5 Things You Should Not Do in the Name of Customer Experience


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I was asked recently to provide a couple (of what a reader called “See Spot Run”) blogs concerning must-have and must not do elements of a successful customer experience business.

Dick, Jane, and Spot

In case you aren’t familiar with the Spot referenced by the reader, he/she was a dog companion of Dick and Jane. Part of the Elson-Gray book series that taught many of us to read! Since I am in the customer experience business, if a reader wants a simplified message about do’s and don’ts of customer experience – it is my job to listen, fulfill their stated request, and make a personal connection. In this case, that connection hopefully comes through shared experiences with that reader concerning our early adventures with Spot!

This week I will focus on the Don’ts of Customer Experience and next week the Do’s.

5 Things You Should Not DO in the Name of Customer Experience

These are in no particular order:

A. DON’T Create a Touchpoint Map – A touchpoint map is a visual depiction of interaction points between a customer and a business as told from the business’ vantage point. If you are going to take the time to inventory your contact points with the customer, invest the extra time needed to look at that map from the customer’s side of the interaction. In other words, say “No” to touchpoint maps and “Yes” to customer journey maps.

B. DON’T Use CSAT as Your Customer Feedback Tool – Measuring CSAT (short for customer satisfaction) offers a narrow view of your customer’s experience. Satisfaction is a necessary but not a sufficient condition to achieve customer engagement, loyalty, and referrals. If you are asking about satisfaction, beef-up your inquiry with questions about the effort customers expend to get their needs met, their likelihood to refer, and whether they are experiencing positive emotions like trust or pleasure along their journey with your company.

C. DON’T Fail to Close the Loop on Customer Feedback – Don’t ask for customer feedback unless you are going to act on it. By act, I mean such things as using notifications of a customer’s problem to follow-up with that customer to achieve a workable resolution. I also mean to look at collective data from customer experience breakdowns to achieve future process breakthroughs.

D. DON’T Rely solely on Quantitative Assessments of Customer Voice –There is more to customer listening than asking them to rate you on a 10-point scale. Quantifiable metrics are productive ways to measure progress on experience delivery, but qualitative listening is important when it comes to understanding how and why customers pick a number from a scale. Don’t forget the importance of asking customers to share what they are thinking and feeling about your experience. Qualitative listening comes in many forms – open-ended question surveys, focus groups, shop-a-longs, etc. The best form is simply sitting across from a customer and asking what they liked most or least about a recent transaction or their overall journey with your company.

E. DON’T Place Your Customer Above Your Team – Not only should your customer not be placed above your team, but your team should not be placed above your customer. Notions like “customers rule” or “employees are #1” are well-intentioned but myopic. I would err on the side of committing to deliver to meet the functional and emotional needs of people – whether those people are on your team or paying customers. If you are a great experience provider, your people will want to buy your products, and in that instance, they are both your team and your customer. The relationship between employee engagement and customer engagement is strong and reciprocal. The entire customer experience ecosystem must be in balance. Decisions that favor customers at the expense of team members won’t be sustainable (and vice versa).

Hopefully, I have served my customer for this blog (the person who asked for a “See Spot Run” version of things not to do in customer experience delivery), and I have added value to you as well. That leaves me asking how will YOU RUN your business delivery to achieve the customer loyalty and referrals you desire?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Joseph Michelli, Ph.D.
Joseph Michelli, Ph.D., an organizational consultant and the chief experience officer of The Michelli Experience, authored The New Gold Standard: 5 Leadership Principles for Creating a Legendary Customer Experience Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company and the best-selling The Starbucks Experience: 5 Principles for Turning Ordinary Into Extraordinary.


  1. Joseph – this is a list every company needs pinned to their bulletin board. The one that resonates most with me is about closing the loop. Survey fatigue is very real, and the comment I hear most often is “why don’t they stop asking me questions and start doing something?”

    A few years back we had one of our clients eliminate CSAT, and also (blasphemously) NPS and CES. They introduced the single question – ‘The next time you need [our products], what might cause you to do business elsewhere?’ The responses provided a richer quality of data than I have ever seen – actionable and easily interpreted.

    Can’t wait to see the next list!

  2. Shaun, thank you for the kind comments and the insights on “survey fatigue.” I was going to ask people to rate the post on a 5 point scale LOL!

    As for the question your client asked – Brilliant, simply brilliant. Thanks for engaging.

  3. Great summary, Joseph, with solid advice! The bottom line is to keep customers in the center–real time, real data, real fast, and with real commitment to get better. What relationships could be more important to your business than the ones with your employees and customers? They should rank in priority right up their with the important personal relationships in your life. Yet, we would consider it silly and inappropriate if we opted to use a written or online survey with our spouse, children, or friends to gauge relationship quality! Yet, we too often call the survey vendor when it comes to getting an assessment from our employees and customers. Sure, there are far more of them than personal relationships. It is the principle. If you suddenly got a lot more personal relationships, would you stop talking and start surveying?

  4. Chip, great points about the personal relationship/survey dynamic. I realize we have been at this awhile. I think I first met you at that Manheim event about 12 years ago. Thanks for the personal relationship! Joseph

  5. This is a nice list. Particularly important is B, because satisfaction is about tactical, functional, and attitudinal delivery rather than real value. D, the anecdotal, and often detailed insights which qualitative research can deliver, is too often overlooked.

    One suggestion: On E, expand ‘team’ to ‘enterprise’. Everyone in the organization, whether customer-facing or not, is (or should be) responsible for CX and value delivery. EX isn’t about engagement, which was a ’90’s concept. It’s about commitment to the organization, to the product/service value proposition, to the customer, and to other employees – – what I’ve defined as ambassadorship. http://www.businessexpertpress.com/books/employee-ambassadorship-optimizing-customer-centric-behavior-from-the-inside-out-and-outside-in/

  6. Great article with practical advice anyone can apply (my favourite kind of article!). I am particularly fond of (1) Closing the loop: I have definitely seen dramatic increases in response rates and customer engagement when time is taken to share back what you’re learning and doing with the insights you are gathering (2) ” Committing to meet the functional and emotional needs of people – whether those people are on your team or paying customers”: it all really does boil down to this but is often overlooked. A great reminder of what is really important!

  7. Michael, thanks for suggesting expanding “team” to enterprise. You are “spot on” with your thinking regarding commitment and enterprise. I am always grateful when you chime in. Joseph

  8. Krista, thanks for engaging in the dialogue. I have to remind myself that the best posts are truly practical in nature!


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