Saturday, May 26

“Customer Experience Day? That means eff-all to me!”

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Did you have a good Customer Experience Day?

What? You didn’t realise it was happening? Strange! I thought it was up there with Pancake Day, Mothers’ Day, Fathers’ Day and the Eurovision Song Contest as a red-letter day in anyone’s calendar.

Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a touch. The reaction – quoted verbatim above – when I mentioned to someone that it was, indeed, Customer Experience Day proved to me not that there had not only been a failure of publicity, but that the day itself didn’t have much of a point.

What did make me sit up was the realisation that we get far too obsessed with customer experience itself BUT lose the point of why it’s important!

This might seem an odd point of view for someone who spent a brilliant day as a judge at the UK Customer Experience Awards recently. It was genuinely inspiring to hear stories of great customer experience delivery by all kinds of organisations and my only regret was that I didn’t get to hear more. But, paradoxically, what happens at these kind of events is that CX practitioners and experts take a rare moment away from customers and become inward-looking: what did we do? What was the effect? What else could we have done?

Addressing these kind of questions is important because learning and feedback can drive improved performance and a desire to raise the game.

BUT and it’s a BIG B.U.T…

At the end of the day, the time we spend focusing on customer experience only has value when it translates into improved outcomes for customers.

This may sound harsh … customers don’t care about your job, they only care about the outcomes they can achieve.

I’ve got a term for this – it’s called Bush’s Universal Truth – B.U.T. (although given customers’ reactions I might have called it B.U.M – Blindingly Uninspiring Messaging).

I spent the best part of two decades, firstly in telecoms, then in banking. One thing I learnt from that experience was that whilst we would get very excited about products, propositions and new ways of delivering a service, great or otherwise, it was consistently surprising how unexcited our customers were about all of our great work!

It’s partly due to the nature of the products in both these industries. Customer simply do not find them that interesting, in fact many regard them not much more than utilities.

Hang on a second there is excitement here. It’s what you can do with the products – broadband for videos, games, voice communication; money for all kinds of things – that gets people excited. That’s exciting – not the product itself or the jobs of the people that deliver them.

So why don’t we stop it and focus on the things that is way more important. The outcomes. One of the most important things I do in my work is to get people to focus on customer outcomes – if these don’t get people excited or at least inspiring then you should probably not be doing them – or at least doing considerably more. Once you have got these right, you’re in a good place to identify the customer’s journey and their overall experience that will deliver those in the best way.

Remember, remember, the 2nd October (2018)

Actually, despite what I said earlier, I think Customer Experience Day is a great idea. So why not make it a day where customers and employees meet, exchange views and ideas. Inspiring others to raise their game is part of everybody’s job in the organisation. Why not also involve some of the people who really count – the customers? They might even motivate your colleagues to do even more!

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About Author

Business strategist, consultant and change manager who helps companies become genuinely customer-centric. Nick delivers customer-driven business transformation projects and has worked across many industries including banking and finance, insurance, telecommunications, industrial and public sector. Has held senior roles with variety of blue chip names including BT, Royal Bank of Scotland, CSC and Sema Group. Currently Head of Delivery at NextTen Innovation Solutions

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