“Working with customer experience is a mindset – not a short-term project”

Delivering great customer experiences is something that most companies have realized is critical for being competitive and able to attract and retain customers. Customer Insight, customer-centricity and agility are some of the key words required to be successful. But why do some companies succeed better than others, and what are the key factors to achieving success?

– Stating that you are a customer-centric company is easy. However, to gain insights about the experience of the customer, then synthesizing what is important, and finally translating that in to better products, services and business models is far more challenging, but also very rewarding. Building CX-capabilities allows you to develop better and more relevant products and services, which in turn can lead to new revenue-generating or cost-reduction opportunities, says Joachim Meyer Andersen, Customer Experience Manager at Coor.

From a historical perspective, the Hospitality industry has been the go-to industry when it comes to CX, simply because it is so obvious that what you are paying for is an experience. The experience as a guest; from the friendly receptionist, the chic hotel room, the extravagant spa and the delicious and nutritious breakfast, are all crucial factors in deciding whether you want to return, recommend the hotel to a friend or perhaps buy extra services. During the past twenty years the entire economy has shifted more and more to that customers are spending their hard-earned money on experiences instead of just commodities and products. This in turn has resulted in that you as a customer expect more from the companies you engage with – regardless of whether the company is a hotel, a shoe store or a Facility Management company. Over 70 percent of the participants in Salesforce´s study “State of the Connected Customer” state that an extraordinary experience at a company raises expectations when they interact with other companies.

Working with the customer experience is a mindset – not a project

According to Joachim, an important piece of the puzzle in working with CX is to understand, empathize and start from the customer´s perspective. You should not assume what you think the customer thinks about you, but instead attempt to truly understand the underlying needs or challenges that the customer faces. Many companies often settle for the question of WHAT the customers are happy or unhappy about, instead of analyzing deeply into WHY? The ambition is not only to enable your customers to get what they need, but also to simplify the way they get it and ultimately to positively engage them on an emotional level while getting it. To accomplish that you need to take a holistic perspective on the experience, all from the product, the physical and or digital setting, the actions performed by the customer, the human interactions and not least all behind-the-scenes activities.

Building capabilities to work successfully with the customer experience should not be considered as a temporary project. It is a cultural journey and a mindset that must permeate all activities of a company, and it takes considerable time and effort to get there. It is also not easy; things can come up about your company which may feel difficult to face up to. It is therefore important to dare to take responsibility for the whole experience, only then can you achieve a real change in the eyes, minds and hearts of your customers.

Joachim also points out that CX should be seen as a broader tool for business development and innovation rather than just an expensive cost-increasing activity for those companies who already enjoy high margins. If you approach it as such, then you have a change to succeed well with your customer experience.

Measuring HOW people experience FM services will be crucial in the future

When Joachim talks about the future of CX, he is discussing the fundamental changes in the economy which are taking place right now as we are moving more and more towards the experience economy. You are not inclined to pay extra for some random coffee beans, but if those coffee beans are sourced from a fair-trade certified farm in Nicaragua, then slow-roasted locally and finally brewed by the local Barista champion in a clean and warm reception area, then it is a completely different story. The competition for products and services today is fierce, but if you succeed with creating a good experience, you will at least come out of the price pressure.

The traditional business metric focus is also evolving

– Historically, it has always been important to measure efficiency and productivity. However, the focus on SLA (Service Level Agreement) compliance is by some companies beginning to be complemented by XLAs (Experience Level Agreements). Instead of just measuring and following up on efficiency and productivity, you continually measure, for example, HOW do people experience the office coffee and cleaning services and WHY do they think and feel this? That insight translated in to actions for what you do with it could possibly have a big impact on your ability to sell more, attract new customers, and become an attractive employer says Joachim.