Deliver a compelling customer experience to build success


Entrepreneurs start their businesses with grand ambitions that the company will immediately become profitable and make a meaningful contribution to the community that it serves.

However, the reality of being an entrepreneur is far more sobering than the romanticised version presented in literature and movies. One of the most prominent challenges entrepreneurs face is that businesses face one of the toughest consumer markets experienced in recent history. Disposable income will only be spent on products and services that are the best and serve a specific consumer need.

One of the ways to address this is through enhancing the customer journey or experience. I recently read an article on the Harvard Business Review website which discusses this in more detail.

Cultivate customer understanding

The article points out that few leading brands have entirely digital journeys — they still deliver physical products, offer physical experiences, or provide human interactions. That means you must understand where and how customers desire digital experiences in the customer journey rather than merely focus on the digital journey as the end-all-be-all.

Understanding your customers’ current and shifting needs starts with a mix of effective customer listening approaches such as the voice of the customer (VoC), defining personas, developing customer journey maps and inspiring more customer-centric decisions — all critical factors in achieving the goal of better understanding and adapting to customer needs.

The article adds that, from here, organisations can then focus on how they will deliver that experience. It’s not a one-time exercise but a competency that requires sustained investment to be effective.

The organisations that lead with their customers in mind come out on top: Gartner’s analysis found that customer experience (CX) programs that exceed management expectations are 1.9 times more likely to have persona development initiatives in place for more than three years and two times more likely to have end-to-end customer journey mapping in place for more than three years.

The article points out that, given the current macroeconomic environment, brands can reinvest and strengthen their CX capabilities in ways that make their customers feel confident they have made the right choice to continue doing business with them.

Compelling customer experiences don’t have to involve over-the-top digital capabilities. Small things, grounded in human understanding, can be just as powerful.

Take a holistic approach with total experience

The HBR article points out that the pandemic has taught us that employees play a critical role in delivering a great customer experience. Their experiences matter as much as customers, manifesting in employee experience (EX). But in most organisations, the functions responsible for CX, EX, user experience (UX), and the associated technology platforms work separately.

The better question is how to organise to deliver a more holistic and compelling digital experience for customers and employees.

The article adds that entrepreneurs should work towards total experience, or the deliberate connection of CX, EX and UX, to create superior shared experiences for all stakeholders.

Lego Group is a B2C organisation that has embraced total experience. It realised that digital solutions often fail to meet the needs of customers and employees because of siloed approaches to design.

The article points out that when the Covid-19 pandemic forced the LEGO Group to debut new products virtually, the company initially created a self-service online catalogue for retailer customers. However, this solution needed to adequately provide the high-quality buying experience that customers and sales employees previously had in person, as the solution’s design did not account for all end users’ unique and intersecting needs. LEGO Group launched a virtual showroom solution to meet this challenge that delivers a higher-quality product-viewing experience.

In designing and deploying technology solutions that consider the needs of customers and employees first — and technology second — Lego enabled its employees to serve customers better and improve the overall buying experience with smoother interactions between customers and employees and an improved overall product viewing experience.

Lego achieved this by leaning on the core components of customer understanding and technological experience (TX) to avoid the trap of engineered insincerity.

Entrepreneurship development

Enhanced insights will inform your strategy when it comes to enhancing the customer journey or experience in a way that encourages brand loyalty. However, very few entrepreneurs know how to leverage technology to their advantage.

MANCOSA recognises the growing impact that technology will have on the future of work and entrepreneurship. Digital skills are included in all MANCOSAs courses so that graduates receive a grounding in critical technological skills that will make them successful in the hyper-competitive corporate world.

Entrepreneurs can also attend various MANCOSA Master Classes, which feature MANCOSA Alumni who have forged successful corporate careers. These Master Classes provide vital insights that will help business development.

Finally, through our Ignite Programme, MANCOSA has an entrepreneurship incubator that helps future entrepreneurs develop specific skills to build their businesses.

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