Ingredients of customer centricity: Extreme Speed

Customer centricity means that brand owners need to step outside the boundaries of their business. Also, they should consider their value proposition through the eyes of their consumers. It’s the Copernican Revolution of the 21st century. In this series, we evaluate the three core ingredients to become a truly customer-centric organization: Extreme Customer Obsession, Extreme Speed and Extreme Creativity.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: in today’s fast-paced environment, it’s not enough just to understand your customer. You have to act upon that understanding… And even more so, you have to act upon it quickly! If you wish to improve your organization’s internal clock speed and time-to-market, you need to adopt an agile, flexible, and fast approach. Speed is the key.

So how do you gain speed and agility in your Customer Experience program? Bundling our CX work’s best practices for a multitude of brands and businesses has led to the creation of a Customer Experience research program roadmap. This agile and iterative process captures 3 key phases:

CX Strategy

The first phase in the Customer Experience research program consists of developing a Customer Experience strategy. Existing (business) knowledge is topped with deep consumer understanding. You can achieve this by leveraging your existing knowledge (whether compiled through previous research, conversations with customers, or overall expertise in the category). Most organizations already have a wealth of knowledge available.

CX Development

The second level highlights the essential need for mapping the customer journey (beyond your own products or touchpoints). As discussed in our previous post (Ingredients of Customer Centricity: Extreme Customer Obsession), conducting a thorough customer journey map is critical. it will help you to better understand your customers and their various moments of truth. Once you have a sound understanding of their journey, the Customer Experience Development phase is all about experimentation: employing iterative ideation, co-creation and testing processes, in order to come up with relevant solutions. ‘Agility and flexibility’ are the name of the game.

The ideation and prototype phase should be iterative, with short and quick feedback loops. Consumer perspectives alternate with the business perspective, moving from rough ideas to full-fledged concepts, to creating prototypes, fine-tuning and optimizing every step of the process.

CX Tracking

At the end of the Customer Experience research program roadmap, there is tracking. It’s an important facet; surely you want to know the impact on your business and your customers, and how to improve accordingly. Tracking, when combined with the preceding phases, can become an invaluable problem-solving tool.

Consider our Customer Experience research program with Volkswagen Poland. VW understood that the Customer Experience was a core element to distinguish themselves from their competitors in an increasingly homogenic market. The research objective was to come up with new consumer-centric Customer Experience solutions. Starting from the consumers’ perspective to identify the consumer needs was crucial. The CX strategy phase of the program meant harvesting knowledge; from connecting insights from previous research, to interviewing VW personnel and, more importantly, its customers. Also, it allowed us to map the ten core needs experienced by virtually every buyer.

For the CX development phase, we organized ideation exercises with VW stakeholders, and in a co-creation with the eÿeka creative consumers network. These ideas were further evaluated, resulting in 11 concepts. These have been prototyped and are currently in a live test environment in the Volkswagen home concept store in Warsaw, Poland. Together with real consumers in a real sales environment, they are being tested and optimized. The business results which are gathered continuously will help roll out these features in the wider VW network.

A consumer-centric approach requires an organizational shift; embrace a consumer-first mentality (Extreme Customer Obsession) and also act upon that understanding (Extreme Speed) in a timely fashion. You need to detect customers’ needs and frictions as they arise and swiftly deliver solutions across the journey. If not, you might lose what you should value the most: your customers!

Curious about how you can speed up your CX initiatives? Get in touch!

The Customer Journey Revolution

Create truly authentic and sustainable customer-centered experiences. How do you disrupt category conventions? How do you keep your finger on the pulse of your customers’ wants and needs? How do I use my existing resources to build a relevant and authentic customer experience?

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