Skip to Main Content

Brand Experience and Customer Experience: Design, Operations and Service

One of my favorite quotes from Dale Carnegie is: “If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own.” Whether talking about customers or employees it comes down to proactive-intentional-empathy.

Solid brand experiences and customer experiences take place when brands deliberately weave design, operations, and service/support to engage their ideal customers with positive lasting experiences. A symbiotic ecosystem of call center agents, design teams, social, web, and front-line support that all have their own ideas of how to best serve customers. And often well intended, each silo has its own incentives to addressing customers and employees.

Product teams scream, “make our product the best and everything will fall in place.” Marketing teams, “we have to craft content in order for customer to know about our product.” By their nature, siloed departments have different answers, reporting structures, varying points of view, and misaligned incentives. So even sitting down with others across the org to empathize with can be difficult, but not impossible – however, customers’ problems must come first over organizational ones. And without a clearly defined North-Star, orchestrating efforts to blend brand promise with designing memorable experiences is at best wishful thinking.

Forrester’s James McQuivey writes about the urgency industries are facing on the path of customer obsession, “…today, only 48% of respondents in firms in the top-right quadrant report that the organization "cares about its employees as people," compared with 74% in the top-left quadrant and even 52% in the bottom-right.” (See illustration below)

Screenshot: Forrester Customer Obsession Urgency Matrix

I love this quadrant because it gets to the heart of where industries are in the face of outsider disruption. Entrepreneurs should be salivating as this is the road map of industries to pick off. It’s also no coincidence that the industries doing well in the upper left are also the ones with the happiest employees.

What’s your company’s brand promise, is it attached to a higher value, and do your fellow employees feel appreciated enough to share the same core values to your customers?

If my client experiences have taught me anything is it all comes down to culture – the success stories of both customers and employees being expressed. The behaviors, language, and overall shared vision is what cuts across silos. Do employees actually believe in the vision and the values of what you stand for? Are employees and customers being acknowledged formally or informally? In a not too recent MIT Study, researchers found that “…failing to acknowledge someone's work is almost as good as ripping it to shreds in front of them.”

Financial services in the upper right quadrant are firms that are big by nature, are rarely attached to a higher value, and as a result have a tough time shifting both culture and strategy towards customer obsession. Which is why it’s easier for banks to simply purchase an agency or CX shop to help do the design and cultural work internally. This is what CapitalOne did with AdaptivePath back in 2014.