Strategy

6th November
2012
written by Michael Kanazawa

A recent Forrester survey identified that 70% of CIOs put the ability to measure IT’s impact on business performance as a high or critical priority. The report goes on to discuss the need for not just new online reporting tools, but rather calls for a transformation in how IT operates within the business. The core is a mindset and capabilities shift that puts IT right at the center of innovating customer experiences.

Who ever said that every other department in a company is “the business” and IT is something separate? Perhaps in the very early days of computer systems this was the case when computers were not so intertwined with daily operations. However, today, IT systems in many cases are the the business, the product, the service. Beyond obvious examples of online retailers, think about the systems FedEx uses to allow immediate tracking of a package anywhere in their network. Ford and BMW both are running TV ads where navigation and entertainment systems are featured as much as traditional product comparisons such as performance, reliability or safety. (more…)

13th August
2012
written by Michael Kanazawa

The 1963 split-window Corvette. Now THAT was a complete customer experience.

As General Motors continues to build back from it’s near collapse in 2009, customer experience is playing a more transformational role. Recently, Alicia Boler-Davis, VP of Customer Experience and Global Quality shared perspectives on the growing strategic importance of customer experience for GM.

In many companies pursuing a customer experience strategy tends to be too focused on an internal definition of the customer journey. Sometimes “quote to cash” becomes the primary view, where the view is that from beginning the sales process to collecting the cash is the full interaction of the company and it’s customers. In other cases, customer experience is equated to customer service, where the effort focuses just on post-sale support and service. There is nothing wrong with paying attention to these areas, but it misses the opportunity to truly build the business based on a complete set of ways that the customer experiences your company, which is about their total experience. (more…)

13th August
2012
written by Michael Kanazawa

One of the most important shifts recently in the software industry has been the move towards cloud services. What this means is that instead of buying software and loading it on your computer, you pay to use software that is housed somewhere else and runs remotely. In essence it is renting the software capability rather than buying. As this shift begins to shape the strategies of traditional software companies making the move into cloud services, executives are realizing how significantly business models and operating models need to change to be successful in this new world. It is a complete customer experience transformation that is required to win. Some companies are making the shift while others remain too deeply rooted in the old models to win in the new markets. This post outlines two critical tips to launching the cloud services transformation journey.

Jim Steele, Chief Customer Officer at Salesforce.com, the market leader in cloud services, recently shared his insights with Executive Conversation. His shared wisdom highlights the required elements for transforming the traditional software business approach to succeed in cloud services. These concepts should be required reading for board members and managers at software companies to begin reshaping how the company runs and the metrics of success that truly matter in cloud services, which are completely different than traditional software companies. (more…)

4th August
2012
written by Michael Kanazawa

The results of a Customer Experience Transformation should look simple, to the customer. However, the process and tools are not as simplistic as a single metric, tool or platitude of “putting the customer at the center.”  The good news is that there is a series of specific steps you can take to generate the breakthrough results you desire

This past week I had the pleasure of being asked to co-host a webinar about how B2B businesses can take corporate level initiatives on customer experience and turn those into sales and profit improvements on the front lines of business. The CXPA (Customer Experience Professionals Association) is the leading organization in the field of customer experience. My interest has been in learning and contributing around the areas of using a customer experience view to develop corporate strategy and lead transformations that can change the results trajectory of companies, growing revenue and increasing earnings.

If you are a member, you can listen to a replay of the webinar, which features the head of Offshore Pipeline Solutions at TD Williamson. We share a set of three tools and describe how those have been used at TDW to more deeply understand customer needs, develop a focused growth strategy and product/service roadmap and engage the full organization in aligning to execute an improved customer experience. The process and tools are outlined below. In the webinar we walk through each of these elements in some detail.

For those who are not CXPA members, but would like more information, I’ll take some time in the next month or so to do a short post on each of these tools and the overall Customer Experience Transformation Process. We’ve been working with companies in cloud services, energy services, healthcare and financial services who have been able to design and execute shifts in their strategies that have produced some great results and I’d like to share these capabilities more broadly.

If you are not a CXPA member, you should consider joining. I am a member of our education committee and in addition to this webinar I just conducted, there are many others with great perspectives and experiences that are being shared by corporate leaders and consulting experts.

19th April
2012
written by Michael Kanazawa

Customer Experience Transformation: Gold Service, Mobile Experience and Branded Signature Points

I have been, or should say had been, a long time loyal Hertz customer. It used to be that they were the only rental company that could provide preset documentation and agreements, had covered parking stalls for Gold customers and had the very innovative and high tech (for the 1990s) name boards. The name boards were a signature point experience that clearly reminded you how efficient Hertz was as a competitor and how personalized and streamlined they made the rental process for loyal customers. However, over time, the Gold experience became tarnished and made me feel like the premium I was paying to rent with Hertz was more like buying fools gold. The boards became very dated and clunky compared to the slick LCD displays of other information you would see in the airport, taking away from the high-tech, highly efficient brand signature point for Hertz.

Functionally, the boards began to run out of listing space, so if you’re like me, you may have stood in front of one of these leader boards late at night, in the cold, impatiently waiting for your name to scroll around and finally show up somewhere. The boards that once were signature point experiences became counter points, where they demonstrated that Hertz was dated, low-tech, and had a misperception of what being a Gold customer should represent. (more…)

21st February
2012
written by Michael Kanazawa

Consistently delivering “a superior customer experience” represents a key part of American Airlines’ strategy as it works to become a “competitive, profitable and growing” business, CEO Tom Horton says. Pertinent to the passenger experience, American plans to modernize its brand, products and services “by investing several hundred million dollars per year in enhancements that will, once again, make American the premier airline of high-value customers”, says Horton.

As American Airlines drivers to regain financial strength and market leadership, it is clear that customer experience is a primary element of the corporate strategy. This is encouraging to see a CEO make such a clear statement about the scope and business value of customer experience initiatives. (more…)

21st February
2012
written by Michael Kanazawa

The company iRobot has done a great job of creating the market for consumer robotics solutions to help with routine tasks at home. The Director of Global Technical Support describes in the attached video how customer experience is the “new” brand. In other words, she clearly points out the concept of Brand Integrity and that Roomba is know for saving customers time. So, if that is the case, then technical support help needs to mirror that same value of saving customers time.

Too often you will see a mismatch between the brand promise and customer experience realities. For example, a broadband internet company that promises speed, may have a slow customer portal website with too many slow-loading Flash elements. This is what we would call a “counter point” where the experience directly contradicts the brand. Although these two areas are not always considered together in building strategies, customer experience and brand are inseparable and should be intentionally synchronized.

9th December
2011
written by Michael Kanazawa

Last month I delivered a keynote speech to a group of business leaders in Athens, Greece. The HMA had adopted the concept of replacing the old concept of trying to do “more with less” with the concept from our book, “doing more ON less.” I loved the signage for the event. The concept of “more with less” is completely overused and in crisis situations just results in lots of under-funded activities, diffused leadership attention and gridlock of any progress. Doing “More ON Less” is about reducing the focus to the highest impact activities, concentrating funding on those items and focusing leadership attention on just a big initiatives. Here is how the idea of transforming through “More ON Less” could be applied in Greece today. (more…)

11th October
2011
written by Michael Kanazawa

Mobile devices are now a core part of customers’ daily lives and therefore potentially a core part of almost any customer experience. Similar to company web sites offering up a new facet of customer experience in the early 2000s, mobile devices have the potential and will become another unique experience element of equal or more impact.

In the fourth quarter of 2010, IDC reported that there were 92.1 million traditional computers sold and 100.9 million smart phones. Smart phones and tables have now become a core part of the overall customer experience between companies and their customers. Even if you do not have a mobile device customer experience strategy, customers are hitting your current website from those devices or are calling your call centers from those same devices in greater numbers. (more…)

8th August
2011
written by Michael Kanazawa

Innovative thinking is a highly valued capability today. By working specific mental exercises as a deliberate part of your day, you can increase your ability to integrate left brain (creative) and right brain (logical) thinking patterns into a mix that generates more productive innovative thinking.

Any edge to think and act with more agility, innovation and creativity is highly valuable. An article on the LIVESTRONG blog recently shared some practical exercises you can use to build your abilities to integrate right and left brain thinking. This enables you to be a source of innovative ideas that can be implemented in practical ways or to generate creative sparks at the right time while implementing structured processes. (more…)

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