Customer Experience is a waste of time – part 2

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

In part 2 we look at Leadership, CX as ‘an initiative’ and CX in silos. 

2. Leadership

The CEO must 100% buy-into Customer Experience with her/ his heart and soul, and must have the complete backing of a strong senior management team.

Customer experience has to be consistent for it to work. If one part of the business delivers great customer experience and another part doesn’t, these inconsistencies sometimes leave customers more disappointed than if no effort had been made at all. So the message from the CEO has to be clear, consistent, reasoned and forceful; and their senior team not only have to echo that sentiment, but also have to have the strength to be able to guide/ force that sentiment through the middle management layers as well.

Where it can all go wrong is where the CEO or members of the senior team play lip service to CEM, creating cynicism amongst middle management, front-line and back office teams. Under these circumstances, CEM is destined to fail.

Another instance where CEM can go wrong is where it is deputised within the organisation. If we recognise CX as being a cultural and/ or strategic issue, deputising it to someone down the chain just makes the CEO and their senior team appear to be paying lip-service or treating it as an initiative….

3. CX as ‘an initiative’

Customer experience is a bigger issue than something that can be treated as an initiative. Initiatives, by their very short-term nature, are seen as short-lived, impermanent and a fad. Front line teams understand that the customer’s experience sits right at the heart of a strong relationship between the business and the customer, so anything presented to them as ‘an initiative’ is easily discounted or shrugged off.

Customer Experience needs to be presented as fundamental, consistent and permanent for it to be taken seriously.

4. CX in silos

Similarly to the issue of CX being seen as an initiative, where CX activities are undertaken in functional or operational isolation, they are likely to fail. As well as not obtaining cross-functional buy-in, activities undertaken in separate parts of the business can be inconsistent; not taking into consideration the fact that the experience of the customer usually doesn’t happen in one isolated area of the business.

You may even find two fantastic customer experience activities happening in two different areas of the business, however because they are being developed without consideration to each other, they may be inconsistent or even contradictory. These activities need to be aligned with a single strategic vision of what great customer experience for that business looks like.

(sections 5 – 10 to follow!)