Consider the case of a small customer-centric business.
It knows its customers intimately and enjoys enviable loyalty in return. Word spreads. Sales increase. The business grows. All good, right?
But soon our little company is a much bigger company, with all the challenges that come with customer-centricity when you’re big.
You would think that big companies would be better at servicing their customers, with their resources and staffing and budgets. But the opposite is true. As staffing increases, so grows the distance between senior management and front-line staff, and therefore the customer. Middle management are inserted to bridge the gap, thereby creating, ironically, greater distance.
When the VPs lose touch with the “floor”, it’s game over.
A whole host of internal strategic planning issues now emerge to vie for the attention of management: inter-departmental communication; the need for processes; improvements to the delivery channels to handle the increased demand; staff morale; hiring and training; internal culture. It requires an entire new level of staffing to address these. It’s hardly surprising that, in the midst of all this internal change, the business loses sight of the customer.
So the customer, ignored and left to wonder about the schizophrenia now demonstrated by the brand that used to service her so well, goes in search of a better customer experience.
Off to the smaller business she will go. And the whole doomed cycle repeats itself.
So what’s a business to do?
The Brand Interventionist Recommends
Departments that don’t talk to each other are speaking different languages to the customer, so that’s the place to start.
Communication and internal alignment will bring a business back to the customer’s experience, so the brand promise should be applied to the internal culture first.
If Brand X is all about ease and simplicity, then these need to be the mantras inside the business. Billing, marketing, staff meetings, communications, incentives – everything is influenced. The business has to wrap itself in the brand flag from the inside out.
A business that figures out how the brand promise directs the internal issues has a puncher’s chance of keeping its customers around when it grows.