“The thing is” she said “I find it much better when you start on the outside and work your way in.”
Raising one eyebrow slowly, he looked at her straight in the eye. “I love it when you talk CeXy to me…”
What differentiates Customer Experience (CX or CeX) from other business disciplines is that it is all about seeing things through the eyes of the customer and having an ‘outside in’ view of the company. Whereas business functions focus on becoming as effective and efficient as possible in their specialist fields, CX takes a complete view of the organisation, both functionally and chronologically, and aims to make whole business better at what is does from the customer’s perspective. By doing this, the business should also be improving its top and bottom line performance.
Seeing the bigger picture, however, doesn’t mean ignoring the granularity of customer experience found within all aspects of a business’ operations. Customer Experience is an overarching principle that operates alongside all other business disciplines. Getting customer experiences right requires the organisation to think both strategically and operationally.
However the approach for each business is different, largely based on their level of CX maturity, or indeed how far into their customer experience transformation they already are. For the organisations we speak with, some are considering CeX for the very first time and need support in developing their strategy and undertaking the transformation. Some companies have a well-established strategy and just need some help in realising it. Some companies have done both, but may need some support to ‘fine tune’ or optimise their activities, programmes and/ or operations.
From an advisory perspective, consultants always prefer to start with the strategy, as it enables them to take that ‘big picture’ view of CeX. However some businesses simply don’t need this level of support. To support organisations like these, consultants sometimes get to work on the constituent elements of CeX transformation rather than readdressing the bigger picture.
To this end, we have been working hard to ‘break down’ Customer Experience into its constituent elements, identifying eight different steps to an end-to-end CeX transformation, namely:
1. Frame: Identifying the generic stages and phases of the customer journey, providing a framework for transformation
2. Understand: Gathering three levels of insight (strategic, operational & research-based) about the organisation, the market it operates in and its existing customer experiences
3. Position: Identifying the future strategic direction of the organisation
4. Design: Designing future customer experiences, based on customer and employee promises and commitments
5. Align: Achieving buy-in for new designs through the creation of customer and employee transformation programmes
6. Execute: This involves undertaking transformational activity and business process reengineering across all front and back office business functions
7. Sustain: Embedding transformational change is supported by the delivery of leadership, customer centricity and specialist training activities
8. Review: As organisations and markets change, customer and employee experience activities need to be reviewed to ensure that they are still relevant and are being properly implemented
And, within these eight steps, we have identified sixty different individual activities or programmes that can be undertaken in support of transformation. I guess there really are sixty shades of CeX…