Three UK Uses A Four-Step Process To Solve CX
Tom Malleschitz, CMO of Three UK, describes how the telecoms and Internet service provider implements the insights from the Adobe report “The Unified Customer Experience Imperative.”
The Adobe report “The Unified Customer Experience Imperative” argues that in the digital age the marketing function must deliver “a consistent, relevant brand experience that spans all channels and touch points, whether customers are online or offline.” This is down to the fact that audiences have more touch points with brands than ever before—whether it’s mobile, online, or in person.
Consumers also expect more from the brands they buy into, not least because organisations that are successfully connecting their customers’ experience every day have raised the bar.
As the Adobe report details (Adobe is CMO.com’s parent company), it’s these players that are creating “relationships that inspire loyalty, reducing acquisition costs and increasing the customer’s lifetime value to the brand.”
It’s a position the majority of organisations aspire to be in. Businesses like the John Lewis Partnership do this very successfully, for example its Waitrose supermarket’s Quick Check service allows customers to scan the products they like in-store and pay digitally without having to go to the checkout. It’s online shopping but with a personal touch.
The research from Adobe goes on to reveal that “76% of marketers said marketing has changed more in the last two years than in the previous 50.” It’s no surprise then that some organisations are getting left behind, as huge digital advancements are made that are hard to keep up with.
The solution, according to Adobe, is a four-step process—aligning executive leadership, organisational structure, channels, and technology investments.
Smaller startups have an organisational advantage, while established companies face a much larger task, so I don’t believe it’s possible to define exactly how an organisation should approach improving customer experience—but Adobe provides a good toolkit here.
Establishing Brand Purpose
As the report suggests, it goes without saying that leadership is a crucial part of the process in shifting to a consumer-centric culture.
At Three, our customer-centric approach to the whole business comes directly from the top. Two years ago we set about creating a solid brand purpose to align the business towards one unified goal. At the start of that journey we asked ourselves: “Why are we here?” The answer is that we are here to inspire consumers to use the Internet more and to share experiences.
This led to the development of our “Make It Right” for customers brand platform. It’s an approach that makes us act differently to other networks. In 2013 we scrapped roaming charges and we were the first not to charge for 4G.
Collaboration Drives Consistency
The second rule that Adobe highlights is to “align marketing with other customer-facing departments.” This is something that I’m particularly proud of at Three. We ensure everyone across our business understands exactly what we’re trying to achieve by educating staff on brand purpose, how we wanted to reinvent the rules to make mobile better, and empowering them to respond through “If it sucks, make it right.”
We live and breathe it. Our CEO and other senior executives take part in road shows, where they take Three’s brand purpose to staff across the country. Whether employees work in store, in our call centres, in sales, or elsewhere, they are all equipped with the same tools and, hopefully, the same vision to then use when interacting with customers.
I, therefore, couldn’t agree more strongly with the statement from Harvard Business Review: “Inspiration strengthens commitment, of course, but when it’s rooted in a respected brand purpose, all employees will be motivated by the same mission. This enhances collaboration and, as more and more employees come into contact with customers, also helps ensure consistent customer experiences.” This is exactly how we run our business and will continue to do so.
It’s also important to align all departments across the business. We have a cross-functional model, where staff from departments including sales, retail, online, communications, SEO, insights, PR, advertising, and social media are assigned roles within each project. An execution manager then leads each project team to ensure that the piece of work is delivered seamlessly, cohesively, and with the customer’s experience at the forefront.
For a brand operating in the consumer technology industry, it’s incredibly important to align channels and connect the digital and physical experience. As a mobile network, we provide the means for our customers to communicate, therefore how we communicate with them is absolutely crucial.
As an example, when we launched our “Make It Right” campaign starring our purple puppet Jackson, he became a core part of the engagement. Not only did customers engage with our brand through him on television, they also heard him when they rang our call centres, they could speak to him on social media, and our stores underwent purple makeovers. He represents the “Make It Right” message that we want all customers to understand and engage with.
Choosing The Right Experience
Adobe’s final “rule” for improving customer experiences is aligning digital maturity with customer experience goals. In other words, the organisation needs to assess which channels are crucial to its customers and invest in them.
Our main audience segment tends to be early adopters, so we use a lot of digital communications channels. That said, as a retail brand as well as a network provider, in-store experience is very important. When consumers go in-store, they should feel immersed in the digital world of Three no matter how technically advanced they may or may not be; it’s our job to find the appropriate way to connect with them.
At Three, retail works closely with the online digital team, which specialises in understanding digital customer journeys, to ensure the customer experience surpasses expectations.
We have a couple of projects to test this year, involving making low-level changes for our existing customers, such as giving them options to charge devices for free when they’re out and about on the high street.
Last year we wanted to create a buzz in store but also to educate the proposition that customers could use their phones abroad at no extra cost. Using our digital support teams and our in-store AV (audio-visual) screens, we created a game where customers could play on the AV screen from their personal smartphones. During the activity, we saw a 15% increase in footfall into these stores not only for prizes that had been won, but also for further information on the proposition.
Overall, we recognise that, as a digital business, we need to be showcasing the very best technology to connect with our customers in-store and are investing in this area to encourage loyalty as part of our base strategy.
Staying One Step Ahead
The report’s closing summary comes back to my earlier point: “As new companies—born executing digital best practices—enter the marketplace and legacy enterprises make incremental improvements, they’ll continually raise your customers’ expectations of what’s possible.”
This is why I believe it’s important to be one step ahead of the competition in understanding where customers are spending their time, where they’re engaging with brands, and where they’re experiencing best-practice brand experiences. Companies that don’t will undoubtedly lose out.