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In our blog series, Mandisa Makubalo shows businesses must embrace diversity to serve our customers and thrive. She defines diversity as:

“Acceptance and respect. It means understanding customers are unique and recognizing their uniqueness and differences. Some of these differences include the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies.”

Mandisa gives five reasons customer experience strategy fails to make the point CX at its best, at its most profitable, must be diverse.

Let's look at those reasons for CX strategy failure

  1. Thinking for the customer. When we assume we know our customers, we make poor decisions. Accepting we are not representative of our customer base is the start of a journey to open doors to a wide range of possibilities.
  2. Fails to represent customer diversity. When building a picture of our entire customer base and segmenting it, we have to accept and reflect diversity. Granularity will create many segments, but the alternative is letting people down and losing their custom.
  3. Leaves out the voice of the customer. Listening to the Voice of the Customer cuts out our assumptions. Building an empathy map from service design is a brilliant way to do this. We can expand the empathy map using Customer Personas and Value Propositions. If you are thinking ‘I have avatars for my clients, so I am okay’, check out this LinkedIn post.
  4. Leadership biases. The truth hurts and listening to customers can bring up things we would rather not hear. We know about leaders who ignore customer feedback or launch the products / services they want. But biases go further and deeper. Just this week I read of biases in medicine that mean people of colour are given ineffective care. The easiest way to overcome biases is to invite diverse stakeholders to comment on and criticism our CX strategy. The best time to do this is yesterday. But if your time machine hasn’t arrived, do it tomorrow.
  5. Rigorous and stringent. This failure masks as a strength, the ability to cut through the noise by putting our fingers in our ears, tighten scopes to get work done, back the right horse by eliminating the tricky subjects. Good CX and good diversity are flexible. They consider the long term and swallow the costs of ‘scope creep’ and listening to customers in the name of sustainable growth.

Mandisa recommends using human centred design processes to avoid these pitfalls, and they were popular last time we mentioned them and closes with this great quote:

“…remember, customers are diverse by nature and a meaningful CX strategy is one that embraces this diversity!”

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