In my last blog post, I inquired as to why, despite a universal agreement that the customer experience (CX) is important, more leaders aren’t investing in it. According to our latest trend report “Blueprint for a Better Way to Lead Customer Experience,” it’s sure as hell not because they don’t know they need to; people just can’t seem to get on the same page about what the customer experience actually means.
They say the first step in addressing a problem is knowing you have one. So let me tell you, if you are currently delivering a poor customer experience, there is a 90% chance your problem is due to an internal misalignment about how to define and manage it (and you’re probably contributing to it).
A customer experience in itself isn’t difficult to define, but its role and place in your org can be. CX is one of the most cross-functional aspects inside any business. There’s, of course, customer service, sales, and marketing, but then there’s also operations, product, IT, HR, finance, and so forth. All of these separate departments impact the customer experience – some in more obvious ways than others. When something like CX spans a multitude of various budgets and stakeholders, it begs the question, “who owns the budget?”
In business, we’re trained to budget and organize in little silos that never connect the whole picture together. It’s a logistical problem. And until executives start to force their siloed organizations to think about their customer experience holistically and give it its own realm (and budget), the struggle will continue to be real. Because if you don’t know who is responsible for CX – or put that responsibility on everyone – then nothing will be accomplished.
I’ve heard that time and again. And I call BS.
Companies are spending plenty of money, even with the economic challenges of the past few years. It’s more likely that the organizations claiming to not have any budget are just not spending it in ways that meet the needs of their customers. Running a business is expensive, and the cost of your time, people, and operations continue to rise. That’s why you must be efficient with your investments and focus spending on areas that will improve your ROI, which is CX.
This isn’t as easy as it may sound. Otherwise, there would be no need for this article as everyone would have it figured out. But you can avoid these pitfalls more successfully if you go ask your customers what they truly want instead of talking internally about what they need. That’s why it can be beneficial to work with a partner who can bring that outsider (and expert) perspective and define what CX truly means to your specific organization and what your customers expect from your brand.
Business and the world at large is evolving at a rapid pace. You may have heard that the only constant is change? That means buying a new technology or implementing a new strategy six months ago and putting your feet up doesn’t cut it. Your customers’ behaviors are changing by the minute, and you’d better be able to keep up.
That’s where iteration comes in, along with the necessity of working with real information. Even if you spend tens of millions of dollars on such a system, if it’s not designed using real information from real people – and evolving as those real people change their real behaviors – it will not succeed.
Your customer experiences need a strategy, and strategy is about choice and prioritization. You don’t have to be everything to everyone right away. Begin by focusing your CX on the aspects your customers have told you are most important and that will drive the best ROI and make sure you have a clearly defined team and budget ready to support its success.
The start can feel daunting, but you don’t have to go at it alone. If you’re ready to identify, define, and execute what CX means to you and your organization, let us know how we can help.