Customer Experience is a waste of time – part 4

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

In part 4 we look at CX done with no goal, CX done as a cost-cutting exercise and CX done tactically not strategically. 

8. CX done with no goal

With one tender we worked on a number of years ago, the issuing company stated that they did not want any Customer Journey Mapping activity to be included as part of the tender response. Given that Customer Journey Mapping is a key element of the research work we undertake, we went back to the client to ask why this had been stipulated. The response we got was shocking.

They stated that they had “done Customer Journey Mapping 3-4 times already, but that nothing had changed as a result of the work”. We were initially surprised by this statement, but when we dug deeper, everything became clear.

Customer Journey Mapping had, indeed, been done, although not necessarily in the same way we would have done it, and certainly not with the same outcome that we would have expected. The three examples of journey maps provided by the company in question were very attractive visual presentations of their customers’ chronological experiences, however they all lacked the detail and depth that we would have expected to have seen.

Customer Journey Mapping is great, but the output is not just about the map. The key outputs should be the pain points, moments of truth, commercial opportunities and wow opportunities that are derived from the mapping exercise. It is these elements that, if used correctly, form the basis of transformation activity within the business that will drive the required Customer Experience improvements.

There are many ‘buzzwords’ that have arisen from Customer Experience Management over the past twenty years, including Journey mapping and Voice of the Customer. A great deal of work has been undertaken over the years in these areas, however for many (if not most) of the organisations doing this work, it hasn’t led to positive commercial and transformational outcomes.

If the Customer Experience work being undertaken by a business doesn’t lead to a clear measurable and commercial outcome, our recommendation would be to stop doing it immediately.

9. CX done as a cost-cutting exercise

In many instances, Customer Experience activity can drive cost reductions within an organisation. One very clear example of this is self service technology, that not only provides customers with a good experience (e.g. 24hr online banking that gives consumers flexibility and control over their money and transactions), it also drives cost reductions for the business.

However as some organisations have become aware of this benefit, they have started to implement Customer Experience projects as a cost-cutting initiative. This may work in some instances, however we would suggest that in most instances where projects have been successful, cost-cutting has been a consequence, not the key focus of the activity.

The main challenge is that these projects can be put in the hands of the wrong people within the organisation. Many of these activities can be IT driven, who as non customer-focused individuals, might not have the interests of the customer at heart. The result can potentially be technology that aims to drive down costs, but which is massively underutilised, as it does not provide customers with a great experience.

To repeat, cost should be a consequence, never a focus.

10. CX done tactically not strategically

This is a similar point to a couple of the areas already covered, but worth a mention in isolation.

The entirety of the customer’s experience is cross-functional, e.g. Marketing, Sales, Customer Service, Billing, etc., so when the organisation looks to design the customer’s end-to-end experience, they need to be doing this at a strategic rather than a tactical level. We have already mentioned CX in silos and run as initiatives, which can be a consequence of a lack of strategic focus.

The organisation needs to remember that the customer’s relationship is with the brand; and that the brand is all about reputation. Reputation is an all-encompassing concept that touches all part of the organisation.

The brand makes a promise that the company, as a whole, needs to effectively deliver against.


So, in summary, in instances where Customer Experience Transformation & Management are being undertaken poorly, they are a waste of an organisation’s time and effort.

But that doesn’t have to be the case…