By Buljan & Partners Consulting
The practice of paying for a service after using it (“pay-per-use model”) is becoming increasingly popular in current society. End customers and users are setting the pace of this trend as we can see in the private property sector (for example, housing and transport), which is decreasing in demand. Therefore, companies have to irremediably restructure their activity to meet these changing needs.
This trend is transforming the world of business, its culture and traditional ways of work which involve third parties, also known as partners, to carry out activities which are not part of their core business. This way, companies save on their structural costs and obtain the best resources available upon request.
Nevertheless, outsourcing services through partners may involve some risks regarding customer experience with the brand. In many cases, customers do not distinguish between companies and partners and mistakes made by partners may affect our image and, thus, the whole customer experience. If we want to offer a perfect customer experience, we should take into account some aspects when resorting to partners:
The importance of representing and sharing the same culture
Identifying, knowing and controlling the image of our company, to avoid affecting customer experience, is just as crucial as having partners that represent our culture and are part of it. Our culture defines us and makes us who we are. Changes in our image should go unnoticed by our customers. We must understand that partners must be an extension of some aspects of our company’s culture.
Aligning objectives and leadership
The company and the partner must have the same road map with regard to what they want to offer to their customers and how to do so. Their objectives need to be aligned in order to avoid any possible inconsistencies in customer experience. If a customer is satisfied with our partner, they will be satisfied with us too. However, if they have a bad experience with our partner, this will have irreparable consequences on our brand image. The leaders of our company and the leaders of our partners must work as a single unit by acting in synchrony with each other and having the same level of engagement and implication concerning Customer Experience.
Defining processes and measuring performance
Apart from sharing the same culture, objectives and leadership styles, we also need common operating and monitoring processes focused on Customer Experience with clear protocols that are used as a road map for the distinguishing service we are offering the client. These distinguishing protocols must be revised and their effectiveness must be measured, so that customers cannot tell the difference between our company and the partner. A mystery test is a good method to know whether the partner is achieving the established objectives or not.
Communication and technology
Partners must know the language we want to use with customers and the characteristics of our communications. Furthermore, technological systems must be aligned regarding uniqueness of data and communications with customers. For example, if a customer receives our product through a courier service, we must ensure that there are no wrong or confusing details, and communications to customers regarding order status are in line and consistent with time, manner and language criteria.
A brand that has successfully aligned Customer Experience strategy with their partners is Arval, an automotive company dedicated to vehicle renting and a model of Customer Experience. Arval guarantees an excellent customer experience throughout the Customer Journey. They have achieved this by creating specific training for their recommended CRA (Recommended Arval Centers) workshops, during which they explain their strategy and objectives concerning Customer Experience. Moreover, they give Customer Experience techniques and tools that guarantee a consistent experience and help them grow thanks to the improvement of the Customer Experience. Buljan & Partners Consulting, experts in Customer Experience consultancy, aided in defining and developing these training programs.
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