Are we waiting in vain for the customer experience revolution?


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Customer experience design has been a hot topic for quite some time and by now you should be convinced of its tremendous potential value. So far so good, but although methodologies are often straightforward and well documented, increasing customer experience is a lot harder than it seems.

Of all the companies that decide to invest in customer experience, just a shocking few succeed to convert invested time, effort and resources into tangible results. This automatically brings up to the WHY question: Why are companies failing, and why is it so hard to actually implement customer centricity? We have identified 5 major pitfalls that endanger the success of each customer experience project:

1. “Let’s increase the experience of our customers”

Let’s be honest: an increase or decrease in customer experience is not what keeps you up at night. A decrease in churn by 5% or an increase in sales by 3% however, those are KPI’s you care for. Succeeding in customer experience therefore starts by translating the project’s objectives into tangible KPI’s. Only by doing this will you create that necessary buy-in from the entire management. Failing to do so will jeopardize the project even before it has started. Customer experience is not a belief, it is about measurable results and impact on your business.

2. “We know our business best”

We often see the same narrative returning. There’s a choice to invest in customer centricity, until they need to listen to their customers: “Woa woa! Wait a second! Tell me again, why are we asking our customers what they think of us? Do we really need a ‘voice of the customer’ exercise? We know our organization best, let us decide what we should do. We can involve our customers after…”. These organizations fail to see two important facts:

– Knowing your customer and his specific needs is the start of every customer experience exercise. Without involving customers, companies are gambling in the dark on how to best serve them. Just imagine going to the hairdresser without him/her asking how your hair should be cut… Same thing, different level.

– Customers like to be involved and asked for their opinion. If you involve your customers (without stalking them with long surveys) and show them their feedback really matters, customers will gladly share their opinions with you.

3. “Our department is where it really matters”

If we want to succeed in creating a unique experience, the support and cooperation of the entire organization is crucial, however companies often limit customer experience to one specific department. Customers don’t think in back-office processes or how departments divide your internal organization, they only care about their experience. Only by involving different departments, ensuring transversal thinking (instead of ‘my process’) and taking the position of the customer, can you build a consistent and positive customer journey across all relevant interaction channels.

4. “Who owns the process?”

It’s important to ensure transversal thinking and cross-departmental cooperation, but this should not obstruct the allocation of ownership of customer experience design (and its implementation) to a specific manager or department. Ownership on management level is a necessity to help safeguard the progress of customer experience design and create enough visibility within the organization.

5. “Customer experience is a one-time thing”

As you know, current markets (and therefore customers) are evolving at an ever-increasing pace. Products (and services) that are trending one day, are outdated the next. This continuous evolution is one of the major challenges for organizations. Those who are able to ride this wave of continuous change will have a major competitive advantage over companies who ignore it. If we know customer needs are ever changing, we can conclude that customer experience is not a one-time thing. It’s a process that you need to structurally embed in your organization and keep fine-tuning throughout time, otherwise you will be outdated soon enough.

As long as you do not to take this pitfalls into account, money invested in customer experience is wasted and you will be waiting in vain for your customer experience revolution!

Banner image source: iStock

Fredric Joos
I believe customers are the most important asset of a company, they're at the heart of every enterprise and hold the key to success for every new and existing business...I help organizations to see the value of customer excellence, but moreover I help them to integrate it in their strategic thinking, operational processes and the mindsets of their employees. The better a company understands and connects with its customers the better it can improve services and products to what really matters.


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