Failure in Customer Experience Is an Option

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Before we achieve successful customer experiences, we must evolve how we think about our failed interactions.

Failure in customer experience is inevitable. You will make the wrong decision, you will do the wrong thing for your customers, and you will fail to foresee the unexpected in your customer interactions. But the costly failures is an option. It’s up to you to control.

No system or process developed will ever be 100% successful in its intended result. Something will need to be changed. Something will need to be tweaked. At some point in time, something will need to be updated, modernized, evolved to meet the future needs and demands of the customers served.

Failure is not the opposite of success, it’s part of success. Stop doing what doesn’t work and learn to find what contributes to success.

Before we can fully participate in the iterative process that generates successful experiences, we must evolved our approach to service failure. We must come to understand failure, care about failure, live with our past failures, and learn from failed experiences.

The Cost of Failure

Ian Malpass, software engineer at Etsy, shared his fantastic attitude towards viewing our failures at Velocity Conference. Ian points out that in our failures we have to always remember that failure has a cost. Failure costs our organizations money. Failure costs time. Failure costs credibility. Ultimately failure costs us customers.

The Most Expensive Type of Experience Failures

While failure is inevitable, expensive failure is not. The most expensive type of failure today is failures that we refuse to accept. Refusing to accept failure means making the same mistakes over and over again. We can and must do everything possible to avoid the catastrophic costs that come from those most expensive types of failures.

Fortunately, this type of failure is completely up to you to control.

Costly Failure Is An Option

Learning from failure and eliminating the costliest failures is up to you. There are no barriers. It’s simply a matter of attitude and action. The attitude of accepting and the ability to act on lessons being frankly presented in the failed experiences.

Learning from failure requires trust. It requires flexibility. It requires being willing and open to adapting, open to imperfection, open to admitting weakness and the humility to change.

Once you’ve changed your mental approach to service failures you can begin to embark on the pathway to successful experiences. With each attempt at experience, break down the inputs of the interaction into manageable chunks that can be evaluated, examined, and enhanced with each attempt.

Create More Collaborators

Moving fast to learn from failure requires constant improvement. We need to create more collaborators for processes and less gatekeepers to progress.

Measure everything. Make the data available for learning from your experiences. If things are going wrong, change it. That’s the point of dashboards. It’s the ultimate purpose of metrics.

Start small. Build small. But make it fast, and react fast to the feedback you receive. Create transparency within these bits of action and enable more people to participate in the review process in order to perfect execution.

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