CX Strategy Aligns with Brand Promises
ARRIS is a world leader in entertainment and communications technology. ARRIS innovations combine hardware, software and services across the cloud, network and home to power TV and Internet for millions of people around the globe. The people of ARRIS collaborate with the world's top service providers, content providers and retailers to advance the state of the industry and pioneer tomorrow's connected world.
Your brand exists only in the minds of your customers and prospects. No amount of marketing can alter the brand if it doesn’t match up with customers’ actual experiences. At ARRIS, the vision is to be a technology company with a human point of view. That objective is lived out through an enduring focus on customers first, followed by a results-oriented approach incorporating strategy, innovation and teamwork.
In today’s world, it seems that every company tries to promote a strong focus on customers. Yet, as customers ourselves, we often experience a mismatch between a company’s intentions and our experience. Walker’s AccelerateCX maturity model benchmarking shows us that very few companies achieve this objective in its highest form.
How does a company live out a promise of customer focus? For ARRIS, it starts with effectively listening to customer needs – with a deliberate focus on the needs of their most strategic executive-level customer contacts who provide early guidance and deep insights into how well ARRIS is delivering against this critical brand promise.
It’s no question that effectively engaging customer executives represents a challenge for many CX initiatives, especially for those attempting to stretch their existing ‘traditional’ voice of customer methods to cover this audience. The ARRIS story exemplifies a modernized approach – one that garners a personalized and specific “human point of view” from top executives.
ARRIS’s Customer CONNECT initiative is a global voice of customer program that exists to accomplish four key objectives:
- Strengthen customer relationships
- Identify risks and growth opportunities
- Spur closed-loop action with customers when needed
- Live out ARRIS’s values
Customer CONNECT encompasses a variety of listening posts designed to effectively reach three different types of customer contacts:
- Executive (CxO) leadership level
- Mid-tier level of management and influence
- Engineers and end users of their products and services
At the pinnacle of this CX initiative is the Executive CONNECT program. The Executive CONNECT program is a series of one-on-one interviews with key senior leaders at ARRIS’s top accounts. Interviews are one hour in length, largely conducted by Walker to ensure an objective perspective, and often arranged as personalized face-to-face meetings in the comfort of the executive’s office.
Many top accounts have participated for many years in a row, and they continue to provide candid and actionable feedback to the ARRIS CX and leadership teams through this process.
From Walker’s perspective, here are 5 keys to ARRIS’s success with this program:
- Starting small – find out what works, build trust and then scale it out.
- Collaboration with the account team on selection of executive contacts as well as engagement prior to the interview to discuss current topics and areas of focus for each individual executive – ensuring the conversation is as relevant and meaningful as possible.
- Immediate access to transcripts, summaries and initiation of the closed-loop process through post-interview account team debriefs.
- Immense amounts of direct executive commentary captured alongside a few key rating questions – last year, more than 300 pages of top customer commentary were reviewed in depth by the senior leadership team.
- At ARRIS, the entire Customer CONNECT program ‘lives and breathes,’ with transformations and adjustments made each year to best suit the needs of all stakeholders.
The insights gained from the Executive Connect interviews aligned with ARRIS’s clear and intentional focus on customers, strategy, innovation, teamwork and business results. The insights:
- Provide an unfiltered view of customer feedback at the highest levels
- Prompt internal executive engagement in CX efforts
- Identify real risks and opportunities
From a customer engagement and program perspective, ARRIS has seen:
- Continued growth in account coverage and participation. The number of top accounts included has nearly tripled over 5 years through international expansion. Customer engagement is also strong, with 78% of the targeted accounts participating in 2016.
- Great depth and candor of feedback from executive-level contacts at major customer accounts.
- Customers commenting that they are impressed with ARRIS’s focus and investment in understanding their needs and goals – great evidence that they are truly witnessing the ARRIS brand promise of a human point of view.
One example of Executive Connect’s impact:
Situation: A few years ago, a large strategic customer was reluctant to participate in the executive listening program, signaling some discord in the relationship. Eventually convinced to participate, the customer expressed significant concerns with lacking onsite presence in their region.
Action: While this concern was previously felt by the local team, the formalized and direct feedback served as a springboard for action. Over eight months, ARRIS responded by onboarding a dedicated local account team and engaging its executive team in multiple on-site visits.
Impact: ARRIS now has greater partnership with this customer and regular access to top executives. As of last report, these changes contributed to the win of a significant new program valued at over $100M and forecasted 200% revenue growth in the next 6-12 months.
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