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Operationalising customer intimacy is key to a consistent brand experience – but much harder than you think

Change Makers

Operationalising customer intimacy is key to a consistent brand experience – but much harder than you think


Pip Stocks has three tips to operationalising customer intimacy at your organisation.

Most people I talk to say powerful CX starts with a customer-centric CEO, a supportive executive team who believe in customer intimacy and a changing culture to think customer first.

Big tick, I agree that customer intimacy and getting to know your clients voice-to-voice and face-to- face makes a much bigger impact on the business than looking at the customer through numbers.

But there are fewer conversations in the public domain around how to engage the whole organisation into operationalising customer intimacy. Is it because it’s just too hard to filter the CEO message to the people? Or is it that our technology systems are just too archaic to try new things?

Within a business there are always those stories about a department doing great work or a region getting it right. In my latest podcast series ‘Getting Intimate with #CX’, Jee Moon, VP of marketing at Luxottica explains how she has seen some of her OPSM stores deliver personalised postcards to customers as a thank you. She would love to make that part of every customer’s experience and operationalise it.

NAB have introduced and operationalised customer huddles where the whole organisation get into much smaller groups on a weekly basis to hear and discuss the feedback on NPS and other data points.
So, what is the key to making this happen?

Here are my top three tips:


1. Motivate the organisation with the CEO’s strategic customer vision

Michael Cameron become Suncorp’s CEO in 2015 and decided to implement the necessary changes to take the business from a multitude of verticals into a customer-centric ecosystem. When he went in, he explained this vision and brought in a team of execs that he believed could make these changes happen.

Many things have happened at Suncorp including the roll out of concept stores where customers can talk banking, insurance and even health products. The business posted a $1,075m profit figure this month with customer satisfaction on consumer brands at 82% so the operationalisation of his vision appears to be working.


2. Map the experience from the customer perspective and the delivery methods

MYOB have an ‘Engineering and Experience Team’ that get face to face with their clients as a matter of course and then build changes into their experience. They do both the insight and ideas plus the mapping and delivery. This means that the solutions are consistent and do-able in the business model. Brands need to make sure that all the delivery methods link into the experience maps so that any great idea can be implemented.


3. Train your people to deliver it

When people talk about a great customer experience, they inevitably talk about the people at the coalface. The call centre person, the shop assistant, the plane hostess and bank teller. If you people on the floor don’t have permission to make decisions in the moments that matter, then any CEO’s vision will not come to fruition.

Nordstrom famously insists its people use good judgement at all times and in some cases they have to get permission to say no to customer. What a lovely shift that would be in Australia where to return an unworn top with the brand tags still on is like breaking out of prison.


When I ask people about the most favourite trend to come, a lot talk (obviously) about AI. Using it to predict customers’ behaviour and integrating it into the product or service to solve anticipated problems is something of a dream for marketers. But without a fully operational and consistent brand experience, AI and all other trends will fail. Get that right and you will win the CX battleground and have your competitive edge.


Pip Stocks is CEO and founder of BrandHook


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Image copyright: rawpixel / 123RF Stock Photo


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