Owning the Customer Experience

GUEST: Allison Metcalfe, CRO at Demandbase

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Buzzword alert: Customer Experience

We’ve all heard it. We all know it’s important.

But why do so many companies still struggle to nail the customer experience in a way that positively impacts all aspects of the business?

To break down the do’s and don’ts of customer experience, I talked with Allison Metcalfe, CRO at Demandbase, a leader in account-based marketing.

In this episode, we discussed:

  • Why customer experience is everyone’s job
  • Making your team accountable
  • Ways to get your team to live and breathe the customer experience

It’s everyone’s job

One reason you might be failing at customer experience? You’ve made it the responsibility of one team.

“Customer experience is everyone’s job. Literally, every department needs to feel accountable for this.

Allison Metcalf of Demandbase

According to Allison, this gives other parts of the business an excuse not to be customer-centric.

The truth is that every single person in your organization touches the customer journey in some way. So, every single person in your organization needs to own the customer experience.

It could be the way we market to the customer, the way we sell, the way we set up the digital experience, or the way we show up when there’s a problem.

The question becomes: How do you set up processes which will make everyone accountable?

Two Steps for Making Your Team Accountable

1) Research the Customer Journey

To level up your customer experience game, you need to know the customer journey like the back of your hand — and the best way to do this is to map it out.

You need to know what objectives or milestones need to happen before a customer can graduate from one stage to the other.”

Allison Metcalf of Demandbase

Identify the different stages of the customer journey. Then, identify what could go wrong and what needs to go right for them to progress from one stage to the next.

You might find points in the customer journey which, quite frankly, suck.

For example, in doing this research for a previous employer, Allison found out an invoice was the first experience new clients had with the company after closing the deal.

Not exactly rolling out the red carpet.

2) Determine Accountability

Next, Allison recommends using a fluid RACI model.

RACI stands for:

  • Responsible
  • Accountable
  • Consulted
  • Informed

That’s right, my friends — it’s time to determine who will be responsible, accountable, consulted, and informed for every element of the customer journey.

You might think this is easy, but it’s trickier than it seems.

You see, multiple people can be responsible, consulted, and informed. But the number one rule of the RACI model is you can’t have more than one person accountable.

This sticking point can lead to a fair amount of drama.

Sometimes the team will come back and tell you they really feel there needs to be more than one person accountable for a particular element of the customer journey.

That’s a big red flag that someone is tiptoeing around or trying not to offend or trying to avoid the uncomfortable conversations. Effective accountability can’t be determined until your team has these difficult conversations and comes to a consensus.

Two ways to teach customer experience

Once you’ve got the processes in place on a macro level, how do you drill down and help the individuals on your team understand how to deliver great customer experiences?

Start by helping them understand the impacts their behaviors and reactions have on the customer experience.

“I often encourage storytelling about people’s own experiences and realizing what small details and small interactions that happen actually have great impacts on how we perceive the brands and the companies that we interact with in our lives.

Allison Metcalf of Demandbase

Allison recommends two exercises:

1) Ask your team to think about a brand they admire and get them to talk about why.

2) Ask your team to think about a time they had to complain about something to a brand and talk about how they felt when they got through it and why it brought up those feelings.

The point of both these exercises is to get your team to think about their own personal experiences as customers. Get them to internalize those experiences and realize how even a minuscule interaction they’ve had with a brand drives how they view that brand.

Did a company go above and beyond the call of duty? And did that one experience make you a customer for life?

On the flip side, was there a time a company made a simple task so difficult for you that you vowed never to buy from them again?

Once your entire organization starts speaking the same language of customer experience, you’ll start driving better business results.

This post includes highlights from our podcast interview with Allison Metcalfe, CRO at Demandbase.

Subscribe to hear this episode and many more like it. For the entire interview, you can listen to The B2B Revenue Executive Experience. If you don’t use Apple Podcasts, we suggest this link.