Don’t get me wrong…working on the improvement and development of customer experiences is what we need to do. However…like so many of the customer focused solutions that have come and gone before it, we’ve lost the forest for the trees.
For example, there are 47 pages of Google images for “customer experience.” We now have every conceivable type of chart, graph, hologram, diagram and process about customer experience. But what kind of experience are we all having trying to implement it?
A hard one. It’s hard to implement experience on top of an organization that:
- Doesn’t know what customer experience means – but is beginning to take action on it
- Is not good at collaborating – but doesn’t address how they’ll learn to collaborate – a requirement for delivering experiences customers will want to repeat
- Layers this work on top of everything else
The fact of the matter is that customer experience work is like diet and exercise. We all want the outcome. Most of us don’t put in the hard work to make it successful.
The only way that diet and exercise work is if we go into it with the right mindset and the right understanding of what we’re going to get into. There will be sweat. It will be work. It will get bad before it gets better.
Action 1 – Know Where You Are Now in the Process
- We have assembled many groups of people in the company to identify customer touch points? Yes____ No ____
- We have brought in customers to validate and course-correct our findings? Yes ____ No ___
- We have now held numerous sessions and people are starting to wonder what we are going to do with all this mapping? Yes ___ No ___
- We have identified and agreed upon with the organization – the end to end customer experience? Yes ___ No ___
- If you walked the halls of our company, and asked ten people to define our customer experience, most would give the same description? Yes ___ No ___
- We have identified the key touchpoints most important to customers and to customer growth? Yes ___ No ___
How far along are you in this process? Review how wide you’ve made your experience project. Are you trying to map every customer segment or scenario? Is it getting overwhelming? If it is, narrow the scope immediately. Gain agreement on one segment or one part of the business. Many times, this work is abandoned because it becomes overwhelming and starts to stall. Move rapidly to the identification of the top 10-15 touchpoints that will have the most impact on the business. Then stay focused there. Success in one area will earn the right to expand. And focus will drive collaboration…
Action 2 – Level-Set Your Ability to Collaborate
- There is agreement across the organization of our top 10-15 customer touchpoint priorities? Yes ___ No ___
- We have identified the different operating areas that impact each key touchpoint? Yes ___ No ___
- We have agreed to map, define and identify all of the metrics that contribute to the current experience of these key touchpoints? Yes ___ No ___
- We are willing to align new teams of people working together to resolve/improve those key moments? Yes ___ No ___
- We have committed to assign new cross-company metrics to the delivery of those experiences? Yes ___ No ____
- We will reward these teams as a team when complaints are reduced for the priority issues? Yes ___ No ___
- We commit to working together to resolve these issues and rebuild key touchpoint experiences? Yes ___ No ___
This is the the real testing ground for the customer experience work. If you are not willing to take the time to assemble cross functional teams to go through the processes that drive customer experience, you can’t get into the nitty-gritty of understanding operational metrics. Reviewing, mapping and being open to changing operational metrics to shared metrics required to deliver a unified experience will test your collaboration muscle. This requires patience and an upfront agreement by leaders that they are willing to change what constitutes “score!” and what is on their score card.
Action 3 – Examine Your Communication: Are You Bringing the Organization Along with the Work?
- We have connected the dots for the organization through communication on how each part of our operation impacts the experience? Yes ___ No ___
- Everybody is still doing their own work. We find this “interesting” but don’t know what to do with it. Yes ___ No ___
- We have made an inventory of all the projects going on around “customer”? Yes ___ No ___
- We have made a “stop doing” list of projects and investments? Yes ___ No ___
- We have actually stopped doing projects and are rigorously managing this process? Yes ___ No ___
- We have created a roadmap which is being actively communicated as we progress? Yes ___ No ___
Marketing back progress inside the organization and with customers is often the weakest link of executing this work. In the absence of being updated, communicated with, and engaged, internal folks will view the meeting they were brought into as the latest flavor in customer focus. In addition, if this work is something that is layered on without considering it’s prioritization and co-habitation with the other priorities that have come before it, it will be randomized or constantly in competition with everything else on the project list. Finally, before you go any further, make a simple roadmap of the different parts of your customer experience journey and be dogged about showing that roadmap each and every time someone talks about the work. One visual people continuously reference and use to discuss actions, progress and challenges will give you the communication consistency required in these long term projects.
Where are YOU now?