Developing a holistic campaign to manage your experience agenda:

  • Be deliberate about how you engage your customers to earn and retain their loyalty

The purpose of today’s article is to introduce approaches to help us sustainably drive the customer-centric agenda. Customer retention and loyalty are now pivotal for businesses globally. In the previous decade (2000 – 2010) it was predicted by experts that there would be a global shift in business strategy from product to service. It was also predicted that as a consequence there would be a high rate of customer attrition.

The key to survival as a business following this shift is to learn and adopt the customer’s perspective, balancing the issues presented from both a company viewpoint as well as that of a customer. Both views must be reconciled and aligned. The key here is to turn your management hat around and personally experience the loyalty or attrition issues from an actual customer’s perspective and then consider what must change within your firm.

How can we learn from customer-centered research, development, and innovation to build world-class customer-focused (and customer-preferred) organizations? This thinking is what has transformed some notable global brands such as IBM who have invested massively in transformation programmes to turn their fortunes around. We may not require the same level of detail as other organizations however, we share a common need for practical, actionable information to stimulate thinking and enable the approach to decision-making that will drive us faster and more assuredly towards the goal of becoming customer-centric.

According to researchers when our customers leave, we want to know: Who stole my customer?? How? What can we do to keep customers and attract new ones? How can we become customer-centric and customer-preferred? What are the alternatives to temporarily buying customers with points or discounts from so-called (and easy to copy) “loyalty cards”? What is new, world-class, leading-edge thinking in this regard? Where is the greatest leverage to improve our business?

Being deliberate about how you tackle these challenges is what will enable you to hit the bull’s eye on this all-important question of keeping your customers loyal through the delivery of well-thought-out customer experiences to earn their loyalty and retain them. Jeff Sheehan has recommended a simple approach to this. He opines that your customer-centric agenda must be supported by clear milestones encompassing the mission, leadership, internal coordination, and a transformation agenda supported by a robust monitoring and evaluation system.

The mission

Defining your CX mission is pivotal to developing a customer-centric culture to drive your campaign. The key is to look beyond merely competing on price, features, and benefits, post-sales services as well as improving operational efficiency by removing waste and investing where there is a return on investment. Your goal is to provide customers with a unique experience they value. This is a more powerful approach that commands premium pricing and ultimately triggers enhanced efficiencies and reduced costs, delivering a meaningful impact on your customer’s jobs to be done.

The mission encompasses 3 broad areas namely customer service, customer focus, and customer-centricity. In an organization that focuses on customer service employees are empowered to deliver high-level services in their customer-facing roles. The CX leader offers support here in insights and analytics of call centre data, training, staffing, and digital care. These areas among others collectively offer opportunities for improvements. Customer feedback is used to measure performance against internal key performance indicators (KPI) as a benchmark for quality and efficiency and also as a basis for providing incentives.

In a customer-focused organization, all touchpoints are addressed consistently based on an understanding of customer needs and goals.  Every touchpoint from online purchases to in-person interactions is managed uniformly. The channels of interaction cover a broad area from the call centre, online store, retail store, mobile applications, social media, partnerships, and networks. The anchor here is the Voice of the Customer programme which supplies feedback insights and analytics across the business.

In a truly customer-centric organization, decision-making is influenced by ‘outside-in’ thinking. The key is to empathize with the customer (standing in the customer’s shoes). Every operational decision is driven by customer understanding. Business results are provided by an understanding of personalized experiences.

In summary, a well-drilled CX programme has the following attributes. First, understanding customers; jobs to be done with your offerings, and why they buy; second, focusing on how customer expectations were formed and delivering the outcome the customer wants; third, investing in and improving the quality of the channels that customers use.


As I highlighted in my piece last week the CX professional is the catalyst for bringing the Voice of the Customer into the organization. As the lead person in implementing the CX strategy for the business, s/he may have control or positional authority over some staff and some processes but is unlikely to have control over all stakeholders and resources involved with customer centricity, customer service, or customer focus. Sheehan (2021) advises that It is crucial here to lead with influence, using softer powers of persuasion.

Consequently, the role of the CX leader can be overwhelming, huge, and complex. However, regardless of the positional authority, the CX lead role can be played through demonstrated tactful leadership. The individual in this role must be willing to put in the shift through exemplary leadership. Using such skills as listening, empathy, and service to others. coupled with a willingness to learn from anyone, and accountability. By doing this one can win over hearts and minds easily.

They must stand firmly as advocates for customers across the organization, acting as change agents, motivating frontline employees, using data to build a 360-degree view of the customer, and bringing the customer into the company’s operations.  To be successful they must be respected for their wisdom and experience in the organization. It is recommended that an appointee to this role must be someone from adjacent parts of the organization or another respected organization to establish credibility and trust.

Notably, organizations present challenges of all sorts therefore one must learn to manage laterally by understanding what is important to each stakeholder they work with and learn very quickly the barriers and what the barriers are to change.

Internal coordination

The goal is to influence a customer-centric culture within the organization. According to CX guru Bruce Temkin “…. the CX is a reflection of your culture and operating processes. Who you are externally is a manifestation of how you operate internally – if you have jumbled processes, mixed-up reporting lines, and a culture of blame, then there’s no way you’ll be able to consistently deliver great CX.”

Your values and mission are critical to your successful delivery of “out of the world” experiences to customers. Sheehan (2021) puts this succinctly, “The vision and mission state where the organization is going (vision) and what it will do to get there.”   In managing CX there is always the risk of dissonance between what the organization says it is and how it operates. The mission, vision, and values in some cases are more aspirational than what is known technically as “the Ground Truth.”

According to the American CX expert Andrea Krohnberg, there is a clear distinction between a product-centric and a customer-centric organization. While the product-centric organization focuses on product attributes with limited customer insights the customer-centric organization focuses on customer needs, and aims at developing a centralized view of the customer and developing relationships.


How you create the right environment for CX to thrive requires great effort in the transformation of your organization’s values, structures, operations, technology, and culture to mature your capabilities with a focus on the customer.  Many organizations today struggle to achieve CX transformation. Global researchers, Nielsen Norman Group recommend the following levers to address this quest.

They are the Company’s vision and strategy, employees, operations, and technology. To establish these the following focus areas are recommended when using several change approaches. Establishing CX leadership and governance, managing culture, using customer insights and metrics to monitor CX and react promptly to dips in the experience, and a solid practice of experience-design operations. Most businesses are comfortable with the traditional experience of doing business in person or over the phone.

This approach over the decades resulted in investment in operational structures created as silos of responsibility within the organization to handle the various arms of the business. With the advent of digital channels, separate digital-product groups have emerged and become part of the operational infrastructure. Unfortunately, a silo-based infrastructure is not flexible enough to address customers’ expectations for smooth interactions across all available channels.

Consequently, several focus areas within the organization have been identified, where change must occur for organizations to deliver high-quality digital customer experiences at scale.

These are vision and strategy: committed leadership invested in a long-term and defined customer-focused strategy;  employees: An organizational structure with an established network for collaboration across teams, departments, and silos; operations: new processes and procedures designed to foster collaboration and work across functional groups toward a shared vision of journey-focused experience design and, Technology: A technical infrastructure that supports cross-functional operations and journey-focused customer-experience management.

Customer Experience Professionals Ghana Presents the Annual Customer Experience Professionals Ghana Conference, a cross-industry meeting place bringing together over 300 global thought leaders, professionals, and innovative solution providers in Ghana.

The theme for this year’s conference is “Accelerating Growth Through Customer Experience: The Case of Organizations and Industries.”  Date: Thursday, 6th October 2022 Time: 09:00 a.m Venue: Labadi Beach Hotel, Accra, Ghana. Contact 0552 760 129, email: [email protected], online:

The Writer is a Management Consultant (Change and Customer Experience). He can be reached on 059 175 7205, [email protected],

Leave a Reply