Stop Doing these 10 things to improve your customer experience!

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1. Journey Mapping
2. Surveying customers (VOC)
3. Creating ROI’s
4. Hiring CX “program” managers
5. Engaging CX consultants
6. Buying technology
7. Attending CX conferences
8. Listening to CX webinars and podcasts
9. Reading the latest “how to do CX” book.
10. Tracking NPS scores

No, the headline of this article isn’t a misprint. Yes, these 10 things are commonly considered the key elements of any customer experience improvement initiative. Why am I suggesting you stop doing these things as a means to create better experiences for your customers? My reasoning is that unless you align your strategy and then act, you’ll still be debating how to improve experiences a year from now. These 10 elements are proven tactics for better CX. A strong foundation is necessary to support these 10 things. I’m suggesting you do the following before engaging in these exercises.

• Strategic Alignment. If you’re doing these activities without an overarching CX strategy you’re wasting your time. The lack of alignment, especially when doing multiple activities at the same time will produce a disjointed, ineffective improvement to your CX. Answer the question: What is the experience we want to deliver for our customers? And then ask yourselves and your employees: Are we easy to do business with?

• Data collection. Doing surveys and collecting information about customer behaviors isn’t worth doing if you aren’t going to act on the data. It might make you feel good that you’re listening to the “voice of your customer.” Your customers are telling you what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong but if you aren’t acting on the data then stop doing surveys or other VOC activities. Take data collection a step at a time – gather, analyze, and act.

• Investments. Is the tail wagging the dog? There’s no question that you may need to make investments in your people, your technology, your processes, your brand, etc. to achieve better experiences. But you need to ensure you don’t have a solution that’s looking for a problem. I often encounter organizations that invest in technology and then don’t realize the promised results from that investment. The ROI’s fall short because the technology was not addressing the root cause of the poor experiences and only served to sugar coat an already broken system.

• Silver bullets. Webinars, books, conferences are certainly great ways to learn about experience management. The latest trends, learnings and case studies can help broaden your knowledge of CX but at some point, the education has to turn from “book learning” to hands on improvements. Often, we hear the same speakers talking about the same topics which serve to emphasize a point but do little to address the actions that need to take place for real improvement to be realized. You already know more than you think you do! Certainly, take some time to educate yourself. Use that education combined with your experience to “just do it”. Any improvement is better than none.

• Prioritize. Don’t try to boil the ocean. I worked with an organization that showed me a list of over 20 priorities that they had assembled to improve the customer experience with their organization. When I asked how many had been implemented, the answer was none, yet, after a year of talking about them. It’s ok to have a list but take the 80/20 approach. It’s likely that 20% of the items on the list represent 80% of your problems. From a list of 20, select 4 that your gut and your customers tell you need to be fixed. Then go fix those 4. Then tackle the next 4 and so on. Early wins produce raving fans – both customers and employees – of your initiatives.

• Measure your success. NPS, CSAT, CXi, etc. represent only one way to understand how your customers view their experiences with your organization. In order to get a complete picture of how well your organization is delivering an exceptional experience, it’s important to look at other metrics as well. These might include customer retention, order quality, on-time delivery, revenue per customer, employee engagement, cost per contact and lifetime value. Creating a holistic picture of the organization’s performance in delivering great experiences helps engage all functions of the organization and keeps everyone focused on the goal.

• Engage Employees. Although not on my list of things to stop doing, I think it’s important to engage employees at every level and function in the organization. This is imperative in securing better customer engagement. Listening to employees helps drive improvements that are focused on what matters most to both employees and customers. While the tendency is to engage only employees that interact with customers directly, often times, employees who develop products, create invoices, develop promotions, and ship the products can have perspectives that help paint a full picture of an organization’s overall CX.

Perhaps my opening title was a bit provocative in stating what you should stop doing to improve your organization’s customer experience, especially when these are topics that seem to proliferate the profession. It’s not wrong to pursue any of those initial ten items I listed. I believe what’s most important in your desire to deliver better experiences is having a strategy, acting on the data, investing for the right reason, seek effectiveness rather than the quick fix, prioritize, measure, and engage employees to create a solid foundation for long-lasting and better experiences.

Bob Azman
Bob Azman is Founder and CXO of Innovative CX Solutions, LLC, a boutique CX consulting firm. He is the 2020 Immediate Past Chairman of the Board of the Customer Experience Professional Association (CXPA.org). Bob has a wealth of executive, diverse, global operations leadership experience at Carlson Wagonlit Travel, Thomson Reuters, Ceridian and Deluxe Corporation. Bob earned both his MBA and BA from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN. He is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management and Rutgers University Business School.

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