Is Your Company ‘Ready’ for Customer Experience?

By Patrick Dawson posted 09-26-2015 05:24 PM


That might seem like a strange question – especially from someone who gets paid to help companies along their CX Journey. But it’s an important one to ask. Here’s why:

CX Design is different from other customer-facing initiatives. Advertising campaigns come and go. Promotions are short-lived by definition. But Customer Experience has a ‘permanence of impact’ on an organization, its associates, and its customers.

As my good friend Lou Carbone has often said, “You can’t not have an experience.” In other words, your company is presenting a customer experience today, with or without a conscious design. The difference in embarking on a formal CX journey is one of intentionality. If your company is about take the first step, here are 5 questions to consider:

  1. Who’s your customer?
  2. What does Customer Experience comprise?
  3. How do you do Customer Experience design?
  4. Why does Customer Experience matter?
  5. What will it cost and how will you measure success?

Here’s our perspective at Conga:

  1. Who’s your customer…or customers? Is it the end-user of your product? Is it your dealer network or channel? We’re working with an artistic performance company that actually has three customers: its artistic creators, producers who stage performances, and the audience that buys the tickets. Chances are there’s an accepted definition of the customer in your company today. But take the time to challenge that belief. If you determine that you have multiple customers, then the corollary to that question is for which audience are you designing the customer experience?
  2. What constitutes Customer Experience? In a nutshell, it is the sum of all interactions with your company – from the first time a prospective customer hears your brand name, all throughout their transactions, to the memories embedded in their hearts and minds. ‘Omni-channel’ is the popular term, which means all digital, human, and sensory touches. We use the noun ‘sum’ for a reason – your customers are doing ‘experience math’ throughout their interactions with you: a +5 here, a -2 there… at the end of the day, what did their customer experience add up to?

  3.  What is Customer Experience design? It is a core strategy – not a program, nor a department -- to design all customer interactions so as to fulfill your customers’ emotional and functional wants and needs. It’s about learning how your customers feel (metaphorically) about the category and the role (archetype) they want you to play in their lives. It’s creating the way for your business to deliver their preferred experience day in and day out. It is not process improvement -- though it likely will require improvement to processes. It is not customer satisfaction -- though it likely will impact it. It is not measuring how well you’re doing what you’re doing; rather it’s what you should be doing to create the experience your customer desires. To help, we’ve built a CX Design Map that you can download or order pre-printed for free.

  4. Why does Customer Experience matter? Brands promise something of value to customers. Once customers interact with the brand, that ‘promise’ is replaced -- in their hearts and minds -- with the reality of their experience. For better or worse, the Customer Experience becomes the brand. And that’s the brand your customers either buy or ignore, build up or tear down, stay loyal to or abandon. 
  5. What will it cost and how will you measure success? The buy-in of executive leadership isn’t just a ‘nice to have’ for a successful CX journey. It’s an absolute -- and that buy-in requires a satisfactory answer to this question. The answer is situational, of course, but we believe it should include 2 perspectives. The first is rational and is core to metrics embedded in the company culture (i.e., customer sat, Net Promote Score). The second perspective is emotional – how well the customer experience is aligned with the one your customers desire. Chances are that metric will be new to the organization. Response latency and metaphor elicitation are two techniques we’ve used in assessment. In both cases, be sure that your measurement and timing are aligned and defined. For example, what leading indicators that can be measured during prototyping and launch, compared to lagging indicators that will follow months later. Here’s a link to an excellent piece from Customer Strategist analysis on connecting CX with ROI.

It may seem that these 5 questions will delay the start of CX Journey. They may push the start date back a bit, but they’ll save you a ton of time in the long run and, more importantly, enhance your chances of success.  

#IndustryBestPractices #Frameworks #CommunicatingROI #CXTools #ChangeManagement #Prioritization #DesignMethodologies #Collaboration #ROI
1 comment



09-29-2015 03:18 PM

Good points, Patrick. Every role in the company can be more effective by seeing their work within a customer experience excellence context.
One way we can help every employee begin to appreciate this is through the testimonials that we'll hear on CX Day in the video panel discussion at 4pm ET: "How Every Employee Has an Impact on the Customer Experience" specially designed for integrating into company celebrations! Hope you don't mind the plug here!