Two Tips to Stop Placing the Burden for Good CX on Your Customers


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A colleague recently ran into a very frustrating customer experience. This situation raises the question— why are so many companies placing the burden for good CX on the customer?

After several unsuccessful attempts to pair a new smart home device with a product’s app, my colleague contacted customer service. In response to her inquiry, she was presented with a lengthy set of emails that detailed how she needed to completely reset her Wi-Fi router settings– in order for the app and device to work properly! Their attitude was that the customer had the burden of making many changes so their app would work properly!

The company’s position was that the burden for good product results was on the consumer. The brand did not feel it had to accommodate customer’s reasonable needs!

So, ask yourself this: Are you making it easy for your customers to buy, use, and experience your products? And if you’re not, what changes should you make?

Findings from our CX VoC research indicate that today’s consumers:

  • Are far less willing to put up with product or service hurdles. There are just too many easy options available.
  • CX hurdles deeply hurt brand relationships…often irreversibly.
  • “The customer is wrong” thinking is not tolerated. Companies need to become more humble and agile in taking responsibility for poor CX and quickly fixing the problems.

Tips for Better CX

1. Fix the “Broken Glass” and Make it Easy for Consumers to Like You

A consistent finding from our research is that before companies try to achieve deep customer engagement, they must repair the many areas where basic CX interactions are broken.  

Examples of broken glass include; inflexible terms and conditions which are clearly unfavorable to the consumer, pain points and friction in product returns, customer service which is robotic and unsympathetic.

But, when you listen to customer feedback and fix the broken glass, customers notice!
Here are some representative verbatims from the VoC research:

“The online process used to be clunky, but it has gotten so much better! The bugs have been worked out. The last purchase I made was completely seamless. So, the teething problems of the website and purchase process have all been worked out. It’s really easy to use!”

“The last purchase I made was completely seamless, …. It’s they made it really easy!”

Action Item: Conduct research to gain customer guidance regarding all the areas where CX is painful, so you can reengineer to make every aspect of your product, business rules, communication and experience a smooth journey. Take seriously the frustrations, hurdles and issues customers tell you about.

2. Create Fans Not Just Buyers

A customer is someone who just buys from you. A fan is a consumer who buys and invites your brand into their life. You need fans in order to compete and grow! But, to earn a legion of “fans” marketers need to fully understand how to transform! Don’t just iterate or copy…transform!

The most effective way to get there is to be guided by the wisdom of your customers. Use multiple techniques to get customer insights; quantitative research, deep qualitative research, etc.

But, be sure to ask the right questions and the tough questions in the research. Be open to the often painful and uncomfortable feedback you will get. That is how you can improve.

Action Item: Go beyond just quantitative research which answers the question of “How many”, “Average score”, etc. Also use qualitative research to answer questions regarding “Why I feel this way” and “What actions you need to take to improve”.


You cannot grow your brand without sustained high quality experiences at every step of their journey with you. Fundamental to that is taking responsibly for the quality of every aspect of CX. The burden is on you, the marketer, not the consumer.

Ernan Roman
Ernan Roman (@ernanroman) is president of ERDM Corp. and author of Voice of the Customer Marketing. He was inducted into the DMA Marketing Hall of Fame due to the results his VoC research-based CX strategies achieve for clients such as IBM, Microsoft, QVC, Gilt and HP. ERDM conducts deep qualitative research to help companies understand how customers articulate their feelings and expectations for high value CX and personalization. Named one of the Top 40 Digital Luminaries and one of the 100 Most Influential People in Business Marketing.


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