Merely targeting "Customer Satisfaction", in my view, is a pretty low bar to set today.
Think about it - no customer comes to you expressly to be dissatisfied - 'satisfaction' is a most basic minimum expectation. And so, if you as a firm are planning programs in 2015 to establish just satisfaction, then I'd say you might need to think again; because that is as good as having a plan to merely not dissatisfy.
And that's really not good enough, especially if your competitors are able to provide customers in the same market not just 'satisfaction', but something more, a plus factor that seems to please customers more, even making them stick.
So the bottom-line is, achieving customer satisfaction can no longer be a competitive differentiator, much less the path to creating loyal customers.
The ubiquity of information on just about every product ever sold and add to that, in-your-face reviews from customers, is all shaping customer expectation like never before. Customers want more and it is not difficult to see why expectations are tilting more and more towards a better 'experience'.
A little over a month ago, Forrester Research's Clay Richardson wrote on how Customer Experience will be an important central focus for BPM in 2015 and how it will in fact re-shape the landscape for BPM.
Clay, in his November 2014 blog post titled Customer Obsession Set to Disrupt BPM Market In 2015 says,
In 2015, customer-obsession - the relentless focus on winning, retaining, and serving customers - will disrupt and reshape the entire ecosystem for BPM.
And not just BPM, I might add. This is very well going to be the fundamental driving force beneath any business technology initiative.
So what is the secret sauce?
So as a firm looking at adopting BPM for such benefits what does it mean to you? What does it take to get on that journey?
If you fall for the easy temptation and believe that the silver bullet is in picking a nice tool, 'optimizing' related processes, building and deploying an application, and then sitting back and watching delirious customers all around, you might need to think again.
Because, at the core, BPM maybe a great idea, but it is not at all about just BPM or technology. There is something far more important and deep rooted that needs attention first.
What we are talking about really is customer centricity in earnest, which brings about, as Clay put it in his post, "the relentless focus on winning, retaining, and serving customers". 'Customer Obsession', is definitely not something that a great process or a tool can give you.
So what can?
In one phrase, I like to call it "Enterprise Ethos".
It is what comes about when that sense of obsession Clay speaks of, takes root in the psyche of every employee, is all pervasive and becomes a culture, creating a collective force of customer centricity in every action, in every function, not just among agents. And then, every time a customer engages with your firm, they unfailingly encounter someone who seems to be on a personal mission to delight, working up a superior experience supported by the energy of the entire organization.
This 'Enterprise Ethos' I am talking about is indeed a general attitude towards not just the customer, but indeed towards work itself. It is best summed by a quote more than 60 years old by Mahatma Gandhi -
"A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption on our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider on our business. He is a part of it. We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to do so."
If you are able to establish such an ethos towards the customer, we can step back and watch the magic of the process and all the shiny tools aligning brilliantly, taking us on the journey from delivering satisfaction to delight and indeed to eventually delivering a superlative experience for every customer.