A new research report entitled 'The Four Customer Experience Core Competencies' from market research and consulting firm Temkin Group has identified the four main capabilities required for organisations to build and sustain customer experience differentiation. This article is copyright 2013 The Best Customer Guide.

The research, which updates a previous Temkin Group report from 2010, shows that organisations that provide great customer experience operate differently from their peers. These customer experience leaders master what Temkin Group calls the four customer experience core competencies:

  1. Purposeful Leadership:
    Operate consistently with a clear set of values.
  2. Employee Engagement:
    Align employees with the goals of the organisation.
  3. Compelling Brand Values:
    Deliver on your brand promises to customers.
  4. Customer Connectedness:
    Infuse customer insight across the organisation.

The research includes data from more than 250 large organisations that shows how effective companies are mastering these four competencies. It turns out that only 15% of large firms are very good at purposeful leadership and employee engagement while an even smaller percentage are very good at customer connectedness and compelling brand values.

"Customer experience success requires more than superficial changes, companies need to embed a series of practices within the operating fabric of their organisation," explained Bruce Temkin, managing partner for Temkin Group.

But, Temkin warns, companies can't achieve customer experience success overnight: it requires the commitment to a multi-year transformational journey. The research outlines the six stages of customer experience maturity that organisations evolve through as they increasingly master the four core competencies:

  1. Ignore
    In this stage, organisations do not see customer experience as an opportunity for differentiation.
  2. Explore
    In this stage, executives see value in customer experience and establish a team of employees to examine what the company should be doing in this area.
  3. Mobilize
    In this stage, organisations establish a dedicated customer experience team and begin to make changes.
  4. Operationalize
    In this stage, organisations have cross-functional governance structures for customer experience. They actively redesign key operating processes and track clear customer experience metrics.
  5. Align
    In this stage, organisations reinforce good customer experience practices within all of their HR practices, including how they hire, train, promote, and fire employees. They also regularly make trade-offs between short-term financial success and longer-term loyalty gains.
  6. Embed
    In the final stage of maturity, companies don't focus on customer experience as an independent activity; it's just a part of their brand and culture.

The report also includes a 20-question self-assessment that organisations can use to gauge their stage of customer experience maturity. The report has been made available for free download from the Customer Experience Matters blog - click here.