Topic(s): Hello Customer Customer Engagement Customer Experience CX & Business Strategy

Creating a strong value proposition in challenging times

Last week we kicked off our brand-new webinar series. Every month, our CEO Leslie will interview an expert in their field. Our first guest was CX mastermind Steven Van Belleghem, together they discussed how organizations can create a strong value proposition for their customers in challenging times.

Beforehand, everyone could submit a question to ask Steven. So, the input for the interview actually came from you guys, the audience! It was impossible to recap everything, but we put together some key takeaways from the webinar in this blog post.

 

Challenge I: “The world is becoming more digital, because of COVID and normal processes. How do you stay customer-centric and how can you keep that human touch?”

An increase in digital doesn’t necessarily mean that business becomes less human. That is if you keep the person behind the customer in mind. As a brand, you need to be a partner-in-life for your customer, and digital opens up a whole new way for organizations to do this. It all starts with understanding the hopes, fears, dreams, and ambitions of the customer. What do they want to get out of their lives? Once you know, you need to think about how your organization can help the customer achieve this.

A great example here is Lumi by Pampers. As Steven said: “The first time I became a parent, I was super insecure. I had spreadsheets to track my kid’s sleeping, eating, and toilet behavior”. Pampers understands the stress and fear a newborn baby can bring for parents, so they came up with Lumi. Lumi contains a range of products: smart diapers, smart mattresses, smart cameras... It also checks if your child is still breathing while it sleeps. The goal here wasn’t just to sell pampers. They understood the worries that new parents have, and created products that can proactively take some of their worries away. It’s digital, it’s human and customer-centric all at once.


Challenge II: “How do you involve the entire organization so that internal processes don’t hurt the experiences of customers?”

It all starts with receiving feedback from the customer, as it makes the customer more tangible in the organization. To explain this, Steven used a football metaphor. Today, football matches are being played without an audience. The players really miss that interaction. Why? Because they are used to getting instant, real-time feedback from ‘their customers’, the crowd. Even the management of a football team gets feedback on their decisions: they hear the ‘boo’s’, the ‘ooh’s’ and the ‘aah’s’ and the cheering every week. If you are so close to receiving feedback, you start to think about the implications of every decision you take.

This is the problem in many organizations: the customer is a theoretical concept, a statistic in a PowerPoint presentation. If you want to create a culture where every decision is made with the customer in mind, make sure that everyone can hear the ‘boo’s’ and the ‘aah’s’ directly from their customer. Let them understand what the implications are of specific actions on the customer. Explain to them in great detail how they add value or create frustrations. And confront them with the ‘boo’s’ and the ‘aah’s’ every week.

Want to watch the full webinar? Just get the full replay here.

 

Challenge III: “How do we know if we are driving value for customers with our products and/or services?”

If you want to know whether you’re creating value for the customer, you need to ask them. So the first thing organizations should do, if it’s not yet the case, is to develop listening skills. Many companies put products and services in the market because they believe it will create value. But your customers don’t necessarily always agree.

According to Steven, there are some CX steps companies need to go through if they want to become frontrunners. First, they need a good product. Secondly, the need good digital interfaces. Thirdly, they need to become a partner-in-life, and lastly, they have to create value for society. This model only works if you start from the ground up. If you create value for society, but your product isn’t good or your digital interfaces are not convenient, it won’t work. The key to all four steps is to listen to your customers and to understand how you can live up to their expectations in each of these four stages.

 

Challenge IV: “How do you get started and how do you prioritize CX initiatives, especially in these challenging times?”

In a lot of companies, CX doesn’t really lift off because it’s seen as a project that costs money, without knowing the exact ROI beforehand. So, Steven’s advice is to look at CX from a pragmatic point of view. A good way to get started with customer experience is to play the “zero budget impact list”. The first step is to create two lists:

  1. What is frustrating to your customers?
  2. What is exciting for your customers?

Once you have these lists, you gather more insights on the topics that are either frustrating or exciting (capture feedback!). Next, you start with quick wins. On the one hand, look at the frustrations that are easy to solve, and remove them. On the other hand, double down on the elements that make customers happy.

Speaking of zero budget, “the cheapest CX investments are free”. If there isn’t any budget available, ask yourself where you can add value that doesn’t cost anything: being proactive, being friendly... These are small improvements that don’t cost you anything, except for energy. Of course, energy is a scare resource too. But if you don’t have money to make your customers happier, just remember that the CX efforts with the biggest impact are completely free.

 

What’s up next?

Next month, we’ll be back for a new webinar on CX and banking. Our guest is Inge Ampe, Chief Commercial Officer at Argenta. Registrations are already open, you can sign up here. See you then?

 

If you want to learn more from Steven, he recently released his latest book ‘The Offer You Can’t Refuse’. You can buy your copy via his website: https://www.stevenvanbelleghem.com