‘Less of This, More of That’ Getting CX Transformation Right in 2019

Alex Allwood ALEX ALLWOOD, Customer Experience, customer-centric culture, Transformation

Article first published in CustomerThink, February 1, 2019

‘Short-termism’ has become the enemy of CX transformation. We have developed a preoccupation with what is happening now, quick wins, next month’s budgets, quarterly revenues and productivity fads to name just a few.

Getting cx transformation right in 2019 will require organization-wide cultural change to promote customer-centric action; where customers’ needs are at the center of employees’ thinking, problem solving and decision-making.       

CX short-termism in recent years has yielded customer experience quick wins, however, with customer expectations being shaped by the likes of Amazon, Apple and AMEX these have been all but exhausted. CX leaders are now facing their biggest challenge; reframing customer experience for competitive advantage to enhance value and drive growth.

Let’s face it, with an ever-growing list of competing must-have’s and must-do’s, the appetite for systemic customer experience transformation has slowed to a ‘work-in-practice’ level; focused on copyable, micro-CX improvements instead of a business-wide commitment to customer culture transformation.

Late last year, CX research from Forrester, https://www.cmo.com.au/article/649493/forrester-stop-decorating-start-renovating-cx/ showed a bleak outlook for organizations unwilling to disrupt business-as-usual to deliver customer experience excellence.

Opportunities CX differentiation in 2019 will differ from previous years. CX short-termism must be replaced by holistic, customer cultural transformation that inspires with customer purpose, empowers employees to improve customer lives and prioritizes the design of signature experiences that meet customer expectations.

My CX prediction for the coming year, is that smart businesses will play the long game of customer culture transformation. Here’s my list of ‘less of this and more of that’ practices for getting CX transformation right in 2019:

‘Less of This’

Talking a good game: All too often CX executives and the leadership team are not walking the talk. The business may talk a good CX game, but in reality, organizational behavior isn’t supporting a cultural transition such as: working cross functionally to solve customer problems, making customer-centric decisions and using customer storytelling to develop empathy.

Focusing on individual touchpoints: Customer experience management focuses on the end-to-end customer journey, not individual touchpoints. Yes, there’s quick wins in improving individual service pains and gaps, but for the most part this solves a single customer pain point, not the overall experience.         

Gathering customer feedback: Over and over again, when I talk with my clients’ customers about their experience they tell me ‘stop sending me customer feedback surveys – you don’t use the information to improve services’. Customers are survey fatigued. So either use the data for positive change, or lose it altogether, (your employees will be relieved too!).

‘More of That’

Employee experience: Improving employees’ work lives with the aim of positively impacting customer experience, improves employee experience too. Experience levers include: embedding purpose and living the values, empowering employees to improve customers’ lives, using technology to help them serve customers effortlessly, working agilely to solve customer problems and celebrating customer success, to name a few.

Customer empathy in decision making: Developing customer empathy skills in day-to-day thinking, problem solving and decision making is at the heart of my customer-centric methodology. Customer empathy provides connection to customers for executives and employees alike, helping them with a deeper understanding of abstract data and context to make good decisions. Practices and tools to develop empathy skills can include: journey management frameworks, service blueprints, service safaris, empathy mapping, customer stories and role playing.

Lead with the customer vision: Looking to best-in-class leadership, Amazon is this year’s ‘World’s Most Valuable Brand’ and it’s no surprise Amazon is also the world’s most customer-centric company. CEO and founder Jeff Bezos plays the long game; living and breathing the customer vision, leading by example; walking the CX talk and embracing Amazon’s principles that guide customer-centric behaviors to deliver signature customer experiences that differentiate, enhance value and drive exponential growth.