Automation and cultural transformation seem miles apart, but won't work without the other. Great Customer Service needs more than IT.
In 2019, I was shocked – nay horrified – when a major analyst group with a Voice of the Customer platform declared Customer Experience must have a business return or business leaders would not invest. I honestly wondered if I was in the right industry. After all isn’t that obvious? But then I realised there are people out there who see Customer Centricity as a destination.
The problem with the idea that great Customer Experience is a goal is two-fold.
Most people work to feed their kids, pay for their retirement or indulge their passion. They know they need to treat their customers fairly and delight them, but it doesn’t get them out of bed. When faced with Customer Experience as a matter of principle, they decided Customer Experience Management is not for them.
The second problem is the absoluteness of customer centricity, customer focus, or whatever you hear it called. Any out-of-balance approach is like a fad diet. You feel good in the short term, but problems pile up. Like cream cakes, Customer Experience is best as part of a balanced diet. It has to work with the needs of the business and employees.
The returns on Customer Experience are hard to explain. They are not as simple as investing in tech or a new service. As a result, CX is rarely a management priority. As CX professionals, we need to show returns quickly and convincingly and we need simple tools that work over and over to do that. That hasn’t changed since day 1.
Business case and strategic alignment
Yuk! Sorry if you are looking for a fashionable silver bullet. As we keep saying, the basics are essential, even when they are decidedly unsexy and appear to have little to do with customers. Before making any investment in Customer Experience ask these three questions. If the answer is no to any, go back to the drawing board.
- Does the investment pay back in a suitable timeframe?
- Do we have a plan to realise the benefits of the investment?
- Does the investment support our wider business strategy?
Customer Experience and change have an important intersection. They both need the engagement of our teams. See August’s post for a quick checklist, with apologies that governance is repeated – like New York, it is so good I had to list it twice.
In simple terms, get your team on board, give them the tools and support they need to succeed and celebrate their achievements.
Or the things you need to do to be successful in change – and Customer Experience. Governance helps balance juicy insights and team enthusiasm with the needs of the business and other stakeholders. Done well it is a simple way to make sure we are working on the right things, we have support and everyone knows their part in change. Done badly it is bureaucratic, stifling and slows down progress. So our tip? Do it well.
Whatever you do, don’t shy away from the idea that we need a return on investment when we improve our customers’ experience. It can be a thorny subject, which, left too late, grows uncontrollably. So, find the right approach for you, demonstrate value, learn lessons and repeat.
Your business, teams and customers will reward you as a result.