This post is part 4 of a 4-part series on the customer centric supply chain. Read the rest of this series here.
In today’s business environment, delivering a great customer experience is key to drive business, to differentiate yourself from competitors and to increase customer life-time value. To create outstanding experiences, you should put the customer at the heart of everything you do. Customer centric organizations typically adopt a culture where every employee and every process, customer-facing or not, acts in the best interest of the client. This requires a shift from functional silo thinking to cross-departmental collaboration.
Connecting customer & employee journeys
Many companies are still organized in functional silos, with separate sales, marketing, production, and supply chain departments. Their processes are typically installed from a functional point of view, focusing mainly on efficiency, and reaching departmental goals. To become truly customer centric, it is however important to align your internal way of working with the journeys of your customer.
For this post, we have listed 4 stages that are often used:
Awareness: the client becomes aware of your brand
Exploration: the client reviews the information on hand
Buying: the client decides to purchase your product or service
Loyalty: the client becomes loyal and potentially even an ambassador of your company
Every stage in this journey entails a process where various functional areas meet. To become customer oriented, the touchpoints that clients have with your company need to be mapped on the internal operations. Next, you should determine the customer satisfaction per contact point, both via external as well as via internal interviews.
By integrating the customer and employee journeys, you will stimulate and propagate the customer-first mindset, while creating maximum value for both client and company.
Case study: chemical company
We supported a client in creating such customer centric processes. After mapping customer and employee experiences like explained above, we found that both were strongly intertwined: bad scores from a customer point of view were met by low scores from an internal perspective and vice versa.
Most problems were identified throughout the exploration phase:
Inside-out: Internal cross-functional discussions with marketing, sales & product management confirmed:
a lack of systematic product strategy and product data collection
a lack of visibility on the product assortment and its features
Outside-in: Customer interviews showed that customers experienced difficulties in browsing the product assortment and finding the right product for their specific needs.
To solve these issues, we proposed a two-step solution:
Implementing a product finder that allows both internal and external users to browse the catalogue on their specific requirements.
Installing Product Lifecycle Management and Product Information Management systems that helps the internal organization to lift the employee experience to the next level.
By considering both the outside-in perspective and the inside-out perspective, the overall experience has been brought to the next level.
About the authors
Tom De Visscher is Partner at Chronion. Tom is a supply chain expert with focus on strategy alignment and process & organizational redesign.
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