Small Budget Customer Experience


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A common situation for many organisations is that there is a desire to optimise the customer experience or become more customer centric but there is little budget to support the required change.

This usually results from three situations:

  1. A small organisation with generally small budgets
  2. A customer experience visionary with a relatively small budget at a larger transactional organisation who has not yet convinced key executive stakeholders of the benefit of customer experience
  3. A larger organisation taking its tentative first steps via a series of pilot

Here’s what works to get the organisation energised and actively working on improving its customer experience with meaningful steps. By “meaningful steps” I refer to actions that have long term impact on the organisation versus tactics that may help a particular one-off campaign.

The key steps are simple but must be applied with skill.

  1. Get key stakeholders (the ones with the budget and resource control) to have an “ah-ha” moment in understanding the value of customer experience and its value to the organisation.
  2. Get an understanding of the organisation’s current ability to deliver a consistent and deliberate customer experience
  3. Literally define the customer experience the organisation should be delivering

Sounds simple, right. These simple steps are often overlooked in an effort to do something… anything to show action. Very often, someone charged with customer centricity will forgo these preparatory steps in order to act. Unfortunately, ungrounded action can often add cost to the business without any results thus proving to the very stakeholders you are trying to convince that customer centricity is untenable

It is possible for you to do this on your own but you must watch out for these missteps:

  1. Avoid trying to transform stakeholders into “believers” on the basis of the logic of customer experience alone. You will need to use case examples with practical steps other organisations have taken. These case examples will need to relevant to your organisation. Very often key stakeholders think their organisation’s situation is more complex and difficult than the next.
  2. The assessment of the organisation will need to be authoritative but unbiased. This is especially true for stakeholders that have the least appreciation of customer experience.
  3. Do not assume that brand voice, personality or values is the definition of the customer experience.

Experience tells me, you can have success if you have the following:

  1. You have wide exposure to customer experience yourself – you have been to several conferences and seen it successfully applied elsewhere.
    1. You probably need outside help if you have limited practical experience with customer experience transformations.
  2. You have a team of talented individuals who have or can actually have dedicated time set aside to held in doing customer experience work. You have a problem if those on the team were selected and see participation as more of a burden.
    1. You need outside help if you do not have the internal resource to help you along.
  3. You actually have a small budget to work with. That is, you do not need to fight for even a small budget to get things going.
    1. A typical budget for a small to medium organisation to do what is suggested above is about £20k ($30k or €30k).
    2. If you can not get the budget for even this, reconsider if customer experience is a real possibility at your organisation. If you are a customer experience visionary, you might consider beginning looking for a better employment fit.
Qaalfa Dibeehi
Qaalfa Dibeehi is the author of "Achieving Customer Experience Excellence" and "Customer Experience Future Trends and Insights". He has 20+ years experience in the customer experience related space with particular emphasis on organisations that have a dual commercial and social/community responsibility. He is Non-Executive Director at Emerge. Previously, he was Chief Operating and Consulting Officer at Beyond Philosophy and Director at Fulcrum Analytics. He has an MBA from NYU and three other Masters Degrees from City U. of New York in Statistics, Psychology and Health Care Administration.


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