Customer Experience (CX) is a messy space. Inside companies, CX pros are herding cats and presenting cases to the shark's tank. CX improvement usually involves wrangling cross-functional teams, competing for resources and choosing a specific direction to run.
Seasoned managers know that CX business cases can fall over despite listening intently to the voice of the customer. Why? In many cases, it’s due to lack of alignment, not just in strategy but in the core beliefs that drive CX initiatives.
What do you believe?
Tune into the C-suite, and you'll hear different beliefs and drivers for being customer-centric:
- It’s about our moral obligation to treat customers as we want to be treated
- It’s about loyalty economics: we can reduce churn and improve lifetime customer value
- It’s about creating advocates who talk about our brand and help us grow (and reducing negative word of mouth that might impair sales)
- It’s about building permission for the brand to extend into new lines and markets
- It’s about attracting more profitable customers as “detractors” who are more costly to serve
- It’s about reducing cost and wasted effort arising from sub-optimal processes
- It’s about creating a signature experience that will define why customers will choose us and pay a price premium
- It's about staying ahead of customer expectations in an increasingly digital world
If you read these statements to a room of people, you can expect several people in the audience to nod along with different points. But if you read these to your own team, will they agree on which beliefs drive your CX strategy—and which ones don’t?
Beliefs that lead us in different directions
Being explicit with your purpose improves focus. Your beliefs provide a map for your CX initiatives. For example, depending on what you believe, you could use CX programs to boost “good profits”—profits derived from enriching the lives of your customers. Or you could use CX to activate positive word of mouth by becoming a more interesting, belief-based brand—something that Mark Earls advocates for in his book Herd. Another option is to use CX initiatives to deploy surprise-and-delight activities that evoke gratitude in customers.
These directions aren’t mutually exclusive and they certainly overlap, but for most companies, pursuing all of these paths is too resource-intensive and fractious. Also, running towards several directions make it hard to isolate the impact of each initiative and measure the effectiveness of each.
Most importantly, doesn't it make sense to choose the direction that's right for the brand? Your company is unique, and your CX philosophy, strategy and goals should be informed by your own culture and situation.
Start with your why
If your CX program lacks the beating heart of a strong purpose, perhaps that's your biggest opportunity to move forward. Your team needs to know why CX is so critical to the bottom line. Not in a vague sense but in brand-specific proof points. When your beliefs are clear, you can drive better leadership, buy-in and focus on your CX initiatives.