Gregorio Uglioni is a visionary leader in Business Transformation, Innovation, and Customer Experience. Through his exceptional leadership skills, he has achieved remarkable results in numerous transformation programs, creating a profound impact on customers while fostering a culture of positive innovation. As a prominent figure in the Customer Experience Community, Gregorio has made significant contributions, such as co-authoring two global best-sellers – “Customer Experience 3” and “Customer Experience 4”. He is also the host of the highly acclaimed podcast “Customer Experience Goals with the CX Goalkeeper” and a seasoned keynote speaker and a judge at various international events. Starting his career at Accenture, Gregorio now serves as the Head of Business Transformation at the Cantonal Hospital of Winterthur in Switzerland.
In today’s fiercely competitive business landscape, enterprises are constantly seeking avenues to retain their existing customers, increase their willingness to purchase (thereby boosting share of wallet), and attract new customers (which can potentially happen through word of mouth).
Soccer (or football, as it is known in some parts of the world) provides a unique source of inspiration to achieve these objectives. As the world’s most popular sport, soccer has a lot to teach us, and this article will focus on the positive aspects of the game to explore how businesses leverage some insights to sustainably grow.
Companies are dreaming of having customers as soccer fans.
In the realm of soccer, fans are not just mere customers; they are ardent supporters who invest their emotions in their team. They purchase team merchandise, promote their team positively and remain loyal even after a disappointing experience (such as their team losing a game). These fans are fervent advocates.
Similarly, companies aspire to establish a comparable emotional connection with their customers, but conventional marketing and advertising methods alone are not enough. To genuinely earn the trust of customers, companies must concentrate on creating unique and unforgettable experiences that go beyond a transactional relationship. They need to develop an emotional bond with their customers.
One company that has realized the advantage of having fans as customers is Nike. It has fostered a community of enthusiastic supporters through various initiatives such as the Nike Run Club App. Nike has established a loyal following of customers who feel a profound connection to the brand.
Breaking silos to score goals together.
Silos within companies can harm the customer experience by creating barriers to collaboration and communication among departments and teams. Each team has its own set of goals and priorities, often leading to conflicting agendas and a lack of cohesive performance. Customers seek a relationship with the entire company, not just specific departments. For successful customer outcomes, the entire company must share a common goal and work towards it together.
Soccer provides an excellent example of the benefits of shared purpose. Every player on the field has a specific role and responsibility, but they all understand the common goal: to win the game. This shared sense of purpose ensures that each player performs at their best. If one player is focused solely on achieving their individual target, it can detract from the overall team’s success.
Consider a hypothetical scenario where the midfield players in a soccer team are given a different target from the rest of the team, such as running the maximum number of kilometers (or miles) during the 90-minute game. If they focus solely on achieving their individual target by running in a circle for the entire game, the team is likely to lose. This is because the midfield players are not focusing on the common goal of winning the game, which is analogous to a business focusing solely on achieving departmental goals at the expense of the overall customer outcome.
Zappos is an excellent example of a company that has broken down silos and achieved success through collaboration. Their “One Team” philosophy emphasizes the success of the company as a whole rather than individual departments or teams, creating a culture of teamwork and collaboration. As a result, they consistently create amazing experiences for their customers.
Only with strategy you can win the championship.
To achieve success in any endeavor, including business, a clear strategy is essential. Without a plan, it’s difficult to know where you’re going and how to get there. To illustrate this point, consider a common business scenario: a product launch. If the project team responsible for the launch forgets to update the company’s knowledge management tool, customer service employees won’t be properly informed about the new product. This can lead to poor customer service and damage to the company’s reputation, ultimately affecting its financial results. Prevent such disruptions and ensure a successful end-to-end product launch is a key success.
Soccer teams prepare thoroughly for each match, studying their competitors, training specific tactics, and selecting the best players to maximize their chance of winning. Similarly, customer service departments need a clear vision and sound strategy, enriched by a customer service architecture that proactively steers and controls the game.
The presence of a customer service architecture, often overlooked, serves as a valuable tool for customer service departments. By providing a comprehensive assessment of their strengths and weaknesses, an accurate representation of the current functional landscape, and guidance for the ongoing development of their services, customer service architecture empowers departments to effectively manage their existing channels and optimize their performance without missing any relevant information.
To offer world-class service, a company must have a clear understanding of the game. Without it, they may win some matches, but they will never win the championship. Amazon is a company that has excelled in developing and executing such an approach, expanding their products and services incredibly well and becoming one of the most successful and innovative companies in the world.
In reflecting upon the principles of soccer, we glean insights into successful business practices, including the importance of cultivating a profound emotional bond with customers, uniting a company towards a shared goal, and recognizing that exceptional outcomes necessitate intentional effort and strategic planning. These lessons remind us that achieving sustained and positive financial results requires a thoughtful and holistic approach to the customer experience, and a commitment to excellence across all facets of a business.