The Definition of #CX Insanity


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Know the definition of customer experience insanity?

It was Albert Einstein who said: the definition of insanity is doing something over and over again and expecting a different result.

Sadly, this is a concept that voice of the customer and customer experience professionals are quite familiar with. When these professionals continue using the same tools and the same processes over and over again, yet find they’re not making any progress, well, that’s customer experience insanity. And this is a very real thing.

I spoke at an event last week on the topic of disrupting voice of the customer programs. It is time to disrupt them. It became very clear to me based on the audience’s reactions and responses that it’s time. If you manage a VoC initiative or use the findings or insights from your customer feedback, you know what I’m talking about.

Think about this first.

  • What tools do you use to analyze the data?
  • When was the last time you got a meaningful, actionable insight from your analysis?
  • Do the insights you get from your analysis motivate you?
  • Do they help you drive change? 
  • How long does it take you to conduct said analysis?
  • Do you get answers that are clear and relevant?

And then…

  • Are you using correlation or regression analysis?
  • And the beloved quadrant chart?
  • Have you ever made any improvements based on the quad chart?
  • Does the quad chart paralyze you?

This last series of questions is what elicited an interesting, guttural reaction from the audience. The collective moan let me know that quad charts are a huge problem for everyone.

Originally put on a pedestal as the best way to determine how to get the biggest bang for your buck when it comes to improvement priorities, quad charts have quite literally paralyzed their users with ambiguity. For years and years.

In case you’re not familiar with a quad chart, I’ll explain.

Once you’ve got your survey responses, including ratings on attributes about the experience and some outcome variable (e.g., overall satisfaction), you’ll calculate the performance score (mean) for each attribute and use correlation or regression analysis to derive the importance of each. You’ll then plot each data point’s performance and importance on the grid, as shown in the example below. Each quadrant is defined as follows:

  • If an attribute has low performance but is of high importance to the customer, it is a priority improvement
  • Attributes where both performance and importance are low are considered secondary improvement areas
  • Those attributes of high performance and high importance to customers are areas where you want to keep doing what you’re doing to maintain current levels. 
  • And attributes where performance is high but importance is low are considered table stakes, or the price of entry.

The problem is that people truly do become paralyzed by these charts. What do the quadrants mean? Why is one better than the other? What do you mean those are fundamentals/price of entry? But there are two dots right next to each other; which one is the priority? And do I act on those two dots in the upper left first or can I spend time on one of the other dots in that quadrant? Where were those dots last year? Last quarter? How do I know the impact on the business, the experience, the customer? And on and on and on…

After 25 years, I’ve heard and seen it all. People really don’t know what to do with this information. And then, nothing happens. No one does anything. No improvements are made. And as Tony Robbins said: By changing nothing, nothing changes. I know. Very profound, right? But nothing gets done when you don’t understand what you’ve got. Insights that result in no action are just expensive trivia. Trust me. You’ve all got some expensive trivia on your desktops.

And yet, we keep using these quad charts as tools of change, as tools to drive action. We’ve been using them year after year for the last umpteen years. I know. I was a party to it. I’ve worked for vendors who have perpetuated this CX insanity. But I’m here now trying to help you return to sanity. (These charts, by the way, are not the only thing hindering your ability to quickly drive change while the feedback is still fresh and the customer is still, well, a customer)

But now it’s time to think about things differently and to uncover some new tools that will move you forward, that will move your program forward, that will truly help you drive change within the business and for your customers. You’ve heard about predictive and prescriptive analytics, as I’ve written about them before; they are the future. It’s time to shift the dialogue and the work to insights and answers that accelerate decisions and drive real action. It’s time to shift to the future of analytics – today. It’s time to shift away from doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Stop being one of the crazy ones!

One person’s craziness is another person’s reality. -Tim Burton

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Annette Franz
Annette Franz is founder and Chief Experience Officer of CX Journey Inc. She is an internationally recognized customer experience thought leader, coach, consultant, and speaker. She has 25+ years of experience in helping companies understand their employees and customers in order to identify what makes for a great experience and what drives retention, satisfaction, and engagement. She's sharing this knowledge and experience in her first book, Customer Understanding: Three Ways to Put the "Customer" in Customer Experience (and at the Heart of Your Business).


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