“Transforming a brand into a socially responsible leader doesn’t happen overnight by simply writing new marketing and advertising strategies. It takes effort to identify a vision that your customers will find credible and aligned with their values.” – Simon Mainwaring
When people become customers, they essentially become important partners of the company. Just as everyone within an organization is aware of and shares a common vision, so also your company must understand that sharing your vision with customers is equally vital. Customers may share your enthusiasm but it will not be sustainable unless they are part of the long-term goals and vision of the company. The company’s vision must incite passion and excitement – not just within the organization, but in the minds of customers too. When everyone connected with your company shares a common vision, the attainment of goals is faster and possibility of ambiguity is reduced dramatically. In any case, given that every company must focus on its customers, putting together a customer experience strategy without a shared vision would be counter-intuitive to success.
Sharing your vision with customers would mean that your company is completely aware of who its customers are and how each customer’s ‘journey’ ties in with the company’s long-term goals. It is not wise or practical to underestimate the importance of a shared vision – it is possibly one of the strongest common factors that can create a bond and feelings of oneness in the mind of the customer, for your company. Sharing your vision with customers means that your company knows what they have set out to achieve, their pain points, challenges, and even achievements. By collecting, collating, and analysing the data that customers provide – formally and informally – your company would gain insight into the ‘mind’ of the customer. This understanding would make it easier to prepare a vision statement – keeping the customer’s expectations in focus – and sharing it not just with employees but with customers too. When customers see the commonality between the company’s vision and their own expectations, it is a lot easier for them to trust the company. After all your business exists for the customers and keeping them at the centre of everything, would make them ‘love’ your company more than any other player in the market.
We know that customer service should not be the domain of a single team but rather the culture and the guiding principle for any company. This commonality of purpose within the organization would enable each person to understand the importance of sharing your vision with customers. Unless you let customers know that they are the centre of your universe, it would be hard for them to feel engaged and loyal to your company. Convincing customers is not an easy or overnight job and hence requires that everyone in the organization is relentless in the pursuit to convey passion and dedication to their needs and expectations.
Planning to create a vision for the company could be the role of the top leaders. However, for it to be successful, it must be shared to gain buy in from every ‘quarter’ in the company – without agreement from all, the possibility of disagreements and resistance become all too real. Every person in the company, even the ones at the base level, contributes in some way and hence it is imperative that the company does not ignore any one. This is the first and most vital step. Building on the first step, leads to the fact that unless you share your vision with customers they would remain unaware of how the company plans to move forward and what it is planning for them. For winning customers over for life, it is important that they be ‘involved’ in at least those aspects that would affect them directly – the experiences they have with the company, for example.
Creating a common vision in the company and sharing it with customers, portrays your company as a ‘united force’ that is strong. Such an impression in the minds of customers bodes well for a company – it builds confidence and feeling of conviction. In addition, sharing opens up avenues for two-way communication, which helps to remove resistance that arises out ambiguity, uncertainty, and confusion. If customers were to resist an endeavour, even if it were directed towards making things better for them, it would never work. Lack of understanding would most certainly arouse suspicion and hence sharing your vision with customers is a much better way to remove any obstacles or barriers. When customers know that the vision is aimed at enhancing their experiences and managing their expectations, they too would contribute towards making it a success.
We have mentioned earlier, that customers are ‘partners’ of a company and sharing the vision with them and the employees, will inspire and motivate each person to look at future success and do their best to get there. Sharing your vision with customers and employees builds a high performing ‘team’, working in a single direction, which in turn would lead to the quicker realization of goals and targets. Given the shift in power to customers, every company must have a customer-centric vision and culture, without which it would be tough to interest customers. Sharing this vision with employees lets them know what the company expects with regard to customer centricity and the steps they need to take together to ensure service excellence at all times. Sharing your vision with customers accelerates growth – customers can see the answer to ‘what’s in it for me’ and would be more than happy to associate with a company that puts them at the centre. Not only would they provide repeat business, but would also be willing to lend invaluable insights and suggestions, and let others know about how they have gained from the company.
Sharing your vision with customers seems like the obvious thing to do. Given that it revolves around them, they should know about the vision, such that their interest and engagement with the company becomes deeper with time. Since the market changes continuously, employees leave from time to time, and customer needs and expectations alter, having a shared vision will keep your company focused and on track. Given that there is no business without customers, keeping them at the ‘heart’ of the vision, would ensure that, the company continues down a path of development, profitability, and success. A company must focus on delivering high quality experiences each time and a company-wide vision around customers, will help everyone to know how to deliver those ‘wow’ experiences.
Sharing your customer-centric vision with the main beneficiaries shows them that the company is striving towards engagement and loyalty as a long-term goal, with consistent steps along the way. They in turn would reciprocate by standing with the company in times of hardship and during financial downturn. With a strong and loyal customer base, a company would be unstoppable and undefeatable – and every company wants this. A common vision shows customers that they guide everything that the company does – that the company would do everything to keep them happy and exceed their expectations. Happy customers want to make a company more successful, which in turn keeps employees satisfied and willing to give their very best. Such feelings do not go away – they become ingrained in all those associated in any way with the company, strengthening it with time. Have you shared your vision with customers yet?