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When I returned to Customer Experience, I was horrified when a major analyst group declared the need for a Customer Experience business return.

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 of great Customer Experience as 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 Management as a matter of principle, they decided CXM 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 Management 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 can be 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.

Business case and strategic alignment

Yuk! Sorry if you are looking for a fashionable silver bullet. As I tend to repeat, 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 Management ask these three questions. If the answer is no to any, go back to the drawing board.

  1. Does the investment pay back in a suitable timeframe?
  2. Do we have a plan to realise the benefits of the investment?
  3. Does the investment support our wider business strategy?


Customer Experience Management and change have an important intersection. They both need the engagement of our teams. See this post for a quick checklist, with apologies that governance is repeated here. Like New York, it is so good I had to list it twice.

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 Management. 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. My tip? Do it well.

Whatever you do, don’t shy away from the idea that you need a return on investment when you improve your 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.

More about Earning a Return on your CXM investment

If you would like to learn more about Earning a Return on your CXM investment – visit this knowledge hub.

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