Marketing’s Important Role in CX Excellence

Let me start this column by congratulating recent winners of Temkin Group’s 2012 Customer Experience Excellence Award: EMC, Fidelity Investments, Oklahoma City Thunder, Safelite AutoGlass, and Sovereign Assurance of New Zealand. A group of industry experts judged these five firms as the best of the best among a strong set of applicants.

While any company can improve portions of its customer experience (CX), it takes more than some ambition and a few superficial changes to create lasting differentiation and loyalty. To win this award, companies had to demonstrate success across what we call the four customer experience core competencies:

  • Purposeful leadership: Leaders operate consistently with a clear, well-articulated set of values.
  • Compelling brand values: Brand attributes are driving decisions about how you treat customers.
  • Employee engagement: Employees are fully committed to the goals of your organization.
  • Customer connectedness: Customer feedback and insight is integrated throughout your organization.

Hopefully marketers see an opportunity to help across all four of those areas. Great customer experience requires strong support from marketing. While marketers can play a role across all of these competencies, they must step up the most when it comes to compelling brand values. I started to make that point in a previous column, Is Your Brand an Empty Promise?

In a recently published Temkin Group report, Lesson in CX Excellence, we examined the efforts of the five award winners along with six other finalists: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Bombardier Aerospace, Citrix, JetBlue, Microsoft, and Oracle. Here are some highlights in their efforts around compelling brand values:

  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan: BCBS of Michigan’s Customer Commitment guides the way the organization serves its members. It focuses the company on being easier to understand and do business with in everything from language to business practices. The related Clear and Simple effort generated over 50 requests from across the business to help different areas become more clear and simple, and involved 375 employees in those improvement projects.
  • EMC: ACES (Advancing Customer Experience and Satisfaction) is EMC’s internal social network that was established to enhance communication and information sharing for its dedicated service teams to help them better serve customers. The site provides up-to-date resources on customer experience, current metrics and customer feedback, executive videos and blog posts, along with a Q&A section and the opportunity to review best practices that have been submitted from across the organization.
  • Fidelity Investments: Fidelity Investment’s core values, which start with “The customer is always first,” form the broader public pledge made to clients when they come to Fidelity. The pledge has been translated into specific advantages Fidelity provides for customers and into the company’s CX principles, which define the behaviors exhibited to customers every day. The principles are integrated into new hire onboarding, coaching, evaluations, and employee communications.
  • JetBlue Airways: The airlines five values—Safety, Caring, Integrity, Fun, and Passion—influence decisions from the product provided (e.g., first bag free) to supporting the company’s home base of New York City following Hurricane Sandy. The “Caring” value drove JetBlue’s actions following the storm to help NYC residents hardest hit with monetary and compassion measures.
  • Safelite AutoGlass: Based on customer research, Safelite has identified five brand values—Trustworthy, Reliable, Safe, Innovative, Helpful/approachable. These have been translated into how customers are treated in a variety of ways, including how phones are answered by contact center associates to the “5 Ts” that their field technicians use to highlight their helpfulness and approachability.

It’s hard to see how a marketing organization can succeed if the company fails at the four customer experience competencies. So it’s critical for marketers to not only participate in customer experience, but to help drive the development of these capabilities. And there’s probably no better place to start than with compelling brand values.

The bottom line: Marketing needs to build CX competencies.

  Bruce Temkin, managing partner and customer experience transformist at Temkin Group, a customer experience research and consulting company. He is widely viewed as a leading expert in customer experience.
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