thriving when resolved. Often it’s difficult to do that when team goals are not directly tied to the best interest of the customer or organization. While it may not seem to be in an individual team’s best interest at first, relentless focus on customer needs will help all teams ultimately triumph in the long run.
Written by Malay Sapra, Digital Experience Consultant, Kibo Commerce