If You Can’t Prove The ROI Of Your Customer Experience Effort Then Consider This Option

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Where is Customer Experience Management At?

What are the highlights of the Harvard Business Review Analytic Services study: Lessons from the Leading Edge of Customer Experience Management?  It occurs to me that there are many. And for the purposes of this post I want to concentrate on a subset.

According to the study: Less than half of the companies view customer experience management as a strategic priority.  Most are struggling to develop clear and consistent customer experience strategies, support, processes, and metrics across the organisation. 

Put differently, even the 50% who see customer experience management as a strategic priority are finding it hard.

What are the biggest obstacles-hurdles on the path of Customer Experience?

The authors of the study point out three challenges that making the going hard:

  1. Proving ROI – folks are finding it difficult to prove ROI as they are not able to link business outcomes to customer experience effort.
  2. Data & Integration – single customer view turns out to be a lot like enlightenment only a select few have realised it (after years of effort) the rest are having a difficult time knitting together their data and systems.

  3. Customer-focused culture - it turns out that speaking-writing-evangelising about customer focus turns out to be easy, creating an organisation which is genuinely customer focussed is ‘a bridge too far’ for most (if not almost all) organisations.

If you want to access the authors prescription for addressing these challenges then I suggest you read the study. For my part, I find their recommendations rather unsatisfactory. Why?  Their six lessons in Customer Experience Management start with ‘Lesson One: Create A Customer-Centric Culture’!  What genius!  And how do they recommend that you do that?  Rewards and punishments!  Our stupidity never ceases to amaze me.

What Option Is Open To You If You Cannot Prove ROI? 

Three options show up me for me when I consider this question. First, stop flogging a dead horse and do something else in the organisation that you find interesting or which holds the promise of success that you aspire to.  Second, move to another organisation – one which seems to you to be more receptive to the Customer Experience thing.

What is the third option?  Allow me to introduce this option by sharing the following quote:

Under-think your life’s purpose

Finding your ‘purpose’ in life is an attractive ambition, and I’m sure there are plenty of people who’ve simply said “This is what I was born to do,” but not everyone is as lucky as that.  The simple alternative for the rest of us is to ask “What is the next useful action I can take?” Keep it simple – if you notice a problem that needs solving, solve it, and if you meet a person who needs help, help them.

- David Turnball

Looking at this pragmatic advice through a Customer Experience lens, it occurs to the that the third option is as follows:

  • If you meet a customer who needs help, then help that customer;
  • If you notice a problem (that impacts the Customer Experience negatively) and have the capacity to solve that problem, then solve that problem; and
  • If you have an opportunity to do something unexpected-special for a customer then go ahead and do that something special.

Your small actions may get noticed, they may infect your colleagues and through them feed into the larger organisation.  At the very minimum, you have the satisfaction of lived true to your values and made a difference in the lives of some of your customers.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

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

1 COMMENT

  1. I love this post (!!!) and the three-options you offer, two of which are decidedly “flat earth”. The third option speaks to proaction, flexible experience processes, and employee ambassadorship, all elements of conscious capitalism, enterprise humanity, and customer focus. The reality is that, to build ROI and connect, in a financial and causative manner. to business outcomes, to optimize big data/customer data leverage, and to create and sustain a proactive and vibrant customer centric culture, all the tools are there and available, and have been for awhile:

    http://customerthink.com/the-new-real-world-customer-centric-customer-experience-4-perhaps-5-ps/

    http://customerthink.com/what-customer-centric-companies-must-do-to-become-customer-obsessed/

    http://customerthink.com/is-there-a-single-most-actionable-contemporary-and-real-world-metric-for-managing-optimizing-and-leveraging-customer-experience-and-behavior/

    http://customerthink.com/when-b2b-and-b2c-key-performance-metrics-flatline/

    http://customerthink.com/do-you-wonder-why-big-data-gets-so-much-attention-going-forward-will-that-continue/

    http://searchcrm.techtarget.com/tip/CDI-The-CRM-dance-every-marketer-must-learn

    I’ve also read this HBR Analytic Service study and article, and can take some heart from what they’ve stated: “Customer experience management is markedly more important to leading-edge companies. Seven out of ten say it’s a significant strategic priority.” Maz, there is both hope and opportunity here.

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