The next time you place an online order or food delivery, count how long it takes to “place order.”
What emotions do you feel when your system (or mobile device) freezes? Or when the seller automatically dumps your name into a series of “personalized” emails that become simply irritating?
Ever since the pandemic began, I catch myself becoming impatient, even agitated, when it takes more than five seconds to confirm my order. I expect to not only have a great customer experience. I also expect my product (or dinner) to appear on my doorstep within minutes or hours.
During my recent Mindful Marketer Live Stream, I explored how this phenomenon is re-shaping the rules of customer engagement and marketing.
I just teamed up with Michael Taylor to talk with some accomplished customer-centric leaders. They helped us uncover ways to deliver value quickly to customers.
In addition to hearing their success stories, we wanted to also know where they encountered obstacles.
These are the seven common obstacles we heard:
- Having a fixed mindset
A fixed mindset shows up as fear of failure. For example, I have a client who must deal with a perfectionist CMO. That leader wants every email campaign, live event, or piece of content to be error-free. One of their top initiatives has taken seven years to come to fruition. If that describes your culture, it’s going to be very challenging to consistently and rapidly deliver value to your customers and cultivate a culture of experimentation. Eventually, your customers will go somewhere else.
- Focusing exclusively on execution vs excellence
Do you find yourself in a state of focusing exclusively on project execution, or project excellence? As a senior executive, you need to live in both worlds: you need to deliver an excellent experience to our customers, but you also strive to make our numbers every quarter. How do you strike a balance? If your CEO asks you to start “bribing” people to become customers through free gifts and massive discounts, don’t expect customers to stay loyal.
- Too much adherence to tradition
Tradition can undermine a culture of customer-centered experimentation and innovation — especially if your decision-making tradition is consensus driven. I see this happening often within organizations who are risk-averse, or do not trust their teams to take ownership of business outcomes. I applaud you for building consensus – but just know that your competitors will be much more capable of predicting your next move, and you will be competitively vulnerable. Instead, we need to have more versatility around how we make decisions. Choose the method based on urgency and the level of commitment required to succeed. Here’s a post on the seven options.
- Undervaluing values
Some CMOs continue to focus a lot of their energy on the demographics of their ideal audience. The 90s called, and they want their customer segmentation strategies back. David Allison, the CEO of Valuegraphics, has conducted over 500,000 surveys to find out what do people care about what are their core values, and he came up with a list of 56 core human values. Marketers need to know what their target audience cares about before mapping customer journeys, messaging, content calendars, and other key marketing anchors.
- Having a fixer obsession
It feels GREAT to help your peers fix problems, isn’t it? But this habit can derail your career. If you’re spending most of your time focusing on fixing the past, or cleaning up your inbox, you will not be able to reflect or design the future—those are the qualities of a marketing innovator. Being the fixer worked for Joe Pesci’s character story in “Casino,” but it doesn’t work in high performing organizations. Whenever I am coaching a VP of C-Level executive, we aim for them to allocate at least 20% of their week on reflection and designing the future.
- Neglecting Nurturing
Ponder this: when does nurturing of your customer begin? If it doesn’t begin until a lead actually comes in, or after a customer pays, you will be less able to understand what your customer values, what content they care most about, and how you can improve your product or service. Laurie Truitt, VP of Growth at TIME Inc., told us “nurturing starts before you even get a subscriber.” Through extensive testing, they discovered that people who are nurtured carefully turn into better subscribers. That’s why they invest heavily in daily newsletters that fuel signups.
- Living in silos
Silos can make or break a smooth, seamless customer experience. Engage small cross functional teams in conversations tied to delivering value faster to your best customers. I am a big believer that the Customer Experience and Marketing functions should be combined. Ask teams to take shifts in the call center, actively participate in sales calls, and contribute to online customer community chats each month. It’s an ambitious idea; I know. Yet it’s the only way to reduce assumptions and stop hiding behind surveys and reports.
Where does your customer value delivery value fall short? Where do they lose patience with your organization? Drop me a note and share your thoughts.
If you’d like to learn more about the top COVID Customer Shifts that will forever alter your marketing and growth plans in the new era, I will be hosting a private session for senior marketing leaders on June 8th. I’ll be sharing some powerful case studies from TIME, The Great Courses, Salesforce, and a $1B E-Learning company. Contact Callyn to register.
P.S. Want to grab the full story? Click here to watch the live stream.