Customer Experience is a waste of time – part 1…

Is the problem Customer Experience itself or the way in which it’s being done? 

In part 1 we look at company culture. 

There you go! I’ve gone and said it!

Do I mean it? Absolutely!

Well, kind of….

Now, this initial statement might just appear to be career suicide for someone positioning themselves as a Customer Experience Management practitioner, however that is not the intention. There is a very serious point to be made here. And I’m not the first person to make it.  Some of my esteemed colleagues have spoken about it before, including Bob Thompson and Colin Shaw.

Bob goes as far as to claim that 93% of Customer Experience ‘initiatives’ are failing. It isn’t clear from the article how that figure is derived, although he states that only 23% of the respondents to a survey he conducted claimed to have seen tangible benefits from Customer Experience initiatives they have undertaken. Even this isn’t a great return, by anybody’s reckoning.

So, the question remains as to whether there is anything inherently ‘wrong’ with Customer Experience Management; or whether this has more to do with the way in which it’s being conducted.

It is very difficult to argue against the principle of Customer Experience Management. Orientating your business around the people who give you money sounds and feels intrinsically & instinctively right. If you give them a good experience, they will come back and spend again. This being the case, it is unlikely to be Customer Experience Management that is, in itself, wrong. The figures provided in the annual Watermark survey consistently back this up.

So, this leaves the question of whether CEM is being practiced badly. In my opinion, this is the key to the issue, however experience also shows us that there isn’t one single cure-all to address the issue, as it has a number of different causes. Here are ten causes that we have come across:

1. Culture

Peter Drucker claimed that “Culture eats strategy for breakfast” and the same can be for the relationship between culture & Customer Experience Management. In fact, it can be argued that culture sits right at the very heart of CEM. If we look at the companies who are lauded for having been successful at CEM, not just as an isolated ‘initiative’ but right across the board (e.g. SouthWest, Zappos, Disney), they all have one thing in common, namely strong and positive people-focused company cultures.

It doesn’t matter how hard an organisation works at improving Customer Experience through focused attention on CX initiatives, if the culture of the company is wrong, the initiatives will typically be seen as a fad and they will eventually lose momentum and die off.

(sections 2 – 10 to follow!)