- First, are customer experience programs tailored to this business-to-business, smart manufacturing ecosystem? Or do your programs utilize business-to-consumer tools?
- Second, does your organization focus on capturing end-to-end experience or simply feedback from decision makers?
My core professional mantra is: “Depending on where we sit around the business and operations tables, we all see the same things – differently.” Leveraging differences and similarities throughout the customer experience continuum is important when executing customer success and customer retention strategies.
Leverage insights from end user experience as the basis for new product design and process improvement. As a result, better serve existing internal and external customers. Then use these insights while acquiring new customers. Consequently, client teams become more engaged when part of a continuous improvement journey.
Do end users see the world the same way that decision makers do?
Decision makers are far more strategic than tactical and detail-oriented. So when leaders state your organization “stays close to the customer”, just how close are you really getting – and staying?
Consider that capturing end user experience is not a discrete segment of CX quantitative analysis. It is a continuum. When you measure CX now-and-then, what customer-driven insights do you overlook? And what happens when your organization misses out on these critical-to-quality and critical-to-process-improvement insights?
Customer experience is a qualitative as well as a quantitative endeavor. Capturing end user experience creates a culture of team listening, understanding, translating and defining opportunities. Articulating Voice of the Customer captures the subtleties of customer expectations, preferences, must-haves and no-no’s. It all boils down to the individuals responsible for listening and translating Voice of the Customer data. Where do these individuals reside within your organization? And are they collaborating with one another?
Is capturing End User Experience impeded by Smart Manufacturing Firewalls?
Marketing, sales and advertising disciplines within line of customer-facing business units are adept at capturing and measuring external customer experience. However, what happens when your product, solution or equipment is placed behind the security firewall of a smart factory?
The manufacturing leaders with whom I’ve spoken describe this phenomenon as the post-sale product and service “Black Hole.” Capital equipment, sensors and software often enter a secure and proprietary manufacturing ecosystem contractually mandated by your clients’ clients.
As a result, your own customers may not be receptive to sharing operational information to allow the business side of the organization to “stay close to the customer.” Does this Black Hole scenario limit capturing end user experience to:
- Anecdotal qualitative feedback from decision makers within the departments utilizing equipment, sensors and software. However, decision makers predominantly are not end users of what was sold to that client.
- Front of firewall monitoring of hypothetical performance scenarios. Then reporting to the folks behind the firewall who, again, are managers and decision makers rather than end users; and
- Too much guesswork about factors contributing to customer experience. These assumptions, over the long haul, impact customer success and customer retention.
Tech Teams create your best chance to capture End User Experience.
Within smart manufacturing environments, tech teams can operate as Voice of the Customer data collection units. Field operations and technical service teams often inhabit the front lines of the equipment-software user interface.
Often, when tech teams enter the business or operations equation when there is an anomaly, they are reactive, rather than proactive. Yet their tactical role impacts end user experience. If your equipment and software works flawlessly – which is what your sales team promised – tech team interaction with end users is sporadic.
How do you currently deploy these valuable employees? Do you consider them tactical “fix-it” agents or strategic assets critical to customer success and customer retention? To optimize the role of tech team interactions with end users, teach them to capture the end users’ voices between as well as during anomalies.
When Tech Teams capture end user experience, the Voice of the Customer is observed as well as heard.
Tech teams observe the holistic environment in which your equipment and software is deployed. When tech teams become proactive in their observations about people-machine interactions, they report real-time situational context for anticipating future anomalies and optimizing efficiency.
Your tech teams are “always on.” They are best suited for staying close to your customers. Tech teams literally offer your company a reality check on whether customer expectations are met by machine and software performance across the human interface. Post service, end user feedback becomes qualitative as well as quantitative. Execution of customer experience strategy leverages the continuum of front-of-firewall as well as behind-firewall Voice of the Customer insights.
Capturing end user experience impacts customer success and customer retention.
Engaging tech teams in the capture of end user experience creates a customer success opportunity for your organization. This opportunity is a function of the fate of these insights once observed and recorded as data points.
Is end user feedback analyzed and shared within, as well as across, line of business units? Or are these data sequestered inside departmental data kingdoms?
End user experience is a powerful tool when tech teams become collaborative partners in execution of customer success strategy. How close is your organization to implementing this type of engaged and innovative strategy? What are your next steps?
Planning your next team, corporate or association meeting? Searching for a one-on-one catalyst to get you unstuck? Engage me to present a One Millimeter Mindset ™ program! Delivered virtually or in-person. Contact me here.
Babette Ten Haken | Change Catalyst | Purpose-Driven Professional Innovation | Cross-Functional Team Leadership | Trust-Based Client Retention | In Person & Virtual Speaker, Consultant, Coach, Author |
Babette Ten Haken is a refreshingly extroverted STEM professional and skeptical thinker focused on intentional innovation. She helps people, teams and organizations make hard calls when designing products, services, careers and cultures. These are not easy conversations to have. Her ability to translate cross-functional conversations between left-brain and right-brain thinkers provides different pathways for behavior, response, insight and collaboration. Think of the strategic business and human capital value of moving beyond avoidance or group-think, together. Instead, let your creativity, critical thinking, and leadership skills co-develop together, one millimeter at a time. Her playbook of cross-functional collaboration, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon.com. Contact Babette here. Image source: Adobe Stock