Service Excellence

Will Your Company Lead In 2020?

By VJ Manickam Strategist, Total Customer Experience November 10, 2014

If you were asked what will be most important in the year 2020 to your business strategy—products, price or experience—what would you say? Based on a study by Walker Info, not only is experience more important today, but its significance will actually increase by 2020, whereas products and price will decrease. Based on these findings, it is clear that companies who expect to remain competitive leaders need to focus on the customer experience. It is critical that companies are open to adapting their strategies and willing to invest in the technology, processes and people that will allow them to demonstrate and live up to their differentiated experience.

So how do cross-functional teams in a complex environment engage with and impact the customer experience? And why will those companies with a dedicated team of CX (customer experience) professionals lead the pack in 2020?

Customers 2020

Source: Customers 2020, The Future of B-to-B Customer Experience, WALKER INFO, 2013

Through my work with EMC’s Total Customer Experience (TCE) team, I am fortunate to engage with cross-functional teams and understand the holistic customer lifecycle. The TCE team both aligns our internal teams and ensures that we strive to deliver a consistent and memorable experience throughout every interaction. By serving as the common thread to collect diverse data points and feedback from across the company, we can identify important trends—from educating the company on common challenges many of our customers are facing, as well as unique circumstances that may be impacting a specific account.

The best way to illustrate how multiple EMC teams touch the customer and collaborate to improve the experience is through an example with some of EMC’s largest Asia-Pacific customers.

The Situation:

Feedback from our APJ field teams (service and sales) and customer survey results indicated that EMC still has work to do with some of our largest customers in the region. Customers and employees noted opportunities to improve different aspects of the customer experience, such as: cross-functional EMC teamwork, account-based marketing, health/performance product statistics, handoffs in the service experience, regular business updates on strategy/roadmap directions and educational training workshops.

The Action:

The TCE team took a leadership role to use this feedback to conduct in-depth interviews with C-level leaders at 27 customer sites in 6 countries. Because of the TCE team’s proven expertise in listening to, analyzing and acting on feedback, we were able to identify 55 tangible improvements that would be meaningful to the target customers. We collaborated with the relevant EMC teams—marketing, sales, pre-sales, implementation, customer service and maintenance renewal sales—to share these improvements and develop a comprehensive action plan.

The Impact:

The impact of this targeted customer advocacy effort was extremely positive for both customers and the EMC teams aligned to them. As a result of the TCE deep dive visits, customer “perception of EMC” increased by 30+ points. We also saw a large increase in responses to EMC’s customer satisfaction surveys, which suggests that customers felt more confident that their feedback would be taken seriously.

“We feel that EMC is really taking care of us”
– Customer Survey Feedback, TCE Asia Pilot

Voice of Field surveys (sent to cross-functional EMC teams) revealed that 95% of respondents said that the TCE team insights  had some impact on group strategy  and 53% said the insights had significant impact. The teams also noted that the TCE approach also yielded additional benefits, such as: increased revenue, improved customer satisfaction, strengthened customer engagement and the ability to better integrate customer ideas into EMC’s product solutions and business model.

“The TCE [Asia] Pilot enabled us to further strengthen our understanding of the customers’ views and also enables us to focus on their priorities
– EMC Pre-Sales Member, Malaysia

TCE Asia Pilot

Click to see more TCE stories, data, and programs on the Experience Analytics Showcase

There is no doubt that our customers’ needs and what they expect from their vendor’s cross-functional teams are changing. In recent years, trends such as social and mobile are fusing how customers’ access and use traditional information channels – such as the Internet, phone, print, and email – and also changing how customers want and expect to interact with their providers. Customers expect marketing and sales teams to understand their challenges and interests before they even take part in a sales call or visit the company’s website. They want these teams to deliver personalized insights, offer complete solutions (not just individual products) and help them compete better by saving time, money and effort. They expect technical pre-sales and service teams to not just understand the complexities of their products, but also know how their industry and IT environment are evolving. If during a service interaction the customer expresses a desire to expand their IT infrastructure, they want this information to be shared with their sales team without having to repeat it.

Companies who expect to win share of wallet and mind must adapt within each team function, as well as invest in the skills, technology and analytics capabilities to ensure that the customer experience is consistent no matter where the interaction takes place. At EMC, our dedicated TCE team has played a critical role in bridging gaps between internal teams and customers by leveraging  analytics, proven feedback mechanisms and constant communication with our customers, employees and leaders. We know that there is always more work to do, but are committed to partnering with our customers to ensure that their experience with EMC is memorable and they are able to achieve their business goals. There is no substitute for employee passion and integrity–this video is just one example of how EMC employees from sales, services, engineering, marketing and other functional areas all care deeply about the customer experience.

At EMC, we believe we will lead in 2020 because of our relentless focus to the customer experience. What are you going to do for your customers?

About VJ Manickam

Strategist, Total Customer Experience

VJ Manickam is a member of EMC’s Total Customer Experience (TCE) Customer Advocacy team based in Singapore. She is a 12-year EMC veteran, with a strong background in process improvement, including a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt certification. VJ’s mission is to optimize the experience for EMC’s Asia Pacific customers through enterprise-wide alignment with customer priorities.

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