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Customer experience transformation is not something that happens overnight. The danger for many brands is trying to be ‘best in class’ within challenging timescales, prioritising speed over the quality of the transformation. This can be particularly damaging to companies, as it affects their internal and external credibility when they fail. For organisations hoping to achieve the best long-term results, they need to understand that the task is much like training for a marathon. The focus should be on how to improve most rapidly, without injury to business health.

The key to guided transformation

There are three elements which are central to healthy CX change:

  • Clarity of vision – a single, guiding idea, which can direct the overall experience
  • Sequenced focus – the appropriate and timely implementation of The Six PillarsTM
  • CX capability – the right investments in customer experience capabilities to ignite change

The key elements of customer experience transformation have become apparent through the analysis of successful CX brands both in the UK and abroad. American companies, in particular, stand as strong examples of organisations with clear visions and purposeful investment capabilities, carefully making decisions that are in-line with The Six PillarsTM. Brands such as USAA and Chick-fil-A put the customer first in everything, and they boast some of the best CEE scores in the world.

Helping people to prosper

There are many success stories in the United Kingdom too, and the financial CX brand Santander is an interesting case study in customer experience transformation. Since 2013, it has risen 141 places in the UK rankings, and now sits in a very respectable 53rd place, with a CEE score of 7.56. And one of the brand’s most fruitful endeavours has been the introduction of its 1:2:3 account, which delivers cashback on customers’ household bills, and interest on their balance. It also provides contactless payments via Apple Pay for those customers who use the iPhone 6 or Apple Watch.

In addition, Santander has recognised that trustworthy brand ‘ambassadors’ can help to re-establish credibility and boost results in the pillar of Integrity. After careful consideration, the brand discovered that customers bring a range of subconscious emotional responses to the use of celebrities in marketing campaigns and, subsequently, the respected sports personality Jessica Ennis Hill was used to represent the Santander brand. Her endorsement of the company in promotional materials helped to convince customers that Santander was a bank that could be trusted with their hard-earned money.

This initiative was accompanied with an intense focus on problem solving and business process improvement, with the brand accurately setting the customers’ expectations and demonstrating how simple its products and services were to use. In addition, Santander rolled-out Empathy training across 14,000 members of customer-touching staff, helping to create more memorable and emotionally-driven employee-customer interactions.

For Sue Willis, the Managing Director of Customer Experience and Channels at Santander, these changes are a testament to the company’s clear vision, made easier by technological innovation. “The transformation journey has never been more exciting – particularly with advances in digital – but above all else we will stay true to our core purpose of helping people and businesses to prosper,” she says.

This is something that many organisations can learn from, if they are hoping to undergo a customer experience transformation. Like Santander, the passion needs to be present, but brands also need to be patient; adherence to the key principles of vision clarity, sequenced focus and CX capability is more important than the speedy launch of a misguided initiative. Provided companies are willing to learn from research and take their time, they will soon discover that the ‘gentle’ approach is more beneficial to customers, and themselves, in the long-run.

For more customer experience insight visit the KPMG Nunwood CEM blog.

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