Enough With All the "X's". It's Time to Act!

By Bob Azman CCXP posted 02-23-2022 10:58 AM

PX. UX. EX. XM. SX. How many different “X’s” can you name to describe the experience you want for your customers? We seem to have gone overboard in our efforts to include every type of experience ever thought of in modern times. Aren’t we all, customers?  Aren’t we buying products or requesting services or asking for assistance? Tagging the type of experience as an acronym seems to minimize the true importance of what we are trying to accomplish, namely better experiences.  Experience professionals like us, started this desire to “name it”, but that’s only a small part of what we are expected to accomplish.  Enough with all the “X’s”.  It’s time to act.

I’ve said it once.  I’ll say it now.  And unfortunately, I’ll probably keep saying it for a very long time.   You don’t need complicated strategy documents, journey maps, expensive surveys, and months of tying up human and financial resources to understand your customers’ experience.  You already know what’s wrong with the experience, otherwise you wouldn’t be doing all the things I just mentioned.  So why not simply act.  Fix what is causing customer frustration. Two groups of stakeholders can tell exactly what’s wrong and what to do about it – your employees and your customers (in that order).  Why not take some time to talk with both  groups to help confirm what you already suspected was negatively impacting your desired customer experience? 

Things like:

  • Cumbersome websites
  • Promotions that confuse rather than promote
  • Long service times for calls and emails
  • Bots that frustrate customers with circular logic
  • Inaccurate inventories
  • Broken mobile applications
  • Late shipments
  • Lack of or incorrect customer communications
  • Overcharges, billing mistakes, excessive shipping charges

None of these things should be happening when your customers interact with your brand.  Yet, they continue to happen every hour of every day.  Why?  The latest answers are labor shortages, supply chain woes, and of course, the pandemic.  The problem is bad experiences in some organizations were happening BEFORE this latest round of crises.  If your experience was broken, this and future crises will only make it go from bad to worse.  And of course, now those same organizations with broken experiences, claim they don’t have time to fix it because they are managing through the pandemic.  Unfortunately, this isn’t an either/or situation.  If your experience is broken, you must do both.  You must change the tires on a car going 65 miles per hour down the highway and not miss a turn or lower your speed.  You don’t get to stop on the side of the road and repair a flat.  Your customers aren’t going to wait for you to get your act together.  They will move on to your competitor and any remaining loyalty you may have had will be gone for good.   As Isaac Newton said, “Objects in motion tend to stay in motion”.  If your customers are moving to your competitors, it’s hard to stop them once they’ve started.  But it’s also a way to start improving your experiences – once you move in that direction, it’s hard to stop.  It becomes easier to overcome the roadblocks and speed bumps. 

Fixing the core is what needs to be done.  Getting to the root cause of what’s causing customer friction points.  Creating a sustainable experience is the goal.  Mistakes will happen but how well we recover from them and fix the problem once and for all is the key.  Customers will understand “a” mistake – they just don’t understand the same mistakes being made repeatedly.  We want customers who are not only satisfied with our products and services but are loyal to our brand and tell others about their experiences. 

Sometimes organizations need “burning platforms” to get them to move towards action instead of discussion.  Burning platforms such as: new product innovations,  market share loss, competitive threats, and disruptive technologies to name a few.  Organizations who need a burning platform may not survive their quest to improve.  Employees know what’s wrong.  Customers are telling you what’s wrong.  Why aren’t you listening? 

I know what I’m suggesting is easier said than done.  I understand as experience professionals that we operate in complex organizations filled with naysayers and doubters.  I recognize that sometimes profits override reality in organizations determined to meet analysts’ quarterly expectations.  If not us, then who?  Who will advocate for our customers?  Who will strive for better processes and improved customer interactions?  Who will keep the brand promise of delivering better experiences? 

It’s our responsibility to move beyond the “X’s” and act.  What’s your next move?