How Does Your Organisation Talk Customer Experience? And What Does This Tell You?


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For those who have a certain kind of listening to language, language in its speaking says much. Take the English for example. You ask the typical English person “How are you today?” What is the typical response? “Not bad!”  Take the typical French person and the question becomes “How’s it going?” And the typical response from a French person is “It’s going well.”  Notice the difference between the English “My name is X” and the French “I call myself X”. As I said, if you have the listening then language speaks richly – of a culture.

I have been listening to the speaking that occurs in relation to Customer Experience.  I hear people talking about:

- mapping the Customer Experience;

- improving the Customer Experience;

- managing the Customer Experience;

- delivering a multi-channel Customer Experience;

- providing an omni-channel Customer Experience;

- driving the Customer Experience;

- gluing up the Customer Experience;

- consistency of the Customer Experience across touchpoints / channels;

- coming up with a Customer Experience strategy;

- business case for Customer Experience ….

To date, I have not heard a single Top say anything like:

- I get what Customer Experience is about and am passionate about putting Customer Experience at the heart of this organisation;

- Wow, Customer Experience opens up a world of possibility on what we can do to simplify-enrich the lives of our customers;

- As a senior leadership team we are committed to competing on the basis of the Customer Experience.

What does this tell you?

It tells me that Customer Experience is viewed-treated as an operational matter. It tells me that Customer Experience is viewed as technique to power and continue the longevity of business as usual. It tells me that the folks at the Top do not get the full power of Customer Experience: a radically different way to show up and do business, to compete for new customers, and keep existing customers.

Steve Jobs was committed to putting a dent in the universe.  Tony Hsieh was committed to Zappos being the word for the very best customer service in the world.  Jeff Bezos is committed to building the Earth’s most customer centric company. Just about everyone else I have come across is open to / would like improve the Customer Experience if someone else (usually lower down the hierarchy) can come up with a compelling business case.  Is it any surprise that almost all talk so much and make so little impact when it comes to the Customer Experience?

Consider this. What Customer Experience lacks is not a toolbox of methods-techniques-tools. What Customer Experience lacks is not certified customer experience professionals. What Customer Experience lacks is not technology nor the consultants to implement the technology. What Customer Experience lacks is not a bunch of folks doing lean to the organisation and ‘improving’ business processes. What Customer Experience lacks is leaders and leadership. 

Yet I am optimistic. Why? Because, it only takes one Steve Jobs to make a dent in the universe. It only takes one Tony Hsieh to show us all what Customer Service authentically-radically is. It only takes one Jeff Bezos to transform retailing and show us what the digital Customer Experience can be / should be.  It occurs to me that those who will walk the same path, are likely to be working in smaller companies. And as such it is simply a matter of time when they make themselves visible on the radar of big business.  Then extinction time! For my part, I welcome and embrace the phenomena described as “creative destruction” by Schumpeter.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Maz Iqbal
Experienced management consultant and customer strategist who has been grappling with 'customer-centric business' since early 1999.


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