Addressing core elements of the experience is key to business success


– ensure you leverage these critical handles for outstanding CX campaigns

In the just-ended CX conference held at the Labadi Beach Hotel in October, one of the keynote speakers shared some insights about Customer Experience – in which she identified seven key handles for a successful CX campaign in organisations. Coming from an industry veteran, I did not hesitate to glean what little I could – and later delve a bit more into the areas she identified for my understanding in order to share insights for the common good. I share my observations from this discovery as I journey this path of supporting the determined group of people striving to change the narrative of customer experience in Ghana, daunting as this quest may seem.

The seven key handles, according to Margaret Takyi-Micah – Patron of CXP Ghana and founder of Nest of Ideas – epitomise the positive influence of CX conversation in businesses, and also reinforces the assertion that intentional CX campaigning is not a fluke. Paying attention to your CX, building and sustaining the drive through tangible structures, and persistent efforts to change mindsets is a worthwhile undertaking and potentially very rewarding. Many businesses have proven that with the right mix encompassing technology and targetted human interventions, stand-out customer experience is achievable.

For example, Airbnb has implemented several digital touchpoints. Using data productively, the company has developed a housing tool to help price their properties. The tool incorporates what customers usually value most about each property and its facilities, and which attributes. They have also provided a search functionality that enhances customer’s search experience by using data to highlight which attributes hosts should provide.  The Disneyland experience is centred around youthfulness, magical fun and family. They keep upgrading and changing attractions by building excitement, personalisation and constantly changing attractions.

Here are the seven handles: First, a customer-centric culture – “the happiness of the customer should be at the heart of every service”. Second, every decision must be driven by data – and be exact about the customer’s preference. Third, ensure that you deliver an omnichannel experience by focusing on the end user – the customer must find it easy to engage you on their preferred channel (i.e., digital, in-person etc.).  Fourth, develop empathy for your customer – and have a human connection. Fifth, Continuous Improvement is key – as CX is evolving, you need to work consistently at improving things.

Sixth, employee engagement, “Happy employees lead to Happy Customers” – invest in employees to deliver exceptional service. Finally, encourage and act on feedback – CX is not just about satisfying the customer, it’s about creating brand advocates.

Customer-centric and data-driven Culture

Customer centricity is about placing customers at the core of everything an organisation does. It focuses on creating the best experience for the customer – both at the point of sale and after the sale. It is about managing the relationship throughout the customer journey, ensuring that customers enjoy full value for money during the experience. Customers today have a myriad of needs and expectations. They have higher expectations and are more knowledgeable in terms of what their expectations are, what they want and what they don’t want. For example, social media and digitisation have transformed the way consumers interact with brands.

Digital technology and data today enable service providers to attract and retain customers, increase revenue, enhance the customer experience, streamline operations and improve communication. There are three focus areas wherein driving a digital presence has immense value. These are First, the development of digital touchpoints to match physical assets for customers. Businesses that can drive as much traffic online as they do with brick and mortar have a great chance of driving superior experiences.

Second, leveraging data for decision-making and driving growth. I have observed increased traffic at the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park with great interest. It was announced recently that revenues generated at the park had increased from GH¢25,000 a month to some GH¢350,000 following its rehabilitation. Quite recently the good news shared was that revenues have increased to GH¢1.1m. Now, that is great news – and it was also mentioned the park has managed to employ an additional 50 people. Hooray, this is great news. However, what’s worrying is that very little mention is made of how we are driving the Customer Experience to make the place attractive all-year-round.

The third spoke in this wheel is to encourage innovation, market entry and ease of doing business. I learned something very profound from an NGO recently. They provide rural water, and their initial intention was to build standpipes in rural communities for sharing. However, these communities prefer better value and are willing to pay for the water to be delivered into their homes. A Chinese company provides software that enables customers to pay for their water directly through MoMo. This is a refreshing experience compared to the myriad of technical reasons Ghana Water Company provides you with for non-supply of water over weeks.

Omnichannel Experience

Omnichannel consumer experience (CX) is about simplifying all consumer interactions across various touchpoints cohesively. It involves seamless service across all communication channels. The goal is to provide a united consumer experience regardless of the channel through which they contact your company. The business communicates with consumers through digital and conventional marketing channels that are interconnected. It brings all of your interactions together on one platform and gives you insights into improving your business. Engaging with a business through the customer’s chosen channel presents a seamless transition throughout the interaction.

Brands use omnichannel marketing encompassing social media, email and SMS to reach customers and create a seamless user experience across all touchpoints. Gavin Flood, senior director at marketing platform AdRoll, affirms that: “Customers crave engagement. More and more, we not only want to feel known by the brands we support – we expect it”. By being everywhere with an omnichannel strategy, you grow customer engagement; and this drives goodwill toward your brand. Omni-channeling provides accurate, personalised marketing across platforms, enabling you to engage your target audience and customers effectively.

After a visitor has booked their Disney World resort visit, they can plan every minute of their trip through the My Disney Experience tool. In the park, they can use the mobile app to locate attractions they earmarked in the experience tool and see estimated wait-times for each attraction. Customer convenience is the unique experience Disney offers. Every time a Starbucks user pays with a Starbucks card, via a physical card or mobile, that user accumulates reward points as we do when we purchase items with our loyalty cards at Melcom.  The use of an App in rural communities to pay water-bills synchronises with the above unique experiences.

DSTv offers similar experiences to customers, presenting the convenience of payments through MoMo and their payment App. PayPal’s omnichannel solution releases customers from the burden of visiting a separate website/app if they wish to use the return service. Instead, they begin their purchase return journey from the retailer’s website by receiving a QR code, which they can take to their nearest Return Bar location along with the item. Self-checkout machines that enable customers to complete their transactions from a retailer without having to wait in a queue at the staff checkout are refreshing. This reminds me of my personal memorable customer experience with a self-checkout machine in a UK supermarket.

Customer Empathy

In today’s fast-paced and volatile world, ‘customer empathy’ is not just a buzzword – it’s a game-changer. It’s about genuinely caring about the experience your customers have with your brand. Mastering customer empathy can create an emotional bond with your customer that sets you apart from the competition. By understanding customers’ needs and concerns, you are better able to connect with them on a deeper level and earn their loyalty. Apple takes customer empathy to a higher level. They regard experience very highly and focus on the details, taking empathy into account.

Since empathy is a soft skill, there is a tendency for it to be quickly written-off. There is no objective measure of empathy. This notwithstanding, there is no denying the fact that empathy’s impact can be felt in many ways. By creating stronger customer bonds, you encourage deep and meaningful connections between customers and your businesses. When you take the time to genuinely listen, understand and empathise with customers’ needs and concerns, you create an emotional bond that goes beyond a mere transaction. I doff my hat to this lady who runs a store in Community Two, Tema. She exudes Customer Experience effortlessly.

Her demeanour, patience and great concern for customers who walk into her shop speak volumes. It is not surprising that the traffic to and from her shop is unending. Trust me, it even rubs off on her assistants as they engage customers in a friendly manner – a very sharp contrast to the average Ghanaian retailer who glares at you with fierce eyes when you dare ask for prices and don’t go on to purchase an item. When customers feel heard, valued and appreciated you automatically earn their trust and loyalty. Studies have revealed that we tend to gravitate toward individuals who share similar qualities as ourselves.

The reality is that when you are in the day-to-day business of helping out customers, it can be easy to forget to show empathy – and get carried away at times to express your anger and frustration with them. However, when we show customers empathy, it not only benefits them but us as well. Therefore, take time and listen actively to your customer – and be prepared to bend over backward to attend their needs at every opportunity. Developing customer empathy will empower you to deliver personalised experiences. Making the customer feel at home with your brand will keep them coming again and again, and even become your advocate.

Continuous Improvement and the Employee Experience

Customer Experience is about looking at customers through the lens of their needs. Today’s world requires a great deal of experimentation to learn at high speed. Failure is imminent when you have to deploy learning quickly. We are told not to be afraid to fall, but we must be prepared to fail fast and learn faster. The average organisation must develop a learning culture to experience the direct impact of our work in creating value for the customer and business. Continuous Improvement aligns with design-thinking, lean and kaizen, and is fit for a listening, learning and responsive environment.

We use design-thinking to craft touchpoints in the customer journey. By using design-thinking, brands can more effectively delight, engage and satisfy their customers. Empathy and understanding are vital to orchestrating exceptional customer experiences.  According to experts, designing and delivering great CX is an ongoing exercise and requires a set of strategic processes that evaluate, assess, co-innovate and recommend. It is about looking at CX from a holistic view as you plan your customer journey. Working collaboratively with clients to match their needs when planning the journey is imperative.

Customer experience must be embedded in every organisation’s strategy. To get the experience right, you must be deliberate about who you bring into your business.  Ensure that you have the right people inside your company to align your CX with the business.  According to Philipp Ringgenberg, a CX Advocate: “Customer experience (CX) is the next competitive battleground, but it involves more than just gathering data or ensuring good communications with your customers”. Know that Poor customer experience (CX) is the mirror of a company’s employee experience (EX).

If you are weak internally with how you manage your employees, you are likely to be weak on the outside when dealing with your customers. A strong commitment to EX leads to better CX, or a company-wide focus on CX leads to better EX. An employee-centric culture nurtures a customer-centric culture. When your employees are happy, they will ensure that your customers are happy too. “Happy employees are more likely to go the extra mile to help your customers out, show resilience in challenging situations, and help your company’s profits grow,” Jason Whitman of Justworks says: “All those factors result in more satisfied customers and a better retention rate.”

CXP Ghana’s patron, Margaret Takyi-Micah, nailed it when she identified the important elements of great customer experiences. It was a great learning experience for me and I assume many others, hearing this from one of the early Customer Services crusaders who have been persistent in the fight to keep the customer conversation alive. Kudos to you, Madam, for your untiring efforts in keeping the CX ship sailing. Ayekoo!

The Writer is Head of Training Development & Research

Service Excellence Foundation and a Management Consultant (Change and Customer Experience). He can be reached on 059 175 7205,

[email protected],


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