5 Ways Successful Teams Close the Customer Experience Gap


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It’s easy to underestimate the efforts it requires to become a truly customer-centric organization.

Brave leaders do their best to lead customer experience initiatives that make an impact. But there are processes, protocols and even people who are obstacles to seeing results.

What is the Customer Experience Gap?

The customer experience gap is the difference between the experience an organization’s leaders believe it is delivering and the experience customers feel they’re getting.

The most famous statistic says that on average, 80% of leaders believe they are delivering a superior customer experience while only 8% of their customers agree.

That means the average brand believes nearly 3/4 of their customers are getting a better experience than they actually are.

That’s significant, to say the least. So what’s a truly dedicated customer experience leader to do?

Closing the Customer Experience Gap
Bain & Company

Nobody can succeed on their own. It takes a team of dedicated people who are willing to think a little differently.

Instead of just relying on traditional business training, closing the customer experience gap means stretching the way we define success and flexing muscles that may seem a bit unknown.

It’s possible, but just like most things, it takes a village.

These are the combination of traits I see that make for winning customer experience teams.

5 Traits of Teams That Have Closed the Customer Experience Gap:

1. Enlightened Leadership.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Great customer experiences are delivered by organizations with enlightened leaders.

These leaders have to be enlightened enough to appreciate the hard truths around their actual customer experiences. They need to be enlightened enough to look to long-term mission and results, and not just short-term returns.

2. A Clearly Articulated Experience Mission.

Disney closes the CX cap with a simple, effective customer mission.
Disney closes the CX cap with a simple, effective Experience Mission to “Create Happiness.”

It’s hard to direct a ship when you don’t know where you’re going. The first thing to define for any organization is your customer experience mission: what kind of experience you want to deliver.

You may believe it’s important to respond quickly to customers, but unless that’s stated explicitly, you’re missing an opportunity to really define that as an important part of your experience.

Ritz-Carlton, Disney and others do this by defining not only their mission, but how they articulate that mission within their organizations. Employees throughout the Disney organization are taught their purpose is to “create happiness,” regardless of position. What I love about this is how easy that is to internalize!

Organizations relying on phrases like “to be the best” or “provide quality and value” as their mission are not clearly articulating an experience vision that is easy to promote throughout the organization.

3. Connecting Experience Metrics with Business Results.

This is a struggle on many teams. It’s brought up time and again. How can we really see the return on the investment of time and resources in customer experience work?

Seeing the results requires discipline in connecting the customer outcomes and reporting to business results. It can be a straightforward metric like reduced contact center volume leading to cost savings, or a more complex calculation determining how as Net Promoter Scores (NPS) go up over time, customer spend increases.

There is no perfect formula here, but it’s critical the team understands what metrics are tracked, what those outcomes lead to, and WHY they’re important at all.

4. The Drumbeat of CX Communications

It’s one thing to hold a training or mention customer experience a few times throughout the year. It’s another to really commit to the idea of communications that educate, empower and encourage the behaviors and actions required to really make changes.

According to Forrester’s State of CX Management from December 2018, the majority of brands have “fractured culture efforts, resulting in disjointed CX.”

The teams that really get what it takes to deliver on customer experience efforts spend time on consistent communications to educate everyone on what this actually means. The mission becomes something that is lived by each employee, and they are constantly aware of how important customer experience is to the success of their organization.

5. Accountability Around Behaviors.

The best teams also understand they need to hold one another accountable for the needs of customer experience discipline.

This might be understanding why using the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is so critical, and have real accountability around that.

These types of tasks that can seem disconnected from the customer experience can be vital in connecting the dots throughout the organization. If there’s no real accountability around these behaviors, there are more likely scenarios to disappoint the customer.

What do you see in your team that could use some focus on behalf of your customers? How long do you go between real action around customer experience? These are real questions to ask yourself.

A simple accountability metric to start with might be tracking how often you bring up customer experience issues, or how often you address issues raised in customer feedback. If it’s irregular, then you are probably not making the progress you want.

You Can Start Closing the CX Gap Today

The best teams are the ones who care the most. But caring isn’t enough, and we have to lead with both empathy and action.

Ready to make real changes? Then, go team! But if you’re feeling overwhelmed, well, that’s a perfectly appropriate reaction too.

I challenge you to start simple: Identify one of these traits your organization could improve upon and take a small action toward improving it. And be honest! A huge contributor to the size of the customer experience gap is leaders overestimating their CX success.

Need a hand? Schedule a free consult call to get clear.

You got this.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jeannie Walters, CCXP
Jeannie Walters is a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP,) a charter member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA,) a globally recognized speaker, a LinkedIn Learning and Lynda.com instructor, and a Tedx speaker. She’s a very active writer and blogger, contributing to leading publications from Forbes to Pearson college textbooks. Her mission is “To Create Fewer Ruined Days for Customers.”


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