Why Your Customer Experience Strategy Falls Short (And How to Fix It)


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Why CX Strategies fall short – Sketchnote by Mareli Smit

When it comes to creating outstanding customer experiences, we often hear the same stories of struggle: “Our brand is facing a crisis,” or “We need our staff to take customer experience (CX) more seriously.” While many organisations recognise the importance of CX, implementing an effective strategy can sometimes feel like a climb up a steep hill. If you’ve experienced this, you’re not alone.

At Brandlove, we’ve spent countless hours in our Brand Warrior personal and team development sessions with employees and leaders across various industries. We’ve seen firsthand where CX strategies stumble and where they can be lifted to new heights. Let’s dive into the common reasons why organisations fall short on CX and offer some solutions to keep the momentum going.

Why Do Employees Fall Short?

Skills and autonomy:

Many employees simply don’t know what CX means or lack the skills to solve customer problems. And even when they do have the skills, they often don’t have the autonomy to make impactful decisions, which can feel soul-crushing.

Ownership and capacity:

Employees might not fully understand their role in CX and the responsibility often falls solely on the CX team. Add to that the stress of day-to-day tasks and the capacity or willingness to take on more responsibility, diminishes.

Toxic environment:

If the internal environment is toxic or driven by fear, it’s hard for employees to create amazing experiences for customers. A negative workplace affects everyone.

Lack of pride and purpose:

Over time, employees may lose their sense of pride and purpose, often due to disappointment and hurt throughout their career. They might show up just for a paycheck, having forgotten the passion that once drove them. An employee who is functioning on autopilot can’t deliver outstanding experiences.

Emotional capacity:

Many employees are exhausted, overworked and under-supported. Leaders face immense pressure to deliver results, creating a pressure cooker of stress and burnout for many. In such environments, emotional capacity is low, impacting both internal and external interactions.

How to Remedy These Challenges?

Here’s where we can start to turn the tide and create a more positive and empowering environment for employees, leading to better Customer Experience outcomes.

1. Give autonomy: At Ritz-Carlton for example, staff have the autonomy to make decisions to solve customer problems, within a certain limit. Consider allowing your staff similar autonomy, empowering them to handle customer problems with confidence. This can be a game-changer. Additionally, encourage empathy mapping exercises, helping employees to get into the shoes of customers and get a better understanding of the customer journey from the customer’s perspective. This fosters a deeper connection with those they serve.

2. CX training for all: Enroll all staff in a Customer Experience foundation course. While they don’t need to become journey designers, understanding their role in the customer journey can make a significant difference. Offer examples of good and bad customer experiences to clarify expectations.

3. Assess and improve internal culture: Take a close look at your workplace culture. Is accountability practiced? How do people listen in meetings—are they listening to understand or to defend? Introduce soft skills training like accountability, feedback and listening. And importantly, leaders should model these behaviours.

4. Reignite passion: Sometimes, all it takes is a little spark to reignite someone’s passion. Offer employees an hour a week to pursue a hobby or teach a skill to their colleagues. This can be a game-changer for morale and connection.

5. Normalise emotion: We are all human beings, not human doings. It’s crucial to normalise emotions in the workplace. Consider daily check-ins in team meetings, where people can share how they’re feeling without the need for explanations or fixes. This helps create a more empathetic environment where people feel valued and understood.

With these steps, you can create a ripple effect that extends beyond employee experiences and into the customer realm. By fostering a workplace where employees feel valued, empowered and connected, you’re on your way to building lasting customer relationships.

Go forth and create a culture of warmth, empathy and authenticity that resonates with both employees and customers and see the difference in all experiences!

Mareli Smit
Hi, I'm Mareli Smit! I’m the Program Director for the Brand Warrior initiative at Brandlove, where we create transformative experiences for employees and customers. I also run our Customer Experience Mastery program, giving CX leaders the tools for success. I’m also the author of "It's About Time" a guide to designing your life. Outside work, I enjoy cooking, mountain trails, and relaxing by the beach. I'm passionate about guiding individuals and teams to success. Let's connect and start a conversation!


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