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Customer experience (CX) and customer-centric teams are driving business growth. A shift in thinking is needed to view service as a growth driver rather than a cost center. Companies should introduce more agile organizational structures as well as a customer experience orientation.

Business growth only through radical service focus

Successful start-ups are showing the way: With dedicated leadership roles and entire teams for customer experience, cross-departmental projects with a focus on customer needs become the central hub for corporate growth. Read this blog post to find out why product-oriented organizations have had their day if they don’t take their service equally seriously.

Customer experience as growth driver

Many organizations still pay lip service to customer orientation across all areas of the company, rather than a corporate culture that is cast in processes and responsibilities. According to a study from Bain & Company 80% of the companies surveyed saw themselves as a strongly customer-centric business. But only 8% of the customer base of those companies would have confirmed this assessment. Although these figures are from 2005, for many traditional companies this gap between self-perception and external perception could still be relevant today. And this despite the fact that the vast majority of decision makers rate customer experience as a more significant differentiator than the product or pricing policy in 2020. It seems clear that any growth potential for a company can only come from seriously addressing the customer experience.

CX-leading companies were able to show an average of 17% growth between 2010 and 2017, whereas the traditional competitor was only able to record growth rates of 3%. In telecommunications, the weight of a customer-centric process organization was particularly strong: Here, CX innovators were able to grow by up to 25%!

As a prerequisite for significant business growth, it requires a fundamental shift in the way we view what constitutes service within an organization. Traditionally viewed as a cost center, modern companies see their service organization as a growth driver. Developing a mature customer experience first requires resources rather than continuous cost savings.

The maturity model of the customer experience

There are different maturity levels of customer-centric organizations. While startups put a CX shell on their product and marketing from the start, large traditional companies have to break through several layers of legacy before a modern, digital customer orientation becomes noticeable.

The consulting firm Forrester differentiates between four stages of maturity in customer experience:

  • Fix problems

    The evaluation of customer processes creates an overview of necessary fields of action. Starting a serious customer experience offensive prioritizes the most pressing issues, such as long wait times on service hotlines or inadequate agent information due to poor training.

  • Deepen CX process work

    Once the most serious problems have been eliminated, measures that have already been implemented can be strategically developed further. For example, the implementation of callback options to reduce call center wait times, can be extended to include self-service offerings on the most common customer requests.

  • Optimize CX processes

    New communication offers can be well implemented and still not be accepted or accepted differently by customers. Therefore, measuring and analyzing customer behavior along the customer journey is essential in order to create optimal customer experiences through further adjustments. To stay with the example of on-hold management: An analysis could show that most customers call up the service hotline phone number via the website. So it might make sense to offer a callback option already there. This would save customers a few steps (typing in the phone number, listening to and selecting options) and even more time.

  • Differentiation

    Only after these three development phases and iterations do companies reach a stage of maturity where true differentiation via customer experience becomes possible. Innovative customer experience offerings can be introduced and combined with existing processes, giving a boost to the individual communication offering for customers. In the best-case scenario, service experiences are perceived as so unique compared to other providers that they lead to cross-selling and up-selling and entice customers to engage in positive word-of-mouth referrals that drive brand image and new customer business.

Learning from start-ups and promoting business growth

In the startup world, the CXO plays a key role in business growth. Corporations would be well advised to look at the organizational structures of agile digital companies. Their service and marketing philosophies, which are all about business growth, are focused on customer experience and in many cases also meet customer expectations because they have a handle on the complexity of technology, processes and people management in the digital age.

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