I am sure this has been done a million times, but I am going to compare our engagements with customers to a playbook for a sports team, more specifically and because I am Australian I will compare it to Australian Rules Football.
Every time we interact with a customer be it accidental or as part of an opportunity we should have a set play that we are running. If we think about it like a game of football, from the opening bounce there are multiple plays that can and will be run depending on which way the ball bounces. We are the home team, our competitors are the away team and the customer is the football. The objective is to get the customer through our goals.
From the opening whistle does our ruckman get the hit out or does the competition? What happens with each touch of the ball and how do we react in order to swing the play back in our favor? Let's say our ruckman gains control of the ball and taps it down to one of our mid-fielders to start the run of the ball. The ruckman could be seen as our lead generator and our mid-fielders as our sales team.
The first thing our sales team needs to consider is, what is the easiest and smoothest path for the customer to the goals. Is it a 'run and gun' with only one kick from the 50 meter arch through the goals? Or are we passing the ball directly into the full forward in front of goal for an easy and comfortable kick for the six points?
We run the second play and pass the ball to our full forward which is a play to bring in a sales specialist in the industry of our customer. During the play the full forward fumbles the mark and turns the ball over to our competitors. What is the key impact on the overall customer experience in situations like this? What is our customer thinking? How do we recover? What is our next set play?
Each time we touch the customer the experience is impacted and changes. Our team not only needs to be thinking two steps ahead and moving down the field as such, they need to be considering what happens if the play doesn't work. Most customers don't want too many touch points, they don't want to transition from one end of the field to the other before they reach the goals.
Continuing on, we are now faced with the prospect of a full field transition as we have regained control of the ball. Assessing the field and player positions our team should be able to run the right play to progress the customer through the goal. Which players need to touch the ball? What path down the field is the best to take? Is it better to take the customer on the shortest path again and try and kick a quick goal or should the team play the possession game this time and safely progress the ball down the field?
As you can see from these examples our teams need to be arms with playbooks for every type of customer engagement. We could go on for pages with different plays and different touch points, key being that we need to be mindful about the number of touch points, the number of players and the type of touches we have with our customer. If we have too few touches, or bring in too many players we can lose the customer to the competition. Additionally every customer is different so we need to run the right play for that customer. Further to this at the end of each game we should reassess our plays, learn from our previous experiences and adjust.
More importantly than anything the fans watching the game are potential customers. They will see how we handle the ball, how easy we make it to goals and how we react to turnovers and unexpected plays. Our last performance is what we are typically judged on.