At this time of year, reflection and future planning are at the forefront in both our personal and professional lives.
As the head of Big Village’s customer experience management, strategy, and innovation team, I am excited to come to work each day in support of our mission to future proof our clients’ business. As a data driven insights firm, Big Village is uniquely positioned to support clients across a diverse landscape of industries, information needs and business goals. We are a big village of industry and subject matter experts with multiple research methodologies and media vehicles to aid our client partners in their pursuit of a plentiful 2023.
As you are setting goals, drafting plans, and identifying the preparations necessary to realize your objectives, your friends at Big Village extend the gift of insight to bolster your success. Our recipe to future proof your business supplies a winning dish that will become a fan favorite throughout your organization from executive suite through management and on to front-line associates.
- 1 cup Introspection
- 2 cups Understanding
- 3 cups Empathy
- 2 cups Harmonized Planning
- 1 cup Socialization
- 3 cups Growth-Oriented Mindset
First, you will want to have a clean and organized workspace. Prepare your work surface and pans with Introspection. Differences of opinion are healthy and provide the motivation and fuel necessary to challenge our colleagues and teams to exceed their own expectations. However, unresolved differences of opinion can undermine your objectives and goals. While everyone may not agree on a course of action or established goals, or share the same opinions, success depends upon working in concert to achieve a desired end.
Clean your workspace by identifying competing, conflicting and complementary points of view, opinions, theories, and agendas. As a neutral third-party Big Village develops thorough discussion guides and conducts interviews with representative cross-sections of employees throughout our client partners’ organizations.
Tip: This step helps organizations understand whether their goals are universally accepted and understood. It also helps them learn whether their commonly held beliefs and plans are considered relevant through the organization.
Upon receiving your results from Big Village, areas of disharmony and synchrony are revealed. Separate each theme into separate bowls and set aside as you move on to ingredient #2…
Understanding is the seasoning in your dish. It cannot all be found within your kitchen. While you likely have some key spices, you must venture out of your own garden to strike the most appetizing mix of savory and sweet. Your journey will take you across several regions in pursuit of sage guidance and insight.
Big Village is well equipped to devise the right blend of seasonings from your kitchen and the regions beyond your backyard. As your guide on this journey to intensify your collection of understanding we identify the customers/spices that enhance your dish, have little to no impact on its flavor and uncover those that, if included, may lead to ruin.
Beginning with your current customers we recommend our partners answer several critical yet often difficult questions including:
- Who are your target customers?
- What makes them your target?
- How valuable are your target customers?
- Have you correctly defined and identified your target customers?
- Are you using what you know about our current customers’ needs, wants, desires and experience to increase new customer acquisition?
- Are you leveraging your knowledge of customer needs, wants, desires and experience to increase the amount of business they are doing with your brand?
- How accurate is your ability to reach your target and prospective customers in the wild (i.e., how strong are your marketing campaigns in terms of ROI)?
One should not be embarrassed to open their cupboards and find a lack of supply or expired ingredients. Big Village leverages our robust pantry of analytics and data collection methods to help improve each of our customers’ spice cabinets relative to their unique cuisine.
Our approach combines existing supply (knowledge of your customers) with the areas yet unexplored. As we venture outside of your garden in search of essential seasonings, we plot a course that encompasses all potential regions of importance. This path extends our understanding deeper among your current customer base and beyond to incorporate former and prospective customers.
We know where to find the best merchants in each customer region. On our journey together across these customer regions, we unearth the critical elements of customer experience to comprehensively understand the critical elements within your kitchen which include:
- Why your customers choose you.
- Why they leave.
- What makes an active customer consider switching brands?
- Which competitors are most appealing and why?
- What features of your brand are most attractive to prospective non-customers?
- What prohibits prospective non-customers from adding your brand to their consideration set?
It is now time to return to our workspace. Prepared with the right seasonings to complete our dish, choices must be made to guide meal construction. During the Introspection phase of our work, we identified potential options to include in our final meal. Now that we have a comprehensive Understanding of our customers and organization, we add the third ingredient…
Empathy is the spoon that combines our introspection with understanding. Seeing the full picture of your organization’s beliefs both true and false alongside the impressions of your customers and non-customers the complementary components of the dish come together. Big Village is the perfect sous chef at this stage bringing the voice of the customer in direct connection with your organization’s beliefs, processes, and practices. Pointing out inconsistencies, opportunities, areas of strength and the way each component must work together to bring harmony to the plate.
Tip: This step helps organizations see the potential in their plans. The customers of greatest importance, focus, and value have been identified. Their needs, desires, and experience has been thoroughly investigated. Your organizations ability to deliver upon the needs, desires, and expectations relative to experience have been assessed and your market position relative to competitors has been scrutinized.
At last, it is time to start assembling the dish. Getting every component of the meal to the table at the same time calls for…
This is also true when we consider planning efforts to satisfy our most basic organizational goals. Retaining loyal customers, attracting new customers, increasing revenue, and reducing overhead costs can best be achieved with the right mix of knowledge, cooperation, coordination, support, and oversight.
Harmonized planning is the act of obtaining organizational alignment. In the kitchen it is the understanding of the chefs to begin and end each task at the right time to ensure each component reaches the table at the correct temperature. In your organization it is the schedule or roadmap that outlines where you are heading, how you will get there and who is involved at each step. Most importantly, this planning needs to be conducted in a manner that allows for all previously identified perspectives to be heard. Without a mutual feeling of respect and acknowledgement, corporate culture will go up in flames.
As your organization is preparing the dish, make sure that everyone has been given the chance to present their ideas. Workshop, ideate, analyze these positions with the information you have gathered. Asking key questions at every step…
- How does this benefit our customers?
- How does this impact employee engagement and morale?
- Do we have the resources necessary to succeed?
- Is there a corporate champion for this plan?
An inability to answer any of these questions or an answer in the negative requires a return to the workspace for a closer examination of your organization introspection and/or your customers understanding. You do not need to go at this step alone. Big Village continues to be your guide shifting through the stockpile of knowledge, data, and goals to tease out the missing components that answer these questions and make your dish complete.
With harmonized planning (meal preparation) complete it is time to serve your guests. When we call our guests to the table it is important not to leave anyone out. Our fifth ingredient for a successful future proofed business is…
It is an ongoing action through which we inform our guests and fellow chefs. Why we are coming together, how the meal was chosen and why it was prepared in the manner selected are all necessary pieces of information to share.
Customers and employees have provided insight. They appreciate hearing how their thoughts and experiences have come together to shape the future of your organization. Be it through immediate initiatives or future plans this continued socialization provides a knowledge exchange that facilitates stronger loyalty, engagement, trust and creates a sense of partnership through mutual benefit. It also allows your organization the continued insight into how your plans and efforts are being received.
As with most cooking competitions there is a performance review. Socialization promotes a culture that helps establish a place at the table for our final ingredient…
Definition: Having a growth-oriented mindset is to operate with the belief that your abilities and successes can improve with continued resilience, effort, and learning. It creates a safe environment within your organization where mistakes are allowed, accepted, and valued as a means to learn. It fosters a culture of equality where everyone is encouraged to ask questions, and it promotes learning by praising those who are willing to admit when they do not have the answers.
In our Big Village recipe to future proof your organization’s success. Having including growth-oriented mindset is what powers the ongoing growth and success of your organization. It helps us refine our dish over time. It helps us evolve the dish to appeal to a broader audience, it increases our star ratings and reviews. It is the culture that is created when everyone feels respected, heard, and free to share their ideas and questions. It is hearing the voice of your current, past, and prospective customers telling you how to help you help them. Finally, it is the refusal to serve a dish devoid of introspection and understanding.
Big Village appreciates that changing corporate culture can be as daunting as hosting a seven-course meal for twenty foreign dignitaries. However, when you have the right chefs in the kitchen, have taken stock of the items in your pantry, scoured the regions for the perfect seasonings, planned your preparation, discussed the plan with all involved and are willing to accept that you will make mistakes and learn from them, your organization will be well on its way to serving a meal constructed from the components that future proof success. Contact us for any missing ingredients.
Written by Nicole Garberg, Vice President, CX at Big Village