Last week, I talked about the role your values should have in shaping your customer’s experience and as promised this week I’m going to pick up the second part of that equation – your purpose.
I’ve talked about the role of purpose across the organisation many times in the past. When purpose is translated into the core promise you make, its role in your customer’s experience is singularly important.
I know plenty of people like to tack brand onto this to describe promise in this context because when you bring the customer into the equation the very idea of brand becomes synonomous. I’ll resist that temptation, but feel free to think of it that way if it makes more sense for you.
Once you’ve translated your purpose (that enduring why that guides you across time but never changes even as everything you do does) into a promise you want to make today to stakeholders and customers in particular, the work becomes embodying that along with the values derived design principles we discussed last week.
“Are we keeping our promise?” becomes the first question you have to answer. It’s the lead design principle.
Zappos is a great high-profile example of this in action. “We’re a customer service company that sells shoes” puts what Zappos cares about front and centre. It drives the way it structures everything it does and how it does it. From policies and process to presence and promotions.
That’s not to say service has to be your promise. Yours might be an Apple-like focus on design and user experience, or a Walmart-style love of low prices. The important thing is not what your promise is (well okay, saying “we’re going to rip you off and treat you badly” probably won’t fly) – it’s that you have one and use it to guide what you do and how you do it.
And if you want that to translate into an aligned experience that your customers will care about and come back for, my best suggestion is to take your inspiration from all the guys who don’t do it – you know the companies, you deal with them every day.
Learn from what they don’t do. What drives you crazy? Work it backwards and look at why that is. What’s missing? What would have made it work for you? Was the promise missing in action or was something else going on?
Then apply that to your own company. It will be different for each of you. But one thing is constant: You have to be deliberate about mapping what you do and how you do it aligned to your puprose via promise and values via design principles. And then consciously build an experience that makes those things tangible to your customers via every point they come into connection with you.
If you don’t, they might buy from you once, but you’ll never have their devotion.
See you next week with “The most unpopular idea in the world.”
Michel is an independent brand analyst dedicated to helping organisations make promises they can keep and keep the promises they make – with a strong, resilient organisation as the result. She also publishes a blog at michelhogan.com.