Every aspect of your business that touches the customer matters. It’s not just about successful lead generation. It’s not just about great sales conversion rates. It’s not just about a better than average Net Promoter Score. Christine Crandell, a contributing editor with Forbes Magazine said it best, “Customer experience is not restricted just to the attract-engage-convert-close funnel. Rather it is about the lifetime experience the buyer expects to have with a vendor.” What this means is every phase of the customer experience matters. And only when all three phases are performing at a high-level can a company reach it’s full potential. These three phases are: self-service, sales process and post-purchase, but if there is one aspect of your business that connects and directly impacts every phase of the customer experience, it’s your corporate story. More specifically, the messages prospects and customers consume throughout their journey with your company. From a prospect’s first encounter with your website, to the conversations they have with your sales team, to the connections they have with your customer support team — and everywhere in between — your story is omnipresent.
The question is, what is that story and how consistent is it?
The story most prospects and customers consume throughout their journey is fragmented and inconsistent, which negatively impacts business performance. Why? Because an inconsistent story creates customer confusion, uncertainty and doubt, and negatively impacts loyalty and trust. And we all know the foundation of any lasting, profitable customer relationship is trust. That’s why consistently communicating who you are, what you do, the value you deliver and what you stand for is so critical. And yet, most company stories are far from consistent. There are three primary barriers that prevent companies from delivering a clear, compelling and consistent story throughout the customer experience. These barriers are:
- Distributed ownership
- Functional silos
- Multi-channel integration
Distributed ownership, functional silos and multi-channel integration barriers have been constructed within your organization, across the communication channels you utilize and the partner-ecosystem you manage. These barriers are negatively impacting how your story is developed and delivered throughout all three phases of the customer experience.
The good news is, CEOs and CMOs that acknowledge this reality and break down the barriers preventing the company from delivering a consistent story will win. They will win because they will tell a consistent story throughout the customer experience that establishes “a firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength” of their company in the mind of their customer, which is the definition of trust.
Those who don’t can make all the other operational, technology and process changes they think may improve the customer experience, but in the end, their story will be disjointed. Customers will still walk away from their experience with “a feeling of uncertainty or lack of conviction, which is, by the way, the definition of doubt.