Updated: Feb 12
Crafting a great customer experience is key for a successful organization in today’s market. But the responsibility of creating and sustaining a great customer experience program shouldn’t be championed by the Customer Experience team alone. Customer experience and operations are two important components of a successful business. They work together to ensure that customers have a positive experience with a company, and that the company's operations run smoothly and efficiently.
What Customer Experience can do for Operations
A good customer experience partner should be reviewing and advising on the overall perception that a customer has of a company's products or services, including the operational aspects. This would include all the interactions and touchpoints that a customer has with the company, from the initial contact to post-purchase support. In retail, this would be how a customer might view something on a website, decide to come in to the physical store, the service they receive, and post purchase experience, for example - a return experience.
The customer experience team works to use data from the customer journey to cultivate a better customer experience. Meanwhile, the operations team is all about making processes efficient and making smart decisions. When a process or procedure is not enhancing the customer’s experience the customer service department is the first to hear of the issue. What better way to resolve a customer experience problem than by finding the source and fixing it organization wide.
When these teams work together, they can identify a process that benefits the entire business.
Effective operations are essential for ensuring that customers receive the products or services they want, when they want them, and in the condition they expect. Poor operations can lead to delays, mistakes, and other issues that can negatively impact the customer experience.
Implementing an experience framework in your store operations
How should customer experience and operations work together? Here are a few key ways:
Customer feedback - the voice of the customer
Customer feedback is crucial for both customer experience and operations. By listening to what customers have to say about their experiences, companies can identify areas where they need to improve the customer journey, as well as areas where their operations are falling short. This can help them make necessary changes to better meet the needs and expectations of their customers.
A few examples of customer feedback include:
Calls to customer service
Social media accounts
In my experience, a best practice is the implementation of real time feedback into store operational processes. For example, having store directors receive feedback on a regular cadence (real time, daily, weekly) to be able to react to and implement changes if need be. I'm not advocating a reactionary approach, but rather a systematic way to understand what friction the customer might be experiencing and putting counter measures into place as part of the operation.
By analyzing customer feedback and data about their operations, companies can identify opportunities for systems and processes improvement. This could include streamlining production processes, improving the efficiency of their supply chain, or making changes to their delivery systems. These improvements can help reduce costs and increase customer satisfaction.
For example, a retail company might read comments on their social media channels about slow response time when customers email customer service. This is the perfect time for Operations to come in and review the customer service ticket process. They can find ways to improve response times through templates, processes and software. By improving the processes it improves the customer service department and improves overall customer experience.
A great way to identify processes that might be broken within operations is by conducting a journey mapping exercise together with your customer experience. Gathering several team members from the front line, along with customers and operational leaders will lead to a robust and effective exercise that points out where there might be customer friction within a process.
Our customer journey mapping template is a great place to start.
For customer experience and operations to work together effectively, there must be strong communication and collaboration between the two teams. Customer experience professionals should be involved in the design and implementation of new processes and systems, and operations teams should be aware of the needs and expectations of customers.
Effective collaboration between customer experience and operations teams is essential for ensuring that a company's products and services meet the needs and expectations of its customers. Here are a few key ways that these teams can work together:
Both customer experience and operations teams should have access to relevant data and information about the customer journey and the company's operations. This could include customer feedback, data about the performance of products and services, and information about the efficiency of various processes. By sharing this information, both teams can better understand the needs and expectations of customers and identify areas for improvement.
Regular communication between customer experience and operations teams is crucial for ensuring that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goals. This could include regular meetings or check-ins, as well as the use of shared project management tools to track progress and identify areas of concern.
Both customer experience and operations teams should be working towards the same overarching goals, such as improving customer satisfaction or increasing efficiency. By aligning their goals and working together towards these shared objectives, both teams can make a greater impact on the success of the business.
For a clear path to success, the customer experience team should have influence over operations in some capacity or they should have a direct channel to the operations team. The organizational design and customer experience prioritization of your business will determine way to collaborate.
Once this structure is established, they can work together to identify experience issues that may come up like:
Customers reporting confusion about the return process
A malfunctioning of the point of sale
And many more
Collaboration with Marketing
When customers are confused about this process, it can lead to frustrated customers and frustrated staff. If this issue is reported, the Operations Directors would want to reevaluate their communication on returns whether that be through in store customer receipts, order confirmation emails, or redesigning the return desk signage, which might involve marketing.
Collaboration with IT
When the point of sale system is not working properly due to a server error, power outage, or malfunctioning of a key feature there could be a loss in in-store sales and frustrated customers. Although issues like this are very hard to minimize, the Operations Directors should identify a process to keep the POS up to date. In addition, they may want to identify a procedure for the event that the POS does malfunction so that the in-store staff can be prepared at a moment’s notice.
With a clear picture of the gaps or mistakes in the customer experience, departments can work together to make plans for improvement. After these plans are solidified, they can then report to the Customer Experience team and work together to implement these plans across the organization.
Effective collaboration between customer experience and operations teams is essential for ensuring that a company's products and services meet the needs and expectations of its customers. By sharing information, collaborating on process design and improvement, communicating regularly, and aligning goals, these teams can work together to create a positive and seamless experience for customers.
Brilliant Workplaces has extensive experience with creating a customer-centric company, we provide services like Service Vision & Strategy Development, Customer Service Training, and Service Standards & Process Development to help you build a successful customer experience. To learn how we can help you become a brilliant workplace, visit our website today!