What Customer Experience Trend?

Blurred city scene

CX is a whirlwind of change.

  • Personalization is improving areas such as marketing communications, promotional offers, and recommended next-best actions.
  • AI and machine learning in marketing (e.g. retargeting) and service (e.g., chatbots) is helping companies to provide more relevant experiences.
  • Vendors impacted by business model changes such as the growth of the subscription economy and by disruptive competitors are increasing their focus on customer success to improve retention.
  • Mobile is spurring and supporting the growth of proactive service and support.
    And so is AI.
  • Customer journey mapping is experiencing a resurgence, buoyed by new supporting technologies and access to more and better data.

These are just a handful of the trends impacting customer experience leaders and their organization’s CX practices.

But, as the adage goes, all is not sunshine and rainbows. Despite all this advancement, many companies CX efforts are faltering because of a simple misconception:

Far too many senior executives still equate customer experience solely with customer service. They assume that because their frontline staff is personable and that self-service on their website or mobile app is relatively easy, their CX is stellar. Uh, no.

This is evident in research from Bain: 80 percent of CEOs believe that their organization provides a superior customer experience; only 8 percent of their customers agree.

Customer experience reaches far beyond service, and companies that ignore the true breadth of CX will lose to competitors. Period.

One simple definition of CX is from Don Peppers: Customer experience is “the totality of a customer’s interactions with a brand over time.”

Consider, for example…

  • The frustration customers feel when they can’t unsubscribe from an email list, or being opted in to one without being asked
  • The elation they feel when unboxing a highly anticipated purchase
  • The anxiety they experience trying to understand a convoluted bill
  • The thrill of receiving an unexpected perk
  • The disappointment they feel having to switch products, plans, or providers that they especially value—or being “trapped” using one that no longer suits their needs

The list of experiences and interactions that comprise the totality of the customer experience is exhaustive. That’s what makes delivering a superior customer experience so challenging.

That scope is also what makes it crucial to…

  1. think outside the walls of customer service and understand what elements of your organization’s CX are most important to your customers; that is, most likely to impact their likelihood to stay (or leave), repurchase (or buy less), and recommend (or warn others away);
  2. understand which of those aspects of CX have the greatest impact on sales and profitability;
  3. and get the basics of your CX right before providing “random acts of superior customer experience” that backfire because most of your organizations interactions are lacking.

(I’m not suggesting that you ignore customer service. I’m saying, perfect it and work to optimize the customer experience in every part of your organization over time—prioritized by what customers value and what delivers the most business value.)

So, go ahead, purse the latest customer experience trends. But make sure you’re latching onto trends that deliver value to customers as they define it, deliver value to your organization, and address more than just customer service. Because a friendly interaction with a frontline employee is just lipstick on a pig when the rest of your CX sucks.

This post is part of the Customer Experience Professionals Association’s Blog Carnival celebrating customer experience. It’s part of a broader celebration of Customer Experience Day 2017. Check out posts from other bloggers at the blog carnival. And learn more about CX Day at: http://cxday.org