Organisations undergoing change grapple with a myriad of challenges. But more often than not at the heart of the change is the customer, according to Ben Sharp, head of revenue and operations ANZ at Pureprofile.
Understanding that and embracing customer experience is key to any transformation, according to Sharp.
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“If you’re not focused on your customer, then you are probably not doing the right thing,” Sharp told Which-50.
“When you’re building a business, managing an existing business, or styling your business, the only way to do that successfully is with a massive focus on who your customer is.”
On November 27, Which-50 is hosting an interactive webinar which will explore how businesses can refocus their culture with the customer at the centre. Ahead of the panel, which features four of Australia’s most senior digital executives, Which-50 caught up with Sharp to discuss how to build a customer experience culture.
Sharp says a customer experience culture has quickly become table stakes and the strategy applies to startups and incumbents alike, although the latter often faces more entrenched barriers to change. And while those challenges are significant, ignoring them means “you’re probably going backwards in a hurry”.
CX from the top
Sharp, a 15 year digital advertising industry veteran with several of his own startup investments, told Which-50 successful change usually came down to how well organisations identified and aligned around customer needs.
“That should probably become one of the key priorities.
“The only way that this can happen successfully, is if it is rooted deeply into the culture of the business, and it needs to be led from either the board, or from the executive team.”
The top down approach is particularly important for larger organisations.
“It’s very difficult for that to happen on a reactive, or tactical basis, through your more junior staff, but if the strategy of the business is being created and lead by your executive team it can be successful.”
Of course, organisational change is easier said than done. But Sharp argues the customer imperative and data can provide a useful roadmap.
“The best way to manage change is to showcase the data that you have, explain how important it is to make changes, which will obviously help the overall performance of the business.
While data can help communicate the reason for change there will always be a natural human, and at times emotional, resistance, Sharp said.
Not everything can or should happen at once, Sharp said, recommending organisations focus on only two or three initiatives per period and align them with an overarching customer experience strategy.
“If the overriding strategy is to improve the customer experience that your clients have with you, that probably needs to become number one change priority, and everything else will need to support that in one form or another.”
Gauging of the initiative with regular checks is important, Sharp says, as customer expectations change, usually in more demanding ways. Again, data can help in this regard, provided it is used to create insights.
“Big data is great, but if you have too much of it what do you actually do with it? So I think when you have huge amounts of data, it needs to be segmented into bite sized chunks that you can actually use.”
The north star
According to Sharp, there’s no shortage of data but its real value comes from the reports and analytics it can create. And in a change environment there must be common goals around data.
“When you start looking at the data you have in your organisation, the first place to start is to go, ‘Hey what’s my north-star? What am I focusing on as a key metric that everyone can understand and buy into that we can look at on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis?’.”
The north star will vary depending on the organisation. For example, one may look to daily revenue while another is more interested in customer acquisition. The important thing, Sharp says, is the goal is a common one and can be tied to customer experience.
Having a north star allows each department to contribute to the change and improve the most common goal, in the process revealing the importance of different data and how it relates to customer experience, Sharp said.
Practicing what you preach
Pureprofile perpetually profiles Australian consumers for insights. But rather than mine data with little context, the organisation speaks directly with consumers and rewards them for their insights. The experience focus and value exchange produces more accurate and useful data, according to Sharp, who employs the north star approach himself.
“The north-star we think about is the number of active account holders in our platform, and it’s so important for us to ensure that the experience they have with us is positive, because the better the experience they have with us, the more willing they will be to share their data with us.”
Consumers are more aware than ever of the value of their data in light of recent data scandals and breaches and, Sharp says, it is critical they are rewarded and retain control of their data.
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About the author
Joseph Brookes is a writer for the Which-50 Digital Intelligence Unit, of which Pure Profile is a corporate member. Our members provide their insights and expertise for the benefit of the Which-50 community. Membership fees apply.