Thesis: The Chief Supply Chain Officer (CSCO) needs to be very close to the Chief Customer Officer or whoever in the enterprise is responsible for the customer experience.
This article is for those who are working supply chain within a company that makes or sells things. We know the 3PL world needs to have a customer experience strategy but what about the CSCO within a manufacturer or retailer? Isn't their job to just reduce costs and become "efficient"? NO! For those who have read my writings over the last 5 years you know I believe the single biggest job of the CSCO is to drive revenue. In this day and age you drive it through customer experience (CX) even more than through product.
Let's look at the big advancements which have propelled massive sales growth for key players during the pandemic. A few examples:
- Buy on line and pick up in store
- Buy on line and have curbside pick-up
- Use your smartphone to activate and pay for fuel at key gas stations (I do this a lot at Shell).
- Use of stores as micro fulfillment centers
I could go on and on but all of these are supply chain solutions, empowered by technology to drive customer experience. Notice nothing in that list had anything to do with product but rather had to do with how a customer or consumer acquires the product. If you are back in the supply chain don't think you are immune from this trend because your customer has the same needs as a consumer. They want a frictionless experience to make their business more impactful to the consumer. You can help them with that and that will endear you more to your customer, they will buy more and they will be more loyal. So, a quick conclusion for CSCO's to take action in this space:
- Get to know and partner with the person in your company who is in charge of the customer experience. A lot of times this is in the sales or marketing area.}
- If your company does not have a person who owns this then take extreme ownership and take charge of it.
- Ensure your supply chain strategy supports everything your company is promising in their go to market and customer experience plans. Nothing is worse than a supply chain strategy which is different than the go to market strategy.
- Consistently come back to the customer experience and use data such as net promoter scores (NPS) to determine if your supply chain is meeting the customer expectations.
The customer and the consumer have the power. You will differentiate yourself and your company if your supply chain focuses on the customer experience and "wow'ing" them each and every day.
Post Script: I think of this today and had to write about it industry lost a legend this week: Tony Hsieh. Tony founded Zappos and with it founded a company which was legendary for differentiating itself through customer experience. How do you differentiate the selling of shoes? Through Customer Experience! He built the company from nothing and sold it to Amazon for over $1bl. We should all focus on CX like Tony did.
Rest in Peace, Tony Hsieh.
By Charlie Llewellin from Austin, USA - tony hsieh, ceo, zappos.comUploaded by Edward, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=97091081