How Customer Success Can Rescue the CX Industry


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Recently I read the article by Bob Thompson, CEO of CustomerThink Corp., Could a “Customer Success” Mindset Save the CX Industry?

In it, Thompson points to Forrester’s CX research that demonstrates there is “widespread stagnation” in customer experience levels, while CustomerThink’s own study found just 25% of CX initiatives claim quantifiable business value or competitive advantage, leading to the conclusion that customer experience management is in peril.

It gave rise to my three thoughts on how Customer Success can rescue the CX industry.

1. Driving a Mindset Breakthrough in CX

Ryanair places an additional charge on almost everything and adopts mean policies. They channel all these savings to offer the cheapest airfares for their passengers.

According to a global research, the number one factor driving customers to buy from Louis Vuitton again is ‘exclusive feel from wearing/owning LV products’; ‘service’ is a major pain point during the shopping experience. See What Really Drives Customers to Buy From Louis Vuitton Again?

Sukiyabashi Jiro offers bad service and focuses all their resources to make the world’s best sushi for their diners. See Why Great Brands have a Large Pleasure-Pain Gap.

Ryanair, Louis Vuitton and Sukiyabashi Jiro are offering the lowest airfares, creating an unmatched level of prestige and making the world’s best sushi respectively. They accomplish customer success but aren’t customer-centric.

Yes, the CX industry needs saving. How? Give up the means that has persistently failed to provide tangible benefits. Take up Customer Success.

2. Transforming Customer Success Mindset into an Actionable Strategy

To earn customer loyalty and gain CEO buy-in, we ought to create values for both the customer and brand by transforming customer success mindset into an actionable strategy.

There are two minimum criteria for assessing the effectiveness of a customer success strategy:

1) Deliver Brand Promise – when you communicate to your customers what you’re trying to help them succeed or do (Jobs-to-be-done), it becomes your brand promise. In other words, when a brand delivers its promise, they drive customer success (or fulfill jobs-to-be-done), e.g. Amazon provides an unprecedented level of convenience; Ryanair offers the lowest airfares.

2) Achieve Business Results – for instance, first-time purchase (acquisition), repeat purchase (retention) and referral (positive word-of-mouth).

To truly improve the customer experience, we must make Customer Success actionable and measurable.

3. Putting Customer Success at the Center of Your Business

Instead of “Putting the customer at the center of your business”, you should be “Putting customer success (or your brand promise) at the center of your business”.

By doing so, you achieve two things:

1) You can communicate concretely to all departments and everyone in your organization what your brand stands for, what you’re targeting to achieve and what they’re expected to perform. This helps you avoid the ambiguity and impracticality of customer-centricity.

2) It provides a clear guideline for resource allocation. For example, when receiving customer complaints, you could relax if they’re unrelated to customer success or not falling into the unacceptable level of your target customers; you should align all your resources to address those complaints if they are highly related to customer success.

To rescue the CX industry, we should drive a mindset breakthrough in CX, transform customer success mindset into an actionable strategy, and put customer success at the center of our business.


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