How to Implement a Successful Customer Experience Program

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Step 5: Select a Pilot

A full rollout will take a long time and require the CEO's "act of faith" to continue for that time period. It is best to find some "low-hanging fruit" and implement a pilot project. This can be done more quickly, allowing results to be shown. It also does not over stretch the CEP team by creating higher risk.

Selection of the pilot is fundamental. It should be an area that is regarded as most important and one that is less complex than others.

Most companies tackle a particular product dimension; however, this can be suboptimal since there are so many "fixes" that are more generic. It may be easier and more effective to tackle a touch point (e.g., customer service) across a variety of products that also avoids the NIH syndrome. Ideally, this matches the overall strategic positioning (e.g., highest quality, best customer service).

Coupled with the project itself are its goals. These should be established with metrics so that both the program cost and the results from the successful implementation can be easily measured and presented.

People's attention spans these days are short, so target the pilot to be completed within three months.

Implementing a customer experience program (CEP) is not a simple matter. The value comes from extending the current customer satisfaction program into one in which customer centricity is built into the culture and strategies of the company, and using the output of experience measurement to take actions. There are many pitfalls and not the least is attempting to move too rapidly to a complete solution. Sound implementation and the ability to harness all the opportunity of "getting it right" requires a measured approach with interim checkpoints to achieve the benefits that we are hoping for. It requires a roadmap.

According to Harry Bunn, president and CEO of RONIN Corporation, there is also a lot of up-front work to design the most relevant framework and this is why a roadmap needs to be developed (and followed) for a phased implementation, with each step reinforcing the concept and building support. Even before step 1, the CEO must have embraced the concept fully. If not, do not bother attempting a full-blown CEP but continue to use your existing, lower-impact customer satisfaction program.

Harry Bunn is the president and CEO of RONIN Corporation, a marketing consulting and research firm focusing on business-to-business companies, in particular in the technology sector. He has consulted with many of the largest companies including IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, Dell, VMware, EMC, Samsung, AT&T, Verizon, BT, Telefonica, Honeywell, Motorola, Accenture, Nokia, Siemens, Fujitsu and Xerox.


Related Topics : Business Structure, CRM Solutions, Enterprise Software, ROI, SugarCRM

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