Zooming Out for Better Customer Experiences

One of our most common pieces of advice as CX consultants is for companies to look inward. Before spending a bunch of money and time on strategies, you first need to truly understand your business objectives, your customers, and what your customers need from you. Just because a shiny new platform or tactic works for someone else doesn’t mean it will work for you. And this is great advice, because customer experiences are contextual

However, leaders can often get stuck in patterns of looking inward and miss impactful macro trends (sometimes resulting in massive impacts to their business). This harmful “zoomed-in” perspective can also impact individual departments within an organization and contribute to siloing. 

Don’t get caught with blinders on! Let’s dive into three areas where you may be zooming in too much, with examples to show what you could be missing. 

Industry Zoom In: The Blockbuster Issue

Everyone remembers Blockbuster, either as a nostalgic way to kick off a weekend or as this archaic place you heard about from your parents but still can’t understand how it worked. 

In the late 90s and early 2000s, leaders at Blockbuster had their strategy down. Their main competitors were other video rental stores and they were out-expanding all of them. Too easy! One can imagine what their CX teams were asking themselves: How can we make our video aisles pop? What snacks and other compliments to the home movie experience can we offer? 

Meanwhile (and really for the several years previously) leaders at Netflix were asking a bigger question: Where and how do people want to watch movies?  Brands can get so consumed by what they are and do that they have blinders toward parallel industries. If Blockbuster would have looked at the tech industry and recognized what the digitization of products could mean for movies, its outcome could have looked different. And in the end, nothing they could do to spruce up their aisles was going to help. 

Don’t ask: How can we do what everyone else is doing, but best? Ask: How can we do something different?

Customer Zoom In: The Missing-Out Issue

For service providers, paywalls became a consistent presence as consumers moved to more of an a-la-carte approach. If you want our content, services, etc., you have to pay for it. This makes it really simple to know who your customers are and how to engage with them. But it can also narrow your scope too much. 

Studio Science once worked with a brand that leveraged a paywall and had been collecting data on customers who made it past the paywall and were paying for the product. This brand wanted to know how to make the behind-the-paywall experience better. It’s not a bad idea – enhancing customer experiences is always worth doing – but the company was missing out. By focusing so much on the behind-the-paywall experience, and only leveraging data from inside it, the company was blind to a large swath of untapped potential. 

When we came in, one of the first questions we asked was, Who are the people who want your product but don’t get past the paywall? Then we did some old-fashioned customer research and found that the problem wasn’t the paywall experience, it was the paywall itself. The company removed the paywall and increased its traffic and customer base by broadening the perspective of who its customers could be. In this case, zooming in on an existing customer base blinded leaders to a new group of potential customers. 

Customer Zoom In: The Employee Issue

While the majority of attention gets put on achieving excellent customer experiences, it’s often forgotten that what makes those experiences possible is really excellent employee experiences. And no matter how much anyone tries to argue otherwise, leaders in decision-making seats are far removed from the experience of the on-the-ground employee. It’s nearly impossible for them to look at the company and their work the same way. 

Quite a few companies look at their employees as the problem with your customer experiences – they need to work harder or do better – but top-level experiences only happen when leaders are able to step back, look at the organization holistically, and view CX as a mindset that everyone owns. I have a good perspective on this as someone who comes into brands from the outside and often sees that there’s a giant disconnect between employees and leaders. When employees at every level of an organization are all aligned and in support of a bigger purpose for why their customers are worth it, it shows. Don’t get too zoomed-in to the business outcomes to forget that happy employees = happy customers. 

We go deeper into this topic and other strategies for creating better customer experiences in our recent webinar with partner WordPress VIP, which you can watch on demand

Let’s talk about your next project

Talk to us