Growth Insights for CEOs

Road Map the Customer Experience to Align Sales and Operations

Posted by Dennis Bailen



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So often these days, blogs, posts and articles are written about aligning Sales and Marketing. I agree that doing so is critical.  But there is another alignment need that is often overlooked and equally critical to company growth and customer satisfaction.  The question is are we selling what we are delivering in terms of the customer experience?

Years ago, when I was in the ad agency business (VP Client Services, Arnold Communications, Boston), my responsibilities included business development.

I was pretty good at it and I would often hear something along the lines of, " I like you, Dennis and I am interested in doing business together, how do we get started?" I learned very quickly that it would be good to have a ready answer to that question.

Many years later while consulting for a custom home builder who wanted to grow his business, I ran across a very common situation that a great many businesses face regardless of industry.  Think about your own business and the industry in which you compete.  

Several questions:

1) Do you offer unique customized solutions to each of your clients to fit their specific need?

2) Do you have a "discovery" process that you employ to help you determine the solution you will provide?

3) Do you have a process through which you will manage both the care of your customer and the progress of their project or assignment?

4) While the solutions are one off and totally unique to each customer, are the processes replicable? 

In several industries I have found that the creation of a Customer Care Guidebook, which codifies, packages and brands the customer care and project or relationship management process provides an incredible point of differentiation, a wonderful selling tool and a guide manual for operations.  At the heart of it all is the customer experience that sales can now not only tell but show and that operations can deliver.

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A study conducted by Bain and Company shed a lot of light on the gap related to customer experience from the company and the customer's point of view. Their study indicated that 80% of companies thought they were delivering an excellent customer experience while customers say that only 8% of companies provide an excellent experience. There are several issues at play here:

  • Sales is creating an experience expectation that the company is not delivering
  • The company has not mapped out the customer journey and focused on touch points to make the most of the customers experience. 

In his blog, What is a Customer Journey Map, Tim Frick states, "By identifying potential weaknesses in your service or interactions where your customers are particularly frustrated or angry, you can then chart a clearer path toward improvement over time. This should then of course lead to happier customers." 

Mapping the customer experience and your company's approach to providing customer care and process management allows your sales team to sell confidence and comfort to prospects who can now see how their needs will be met as well as provides an operational guideline for your organization to consistently deliver a predictable and replicable experience. 

Gathering Customer Feedback Is Not Hard

 

Topics: Alignment, Customer Satisfaction, Customer Feedback, Customer Value Alignment, customer service

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