What happens when the bloom falls off the rose?


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Years ago, I attended a friend’s wedding and to my surprise, at the end of the wedding ceremony, the Rabbi talked about the importance of becoming friends and having a good relationship, because in 10 years, the bloom will be off the rose.

While I was shocked that the rabbi would say such a thing during the wedding ceremony, he was highlighting that the success of the couple’s relationship down the road would rely on something more than attraction.  There had to be substance.

I am reminded of this experience when I look at today’s changing customer experience landscape.  There are several new approaches and offerings that on the outside seem quite attractive.  Unfortunately, a few years after implementation, customer experience managers are often left scratching their heads.

There is good reason why these approaches are attractive.  What they bring to the table is important to successful customer experience management programs.  However, they leave users scratching their heads because many of these approaches are one-dimensional.

Don’t Confuse Efficiency with Effectiveness

A number of companies have adopted customer experience measurement programs offered by Enterprise Feedback Management companies (EFMs).  These new entrants to customer experience management are attractive for two main reasons:

1)      EFMs have created standard “80% approaches” (meaning they deliver 80% of what people want in a program) that are good enough for many companies and improve the speed at which companies are able to implement new transactional customer experience measurement programs.

2)      EFMs also focus heavily on the user experience for both customers and the employees they interact with. Plus, they emphasize the speed of service recovery alerts to front line staff.

While these features make the implementation of transactional customer experience measurement programs and usage of their results more efficient, these solutions fail to address what companies need today to more effectively manage the customer experience.

What’s Missing?

Customer Experience Management programs that are successful in the long-term, deliver on critical outcomes companies are striving for.  EFM solutions fail to deliver on these needs.

Differentiated Customer Experience – Companies across industries often claim they will differentiate from competition more and more on the customer experience.  If the core benefit of the customer experience program is efficiently identifying and addressing customer problems, that’s not differentiation, but rather aiming to be the tallest of the seven dwarfs.

Solution: Don’t just use your CEM program to focus on protecting your brand from product and service failures.  The program should also focus on whether you are delivering the positive aspects of your customer experience that you believe will differentiate your brand.

Stronger, More Durable Customer Relationships –an obvious goal of any customer experience program is to build stronger relationships with customers.  Stronger customer relationships come from HELPING customers, not just selling them products and services.  When you help customers, they are more loyal, lowering costs to serve them and greater customer advocacy (the cheapest and most effective marketing).  If a customer experience program is a one-way dialogue, focused only on transactions and not the customer’s journey overall, how can the organization focus on the relationship and the collection of experiences each customer has with its products or services?

Solution: Focus on the customer’s journey, not just transactions.  Have a two-way dialogue.  Engagement with the customer should take into account their whole customer experience. Each customer’s feelings about a brand is not based on any one transaction, but on the collection of not only transactions, but also day-to-day experience with your product or service.  

Long-term Program ROI – It’s not a radical idea to think that companies should not only get an ROI on their customer experience management activities, but  as they invest in a continuous program, benefits should be cumulative and grow over time.  However, if customer participation and engagement are going down because they see no value in it, less and less value is derived over time.  The key to long-term ROI is in creating mutual benefit for both the company and its customers.

Solution: As part of your engagement with customers give back to them.  Show them they are appreciated by helping them along their journey with you.  Treat customers as a valued asset that has long-term value and use the customer experience program to support their future engagement with you, not just their past engagement.

If you don’t build these features into your customer experience management program, you may wish you had a rabbi (or someone else) to remind you about not just what attracted you to the program, but whether down the road it has the substance you need to drive an improved customer experience, and your business results.

Are you worried about whether the bloom will fall off the rose of your Customer Experience Management program?  Let me know your thoughts!

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Michael Allenson
Michael is Founder of CXDriven. Formerly he was Principal CX Transformation Consultant at MaritzCX where he led a global team that consulted with clients on how to better leverage their customer experience management programs to drive business success. A frequent writer and presenter, Michael is passionate about helping companies leverage customer intelligence to take action that creates lasting customer relationships and sustainable improvements in growth and profitability. Over a 20+ year career, he has consulted with numerous Fortune 500 companies and their leadership teams on how to uncover superior insights and turn them into action. Prior to his role at MaritzCX, Michael was a Senior Consultant for Maritz Research, Technomic, Diamond Management and Technology Consultants and Leo J. Shapiro and Associates.


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