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Posted 20 December 2020 by
Pieter Van den Meutter
Director Transformation Excellence Practice

Customer experience: A key driver for future supply chain strategies

What’s cooking in the world of supply chains in 2020? Actually, according to the Gartner Hype Cycle for Supply Chain Strategy, one of the most trustworthy sources in this area, customer experience is reaching the top of the peak of inflated expectations.

The current supply chain customer experience peak

The fact that customer experience is reaching its peak can mean one of two things. Either the bubble will burst pretty soon, or it will prove its value for supply chain strategy in the coming years and become a true game-changer for supply chains. Personally, I am pretty sure it means the latter.

Moreover, when taking a closer look at analyst predictions, it is expected to reach maturity/plateau in 2-5 years. In terms of defining strategy and rolling out tactics in order to result in efficiently functioning operations, 2 to 5 years is peanuts! You might as well say that it is standing right in front of the door, just like Christmas at this time of year. You’d better start thinking about wrapping those presents soon, or you’ll end up without one…and trust me, that can be very embarrassing.

Also, that last comparison holds, in my opinion. Looking at the pace at which the landscape of customer experience is evolving, you’d better start thinking about it and act upon it now or face the risk of lagging behind in the coming years.

The journey toward a customer-centric mindset

I think we all agree that customer experience is a key differentiator in building and maintaining a strong relationship with customers. Organizations have—or should have—one clear common goal that applies to everyone in the company: serving the customer and making a profit by doing so. Yet, establishing an astonishing customer experience not once but time after time, over and over again for every customer at every touchpoint, is not an easy job. Nevertheless, it sure is one of the greatest ambitions to have with an exceptionally high-value creation potential. To unlock this potential, you’ll need more than just one key. You need to start small, discover the potential keys and begin using them to open the locks.

But how?

Here are 5 small steps that can help you to get started:

  1. Start with small VoC initiatives to learn about their potential.
  2. Map key customer journeys and understand touchpoints—experience it yourself end to end.
  3. Think about customer value drivers, as they are dynamic over time. Have you evolved with them?
  4. Balance “doing things rights” & “doing the right things”—the same words but different questions to be answered.
  5. Start every improvement initiative with the question “What does it mean for our customer” and dare to put customer value targets into all business projects.

When should you start dancing?

A wise man once told me that the party starts with the first (wo)man dancing. Another great analogy. So you’d better be prepared when your song comes on!

Do you feel the same way about the potential of customer experience in supply chain strategy, and do you share our passion for generating pure value for customers? Then we should definitely connect and have a chat (over coffee).

So, wondering when you should start dancing to get that party started? Let’s connect and find out together!

And last but not least, enjoy this time of year with friends and family in a safe way. Because that’s an experience that is not translatable into value. It’s priceless.