4 Pillars of Strategic Management in Customer Experience

4 Pillars of Strategic Management in Customer Experience

This will be a shorter post — end of the year and holidays — but I know a lot of people are thinking about strategic management as they transition from one calendar year to the next. What are you going to do strategically to drive customer experience, earn the right to the work, and create a customer-driven growth engine in 2017? These questions, all tied to strategic management, should be top of mind for you — even if you’re working from home the next few weeks.

I root everything in my five customer experience competencies, namely:

  • Customers as assets
  • Align around experience
  • Building customer listening paths
  • Proactive experience reliability and innovation
  • One-company accountability, leadership, and culture

I recently saw a new book that was more about overall company strategy that got me thinking.

Strategic management and the four pillars

The book is called The Carrot Principle and it mostly talks about recognition and engagement. Admittedly, those are hard concepts to track — and many organizations operate according to a “what’s measured is what matters” mindset. In short: if you can’t tie what you are doing to metrics that the other executives look at, honestly very few people will care and the funding for resources won’t be there. It’s not the most ideal situation all the time, but it is the reality.

The strategic management pillars mentioned in this book are:

  • Goal-Setting
  • Communication
  • Trust
  • Accountability

Rings a bell for customer experience, yes?

Strategic management in customer experience

Let’s take this 1-by-1.

Goal-setting is obviously very important. Oftentimes on my podcast, we discuss this topic. How did CCOs set goals? How did they know what work needed to be done? These are crucial questions — especially when you realize most companies are not good at setting priorities for execution-level workers.

Communication: Let’s be completely honest here. If you can’t communicate with co-workers and up/down a hierarchy, how is work going to get done? Short answer: it probably will not get done very effectively. It’s a crucial element of strategic management.

Trust: You can apply this internally (with employees) and externally (with customers). Trust is the bedrock of any relationship. When trust isn’t there, employees don’t stay and customers don’t buy.

Accountability: This needs to happen all over the spectrum. Executives need to be accountable to employees, and obviously vice versa. Senior leaders must understand, and be accountable to, the end customer. Day-to-day employees must respect and be accountable to the customer. Accountability is crucial in every relationship that makes up a business ecosystem. Unfortunately, sometimes we tend to focus on the “accountability” metrics of employees respecting managers. This is a flaw. Customers drive innovation and growth, and so long as an employee is working towards that, any process-driven accountability — i.e. “You didn’t do this the way I would have!” — should not be factoring in.

Your thoughts on strategic management?

What other pillars/ideas did I miss between my competencies and some content from this book? What are you thinking about for 2017 in terms of driving your customer experience? I’d love to hear any and all thoughts on strategic management.

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