Considering the number of times the term “the customer experience” is used in business circles every day, you would think it was a well-understood concept.
I’ve never understood the term. What is “the customer experience”? Don’t customers have many different types of experiences? Don’t different types of customers have — and need — different types of customer experiences?
In a survey from the CMO Council, senior marketers were asked, “What do you believe are the most important attributes and elements of the customer experience to your customer?”
The responses to the survey question are fraught with inconsistency:
Here’s a question for the marketers who said “fast response times” is important:
How do you think that happens, if not with “knowledgeable staff,” “multiple channels of engagement,” “readily available multi-channel information,” and “multiple touchpoints that add value to the customer?”
I’m still left wondering what exactly “the customer experience” is. My search for a good definition has not been fruitful.
One graphic I found (see above) implies that CX (that’s what the cool kids call customer experience) encompasses the product/service, marketing, customer service, point of sale, and call center. So what doesn’t it include?
Here’s a not particularly helpful definition:
Internal and subjective response? Huh?
One website I found had this to say:
“What does customer experience mean? Defining a great customer experience refers to the complete experience the customer has with your business.”
That doesn’t make any sense. I don’t think that statement is even grammatically correct.
There’s no denying that “the customer experience” is important to business execs, however.
Three-quarters of respondents to a Customer Management IQ survey rated customer experience a “high priority” within their organizations. A blog post on SAP’s website said that “a Bloomberg BusinessWeek survey revealed that delivering a great customer experience has become the new imperative.”
What we’re left with here is:
Brilliant. Simply brilliant.
If that’s not enough to convince you that this CX stuff is a bunch of nonsense, read this from a tech vendor’s blog:
“George Colony, Forrester Research CEO, visited the CMO of a very large bank to provide her with her company’s new Forrester CX Index score. Upon review, she remarked that her next biggest competitor, who spent one-fifth the amount as she did on customer experience, had a better score. George explained that it was likely because the way the two companies approached their customers was vastly different. The CMO asked for evidence and George obliged. After reviewing letters from the CEO to shareholders, he found their competitor used the word ‘customers’ much more often.”
There are three problems with this story:
Here’s the problem, and some of you are not going to like hearing this: This whole “customer experience management” nonsense is a reflection of a desire to simplify the complex, and find a silver bullet — the one thing — that can be done to fix a problem and/or achieve success.
Just fix “the customer experience” and your business will have loyal customers who never complain and buy more and more without you even having to ask them to do so! Sadly, it’s not that easy.
The harsh reality is that you have to take a much more granular approach, and:
What this means: Organizational attempts to create a “chief customer experience officer” are doomed to fail.
What purview would this individual have? What authority would s/he have to change existing processes and functions that are run and led by other executives? How much of a budget would/should this person have, and out of whose existing budget is this money coming from?
And more importantly: Why aren’t the executives currently managing the processes, functions, and department that produce “customer experiences” already improving “the customer experience”?
Ironically (or maybe not ironically), the same mentality that produced the “the customer experience” mentality–the expedient desire for a quick fix–is what produced the rise of a so-called senior executive position to deliver on that quick fix.
Note to CEOs: Are there parts of your firm’s “customer experience” that are broken? Here’s what you should do:
In other words, this isn’t about implementing entirely new applications and systems (which may very well be part of the longer-term plan), but about finding the quick fixes — the changes to workflow, for example — that can make “the customer experience” a little better.
Little changes in the flow (i.e., customer experience) can go a long way to improving customers’ impressions and overall satisfaction. Especially if it’s a process (OK, experience) that they repeatedly engage in.