5 Challenges That are Keeping CX Leaders From Achieving True Growth — In Conversation with Adrian Swinscoe

Customer experience isn’t something you “do;” it’s a fundamental shift in leadership and how you will and will not choose to grow your business. It’s about leading your people and enabling them to do the right thing. 

This episode of the Chief Customer Officer Human Duct Tape Show is a little different. Adrian Swinscoe and I have a fun, quick rant about some of the things that are bothering us when it comes to customer experience and how it’s approached. Adrian is a customer experience consultant, a Forbes contributor, and the author of the book, Punk CX. This interview was originally featured on his podcast, Punk CX.

5 Conversation Takeaways:

1. A Fundamental Shift in Leadership is Needed

“What I’m seeing and talking to people about is the responsibility we have to make this work not its own silo, now that we’ve labeled it, and ‘we’re going to do cx well.’ CX isn’t something you do. This is fundamentally a shift in leadership and how you will, and will not choose to grow your business—and lead your people, and enable them to do the right thing. What’s happening that’s worrying me, and challenging me, quite honestly—I’m really trying to guide people away from this is this notion of a list of whack-a-mole items. It doesn’t mean you’re changing the culture of your company. It’s giving CEOs a false positive, that ‘man, we’re really focusing on this.’ And we’re not fundamentally changing anything the customer can feel. But yet we’re patting ourselves on the back; that’s really bothering me right now.” — Jeanne.

2. The CX Space Feels a Little Like Punk Rock in the 70s

“Well, you know, actually, it’s fascinating that I think the CX space is looking a lot like the prog-rock space did in the 1970s. Overly complicated, dominated by technology, codified/certified benchmarks, kind of like maturity framework, the whole sort of thing. And it’s becoming more interested in itself than the customers, and therefore, I thought, there’s some interesting kind of similarities there. And therefore, as a result, I just thought, what would a punk version of CX look like?” — Adrian

3. The C-Suite Has to Unite and Drive Accountability

“If you don’t unite the C-suite, everybody comes in with a different version of the truth. Everyone has a completely different perspective on where you are today, on what the KPIs are based on their internally-driven KPIs for their part of the organization. And we haven’t united the language of leaders which changes how they drive the accountability to customers and employees, and what they hold people accountable to.” — Jeanne

4. The CEO is Responsible for Organizational Dysfunction

“In the book , I’ve got this little page that I invite people to tear out. It’s like a postcard, a letter to the CEO that says, ‘Dear CEO, there’s dysfunction, here’s the thing that the research report supports; there’s dysfunction in the boardrooms, you’re the team captain, please sort it out.’ And then you’ve got to consign it and address it and send it to them. So the way I look at it is, it’s a bit like being either the manager or captain of a sports team, right? If you can’t get all your players to agree to the kind of way of playing together, that’s not their fault. It’s your fault because you’re the one that’s in charge; if someone’s not willing to play ball, then bench them.” — Adrian

5. Analyzing Acquisition is a False Positive Indicator of Growth

“The thing that frustrates me is that we’re supposedly being in this sort of space right now where customers in charge. We’ve got to like focus on the customer and serve the customer as well. And yet we still haven’t shaken off a lot of the 20th century, business machismo. It’s still kind of like this: let’s go and round up, and gather and acquire sort of thing because that’s the sexy thing to do. But it’s not sustainable.”

“It’s not sustainable; it’s giving us a false positive. And again, we aren’t doing any favors to our CEOs, because we’re not rolling up the true picture of what’s growth. When you connect the work to growth and ROI, you’ll finally get their attention. But I think that’s one of the core issues that is getting in our the way.” — Jeanne

About Adrian Swinscoe

Adrian Swinscoe is a customer experience consultant, advisor, and author of Punk CX and How to Wow 68 Effortless Ways to Make Every Customer Experience Amazing.  He has been growing and developing customer-focused large and small businesses for 20 years. Adrian is a Forbes contributor and has previously worked with companies such as Shell, FT and The Economist Group.

Additionally, Adrian advises and consults numerous other large organizations and hundreds of smaller businesses, helping them engage with their customers, build their customer retention and improve service.

Get more resources to help lead your transformation, your experience evolution:

These 5 Leadership Competencies form the backbone for earning the right to customer-driven growth. They embed “experience” into the operating plan of your business. They guide how leaders hold people accountable, encourage and reward, unite the organization and lead priorities that earn organic growth, and armies of customers and employees who will grow your business for you.
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