On 16th March TNS UK and Millward Brown Vermeer showcased the latest thinking on customer experience and the voice of the customer.

The three key themes highlighted at our seminar include how to:

  • Drive customer-centric growth
  • Truly understand your customers and their experiences
  • Experience innovation in an agile world.

Attendees heard from customer experience thought-leaders:

  • Adam Caplan, Senior Director, Millward Brown Vermeer
  • Graham Tocher, Commercial Director, UK & Global Customer Strategies Practice, TNS UK
  • Simon Wood, UK Customer Strategies, TNS UK.

Here are the seminar highlights:

Driving customer-centric growth in a connected society

We live in a connected society – by 2020 there will be an estimated 50 billion connected devices in the world1 – that is an average of 7 per person! Each one of these data-points represents a great opening for brands to leverage insights.

It’s hard to imagine the possibilities for the ocean of behavioural data these devices will provide; but this does mean brands will have the data available to figure out what customers really want so that they can become much more customer centric.


What are the drivers of customer centricity and how can brands achieve this goal?

It is essential that brands see customer centricity as a strategy and not an activity. As a strategic choice, customer centricity should be consistently guided by a compelling brand purpose, delivering on true customer needs, driving growth and commercial business value.

Using data from their Insights 2020 study, Millward Brown Vermeer uncovered 10 key drivers of customer centricity, clustered in 3 dimensions: total experience, customer obsession and insights engine.

The external dimension, delivering a total experience to customers, needs to be purpose-led by your brand, utilising data-driven customisation and driving brand touchpoint consistency. Customer obsession is a pillar promoted from within your organisation, embraced by all through internal collaboration and experimentation. Finally, insights engine consists of leveraging insights and analytics, unlocking the power of data and the critical capabilities of your business.


Truly understanding your customers and their experiences

In our new omni-channel world, customer views are increasingly shaped by different external factors and the experience of others. As a result, a clear understanding of your customers and their brand experiences now comes from both within and outside of your sector. At the core of this understanding comes the need to see customers as people, through their likes, dislikes and behaviour.

A beverage study from TNS outlines this with ‘in the moment’ customer feedback eliciting a different understanding. 

For online survey respondents, price and special offers were the primary factors in the decision making process. However when the individual found themselves at the bar, at the point of purchase, brand was seen to take preference. This added insight not only tells us a lot about consumer’s perceived and actual behaviour but also how closely tied customer and brand experience are.


Aligning brand and experience

For customers, the brand is the experience and vice versa. There is no distinction between the two. The brand positioning creates an expectation of the experience, and the experience influences the way they think about the brand. When the brand promise and customer experience are perfectly aligned, the brand is in harmony with its customers. But when customers find a disconnect between the brand promise and what they experience, they notice: and they feel let down.


Experience innovation in an agile world: Define your customer strategy roadmap

It is clear that becoming truly customer-centric requires a clear roadmap for the organisation entailing a crisp articulation of the customer strategy and what success looks like. This is an important step for the organisation to unify itself around the customer. Goals should be clearly described in improved RoI terms, such as growing revenue, reducing churn, or specific efficiency gains in customer service.

TNS Customer strategy roadmap

Of course an important component of the roadmap is the integration of customer insight, performance metrics, and customer outcomes. Central to this is gaining a clear understanding of where opportunities exist to continually focus resources on those customer experiences which are most relevant and impactful from the customers’ perspective. Today we have advanced technology platforms and well refined analytics engines which can enable an incredibly agile response to customer care and processes to improve customer journeys. These capabilities in themselves are one part of the success story. We also need to anchor to a framework which continuously defines and refines customer value propositions at the most granular level. Propositions should be richly defined by the customer’s experience around specific missions and micro-journeys, and target the most relevant gain amplifiers & pain relievers. Designing and blue-printing these propositions unleashes customer-driven innovations which build a series of distinctive customer experiences, and at the same time spurs greater customer-centricity internally.


1 - Cisco, The Internet of Things: How the Next Evolution of the Internet Is Changing Everything