Creating a Customer First Focus
Our client is a market leader in the UK leisure and entertainment industry. They have 80 entertainment sites and 5,000 people. The business is profitable with a customer base of some 13 million and sells more tickets per year than the closest competitors. Their strategy has been one of cost leadership in a very competitive marketplace. However, despite their obvious popularity only 3 out of 10 customers were aware of their brand. Their nearest competitors on the other hand enjoyed customer unprompted awareness scores, respectively of 7 out of 10 and 8 out of 10. As a consequence their competitors were able to charge higher prices and achieved higher margins.
The client was well aware of the issues and was in the process of developing a number of strategic initiatives to improve their competitive capability, ranging from new IT systems, e-commerce & e-marketing to new formats & enhanced technology at sites. They recognized that they needed a coherent customer strategy to make sense of these initiatives and that they required some external assistance to make sure it all fitted together and could be delivered.
The client asked us to review their strategy, proposed initiatives and their ability to manage a change programme encompassing many project areas.
We produced a programme plan encapsulating their initiatives into a single theme, namely to put the customer first. The touchstone for each initiative was “Does it add value to the customer offering and to the bottom line?” The strategic premise underpinning the approach was that the business should move away from a cost leadership model to a differentiated service offering. If customers experienced better service (13m customers passed their doors every year) and a better overall experience they would remember the brand and recommend it to their friends. Brand awareness would improve and the business would be able to compete on service rather than price.
The client asked us to help them implement the programme plan – which we called the Customer First Programme.
Key Project Activities
The programme comprised of the following activities:-
- Customer research – to understand customers current views of the customer journey and how they would like it to improve
- Staff research – to understand current values/behaviors and how these would need to change to meet customer needs.
- Systems strategy, selection and project managing the implementation – the company had legacy systems which needed to be replaced in order to deliver an efficient service and facilitate the on-line marketing strategy
- E-commerce/e-marketing strategy, planning and project managing the implementation – the e-commerce platform required re-development to enable the capture of customer data for targeted marketing. The e-marketing strategy required delineation to target market to 4 customer groups.
- Branding – the brand strategy and positioning needed development and alignment with the business objectives.
- Customer service proposition – having understood customer needs the customer service proposition needed to be clearly defined and tested (via focus groups) to match those needs
- Entertainment site design – although this had evolved in a somewhat erratic fashion, the time was apposite to clearly define the physical site of the future, incorporating all the ideas and needs of customers.
- Identity and Communications – the brand identity required clear articulation to match the brand positioning. This then required communication to staff and customers.
- Staff alignment/engagement – the above represented a significant change in direction for the business and the staff were the ones who would bring it about.
The following schematic explains the programme logic:-
In order to deliver the programme we created a project structure based on the principles of facilitated change as follows:-
- On-Line Customer Experience – objective to improve the on-line customer experience and enable customer dialogue:-
- IT – project management of systems selection and implementation
- E-commerce – project management of web design and build
- E-marketing – facilitation of marketing change team
- Physical Customer Experience – objective to understand customer needs and improve the physical customer experience
- Customer strategy team – facilitation of the senior multi-disciplinary team to develop the customer strategy, plans and communications.
- Staff alignment/engagement team – facilitation of the multidisciplinary team to determine how the business would need to change and how to implement.
- Customer service team – facilitation of the multidisciplinary team to determine the desired customer service offering and how to implement.
- Physical site team – facilitation of the multidisciplinary team to determine the entertainment site of the future
The programme has been a great success. The foundations of change have been firmly embedded in the business and the change agenda continues. The organisational values are now regarded as a key component/enabler in the delivery of the brand promise. Customers have been placed at the forefront of the strategic intent and operational delivery.
The customer first change programme has the following benefits:
The benefits achieved so far (24mths since commencing the programme):-