Become a Retail Customer Enabled Organisation (CEO).
As always these are simple things to say and much harder to achieve.
When it comes to reducing cost, how do you do that at pace, without affecting the objectives of retaining customers? So many blunt cost cutting initiatives have the unintended effect of causing organisations to fail to meet their customers’ core needs.
Are you satisfying the needs of your customers to a remarkable degree?
- Simply asking customers about their needs isn’t enough
- Look beyond the headline metrics and simple surveys that your company may overly rely on to determine your performance
- There are often largely neglected and underused sources of customer feedback that contain valuable and actionable information
- Retail Leaders need to fully digest the millions of words shared by customers and explore the patterns present to respond to (and importantly) anticipate their needs and wants
There are powerful ways of finding out, with absolute clarity, about your customers’ needs and wants, how well your teams are delivering them, and how they need to continue (or improve): ·
- It’s about feedback informed by emotion
- Capture knowledge about what Basic Customer Needs are and highlight those Customer Needs that will have the largest impact for an organisation
- Understand the real experience behind the mass of data and %s – what is (or would) drive satisfaction with the experience?
- How can front-line teams deliver the basics that customers need?
- Fully digest the millions of words routinely shared by customers and turn this largely neglected and underused source of data into valuable and actionable information
- Understand what drives success and importantly where specifically to focus your resources to enable and grow your business
- Gain valuable insight to enable better decisions about strategic direction
But you also need to change the underlying premise under which you are operating. The days of customer centricity are gone. Retail Leaders need to think about delivering a better customer experience through a ‘Customer Enabled’ organisation.
What is a Customer Enabled Organisation?
A Customer Enabled (CEO) organisation is an organisation that actively seeks permission from its customers to engage in a value exchange, where both parties feel that the experience was positive.
Why a ‘Value Exchange’?
Why move from CX to CEO?
- It costs too much
- It takes too long - ROI is often outside the term of the current management team
- It disrupts BAU, making the customer experience worse, certainly in the short-term
CEO on the other hand assumes that the organisation basically works from the customer’s perspective and identifies areas of incremental improvements that enable the customer to keep choosing that retailer. In other words, they meet the customers’ needs and go further to create positive memorable experiences. This has the benefit of:
- Building on, not tearing down, the current operating model (lower cost)
- Being able to be delivered quickly, so the current management team can see the results
- Incrementally improving BAU, rather than disrupting it. The customers only see continued improvement in their experience.
Examples of CX and CEO
However, there are many examples of delivering both reduced operating costs and improved customer engagement through implementing changes based on what customers need or want from an organisation. Such as a major retail chain increasing revenues by 5% in stores where they implemented a customer need based training programme for front line staff; a travel company saving significant operating costs by taking out 80 seconds of script on all in-bound calls that added no value to the customer; and a financial services company that added an average 10 seconds per call through introducing an empathetic approach, that significantly improved engagement levels (and satisfaction scores).
So how do you move from CX to CEO?
This is a very simple concept: just discover what each value exchange needs, then deliver just a few Wants that go above and beyond the basic Needs. This is the simple path to becoming a Customer Enabled Organisation. Know about the handful of important things that make a difference to your customers and the organisation’s ‘value exchange’. If you don’t already do them well, take small incremental steps to improve. Iterate, test and then listen to feedback, internally and externally. Define the benefits within your set accounting periods so that organisations can really see and measure the benefit of CEO.0
Some may say “well that’s the same as being customer-centric and putting the customer at the centre of your organisation”. However, as I was reminded by a colleague the other day, the customer really does not care about being at the centre of your organisation. They are in fact at the centre of their own universe and today have the power and tools to enable whichever organisation they choose.
So rather than restarting and transform the whole business, Customer Enabled Organisations (CEOs) focus on incrementally meeting more Needs and just a few Wants. This has the advantage of being easier to do, by identifying failed Needs as well as new Wants. These might require an adjustment to process, training, information or the products and services that a business delivers, but rarely involves wholesale transformation. If done correctly, it is also possible to identify new needs that, if met early, will ensure you continue to be the first choice for your customer in an often-crowded market.
This subtle but important change to the way we think about delivering value exchange for us and our customers results in a practical, implementable and cost-effective approach to becoming a Customer Enabled Organisation (CEO).
What do you do next?
Elvin Turner's recent article outlines his view (from research) that organisations are very frustrated with their results, i.e., 94% of leaders are unsatisfied with their results. He also outlines that executives resist radical change because it is risky, and tend to "date" it (casual, not too serious, etc.). Finally, he talks about how successful organisations strike a balance between radical and incremental change/innovation, and then goes on to talk about three key issues that if overcome, would ensure success: "I'm too busy to innovate", "overcoming risk aversion" and "evolving a certainty-driven culture".
Why am I telling you this?
From a customer enablement perspective that means figure out what your customers want (even small needs) and use that as the foundation to discover the future, one step at a time. In time, the breadth of understanding you will have of your customers’ needs will provide insight into emerging needs and, perhaps, unique offers for the future that competitors don't/won't offer.
The same three strategies in Elvin's article (experiment, lower the stakes, and build a certainty-driven culture) fit perfectly with what we advise our clients.
My recommendation is to stop trying (and failing) to be a customer centric organisation, with all the attendant disruption, cost and failed customer promises. Instead take the lead and become a Customer Enabled Organisation (CEO).
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What is unique or different about this programme?
The Summer School will provide an unrivalled deep dive into the four megatrends of People, Profit, Purpose and Planet through thought leadership, social learning, and self-led modular content. Supported by experts, retailers and organisations that will stretch delegates thinking by looking outside of what they ‘think’ they know, bringing insight and foresight back to the organisation. The blend of residential and virtual over the course of the 8 weeks provides attendees the opportunity to put into practice what they are learning and explore this within the safety of their groups during the programme. Our course will bring to life the lenses, developing truly conscious leaders within retail for now and the future. There is no other programme like the Leaders’ Summer School!
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What is the price of the programme and do you offer any discounts?
Our earlybird offer has now closed. The standard price for BRC Members starts from £3,225 for the Emerging Leaders Programme and £3,350 for the Transforming Leaders Programme. This is variable dependent BRC Membership. Group and individual discounts may be applied by discretion with our Head of Leadership Programmes, please contact email@example.com to explore this further.
There is plenty of parking available however we are conscious of our own carbon footprint and would encourage delegates to either car share or arrive by train to Berkhamsted station. A free shuttle bus will be available to take delegates to the venue on the day of arrival and departure, timetable is below.
What is a Group Coaching session?
Each delegate will be assigned to a coaching group made up of 8-10 learners and facilitated by a Group Coach, these sessions are essential to benefit from the social learning element of the programme. The relationship of the group with start to form at the residential and this will build as the course progresses, sessions will be arranged around the live virtual elements of the programme providing the groups with the opportunity to reflect on what they have heard, discuss, debate, and explore within a safe environment. The Group Coach is there to support in facilitating, coaching and being an independent confidante to delegates to nurture their learning.
Across the duration of the school, we anticipate that each learner will need to assign 3-4 hours per week to either a live event, group coach sessions, module work and self-reflection which would be on a Wednesday afternoon.
There will be a golden thread of “how can I apply this learning and how will it impact me, my team and my organisation.” This will be supported by a self-assessment tool completed by the learner at the start of the school, the tool has been built specifically for the programme using neuroscience and aims to dig beneath the surface of the conscious leader to bypass their individual bias. The results will continue to grow and evolve as delegates take their learnings back to the workplace and assess these against their original learning intentions.