Brands Must Keep Their Promises With Customer Experience (CX)
Globally, 57% of marketing decision makers that Forrester surveyed in 2017 said that aligning their CX with their brand was not a critical or high priority. That is alarming, because the two go hand in hand. As CX author Matt Watkinson puts it, “The ideal gap between the brand image (what customers are promised) and the brand reality (what customers actually experience) is zero.”
Unsurprisingly, the companies that stand out in Forrester’s CX Index have little if any daylight between the experiences they deliver and the promises their brands make. These CX leaders all share brand-rooted CX visions that are authentic, inspiring, and mobilizing — represented by the acronym AIM. They have a CX vision that is:
- Authentic: The CX vision accurately represents brand values. The CX vision should be an honest representation of the promises that a company makes through its brand image and messaging. The Lexus brand, the CX Index leader in the automobile industry, celebrates its heritage through its CX vision to “treat every customer like a guest in their home,” a core tenet of Japan’s omotenashi service culture. Charles Schwab, a leading direct brokerage in the CX Index, promises to help “clients take ownership of their financial futures.” The company’s commitment to this purpose started in 1991 when it trademarked the message “helping customers help themselves.” That was just a year after the invention of the World Wide Web and long before customer self-service became an important business strategy.
- Inspiring: The CX vision galvanizes customers and employees to act. Aspirational CX visions set a lofty goal that companies may or may not achieve. Inspirational CX visions, on the other hand, elicit creative and entrepreneurial thinking. Hilton Hotels and its CX Index leading hotel brand, Homewood, offers the inspiring customer experience vision “to be the most hospitable company in the world — by creating heartfelt experiences for guests, meaningful opportunities for team members, high value for owners, and a positive impact in our communities.”
- Mobilizing: The CX vision is prescriptive and actionable. A winning CX vision coalesces the entire organization around a specific course of action. CommonBond, a student education lender, had a shared social purpose — to shake up the student lending industry — before it had its first customer. Netflix, the CX Index leader in the over-the-top (OTT) industry, inspires its ecosystem with the vision to “promise our customers stellar service, our suppliers a valuable partner, our investors the prospects of sustained profitable growth, and our employees the allure of huge impact.”
Customer-obsessed organizations that embrace design have internal processes that allow employees to collaborate and cocreate solutions with customers. The same principle can and should be employed when creating a CX vision that fits the AIM model. For more CX vision examples and pragmatic advice on how to create a befitting AIM vision, read our report, Root Your CX Vision In Your Brand.