Fact: The “always-connected” customer has unprecedented access to your organization.
C-suite executives need to realize that how their business operates, what their organization believes in, the actions their employees take and the messages used to describe their business are … omnipresent. These messages and interactions define the employee and customer experience with your company. They also represent the new competitive environment that C-suite executives must contend with today.
What does this mean for the C-suite? Business transparency, employee engagement and the customer experience demand complete alignment between your company’s words (story) and actions (strategy).
It means your company’s words and actions matter more than ever before.
The words you use and the actions you take … define how employees and customers perceive their experience with your company. While your strategy drives desired actions, your message drives the storyline these critical stakeholders experience throughout their journey with your company. That’s why your story and strategy must be fully aligned. When they are not, the employee and customer experience breaks down. The perception of your brand is damaged. Employees and customers lose faith and trust in your company. And worst of all … they leave and go to the competition.
Achieving clarity and connectivity between your story and strategy.
A recent article in the Journal of Business Strategy stated, “In its simplest sense, a corporate story is a narrative tool that tells the tale of a company’s strategy in action. It is a clear, structured, compelling articulation of ‘‘who we are’’ and ‘‘where we’re headed’’ that rallies emotional and rational support from stakeholders.” The article continues, “More than mere words, however, the corporate story’s strength lies in its ability to align leaders, drive decision making and mobilize the organization.” That’s why every stakeholder involved in the employee and customer experience must deeply understand how your story and strategy connect.
Getting stakeholders to “instinctively” activate desired words and actions.
As a C-suite executive, it is your job to ensure that the corporate story and strategy are embraced at every level of the organization. This means every employee should be able to communicate with conviction … your company’s higher purpose … core go-to-market strategy … the value your company delivers and … your promise to customers.
However, for this to happen, C-suite executives must lead the charge. They must secure unwavering commitment from the entire leadership team to infuse shared beliefs and behaviors throughout the employee population. This is accomplished by designing and implementing a sustained internal organizational change initiative that ensures every employee can “instinctively” activate the company’s story and strategy as they engage with customers … and with one another.
Does it Really Matter?
C-suite executives who maintain alignment between their corporate story and strategy will deliver a superior employee and customer experience. And as a result, they will reap the rewards from increased employee and customer acquisition, retention and loyalty. In fact, according to Bain & Company, “Great customer experiences produce great business results. Look at companies such as Apple, Costco, American Express, Philips and Allianz. Different industries, different business models. But they have one thing in common — large and growing groups of passionate customer advocates, earned by delivering an experience competitors can’t match.”