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Business experience – the new path to competitive advantage

Delivering a great customer experience is conventional wisdom for any CEO living in the twenty-first century. Yet many companies are focusing on only one piece of the overall puzzle and as a result, are failing to unleash true customer experience advantage.

Strategy

Jonathon Palmer

GLOBAL HEAD OF STRATEGY

Jonathon leads the global strategy and UX teams at Omobono, delivering world-class strategic thinking for global business brands. He has over twenty years’ experience at the frontier of digital technology and communications and a history of delivering award winning work across both the B2B and B2C space.

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Antonio Lucio, CMO of Facebook, stated: “2018 will be a breakthrough year for shifting from the boundless options and multiple devices of the ‘Information Age’ to the ‘Experience Age.’”

While we would agree with this statement, we’d take it one step further to say that we’re now living in the total experience age. When it comes to the experiences in our lives, we want it all.  We want great experiences not just as customers when we shop; but as employees when we work, and as candidates when we apply for jobs.

Antoni Lucio

However, many companies suffer from what can be described as experience inequality. This is where a company may be great in one area like customer experience (CX) but lousy in another, such as supporting the candidates’ journey into the business.

The costs of such inequality can be high for several reasons. Hiring and retaining great talent is a critical challenge – yet the job application process for a lot of companies leaves a lot to be desired. For many companies and in particular business brands, your people are your product as they play a central role in the delivery of services and can be the main driver of value.

With the UK and US’ unemployment rates at their lowest respective points in decades, the competition for talent is more intense than ever, meaning few companies can afford to drive away staff or let future talent slip through the net.

Candidate’s expectations are higher than ever, with 46% saying they would sever a business relationship due to negative experience according to Ideal.com.

Research from the Corporate Leadership Council shows that disengaged employees are 87% more likely to leave than engaged ones.

To avoid the experience inequality trap, companies must view the business experience as a whole. This is because great customer experience is built on the foundation of a rewarding employee experience, which starts at the very first candidate touchpoint.

Team working

When these three areas align, the cumulative effects on business performance can be huge. According to analysis of over 250 leading companies by author Jacob Morgan at the Future Organisation, Experiential Organisations deliver more than twice the average revenue and over four times the average profit when compared to Non-experiential Organisations. They also require 20% fewer employees and experience 40% lower staff turnover.

Business Experience

To build a compelling business experience, companies can decide to either tackle each area individually or appoint someone with overall responsibility at board level, such as a Chief Experience Officer.

But with strong leadership in each area as an essential factor, experience design experience touches so many parts of the organization – each one with their own set of stakeholders.

Take customer experience for example: our 2018 What Works Where research shows that sales, customer services, marketing, operations, HR and IT can all play a role.

Employee experience also involves multiple teams. The three key ingredients here are a strong culture, consumer-grade technology and an inspiring physical environment that brings people together.

People working at tables

What’s clear from both of these examples is that that different silos must be able to work closely together around mutual interests.

Having a companywide set of experience design principles can also help create a shared language and makes delivering consistency across all brand touchpoints easier.

The foundation for all this? Thorough research both inside and outside the organisation – listening not only to the voice of the customer but to that of employees and candidates as well.

This means doing proper insight work and using tools like personas, user scenarios and experience mapping with the same rigour for candidates and employees as you do for customers. And it also means getting cross-functional teams together to share insights and stories about what’s working and what’s not.

Armed with these insights, companies can put together a strategy and approach to experience design that addresses their audiences’ needs across each area and the business as a whole – helping to end experience inequality and unleash true competitive advantage.

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