Talking about the customer experience—everyone’s doing it. A lot of attention and time is spent on customer experience these days, and rightly so: Temkin’s most recent ‘State of CX Management’ study found that a majority (55%) of large companies have their sights set on being an industry leader in Customer Experience. If you're late to the party and wondering why so many companies have set their sights on improving their customer experience, consider a recent BlueWolf study, where 84% of businesses reported that growth would be driven more by customer engagement than by productivity improvements. The reason should be clear. CX has become the new ‘gold rush’.
Apple is arguably the first and biggest beneficiary of the new CX gold rush. Its success is largely tied to the risk and reward it won by re-inventing the customer experience in its retail stores. Having created the Apple Store out of whole cloth, Apple proceeded to wrap its approach to customers entirely in a cloak of CX gold. Customers were placed above operations, and employees were both placed and empowered to meet and serve customers’ needs. No more employees hiding behind counters or in the stock room. No more long check-out lines. Instead, Apple looked at the retail landscape and thought there was a better, more customer-focused way. It placed the brick and mortar store under the microscope and, with the clarity of a high-powered CX lens, re-shaped its operational DNA. In so doing, the very shopping experience was re-conceived and born anew, as we all know too well.
Ever since, eager businesses are rushing headlong towards the rush to improve, to act, and not miss finding that next vein of CX gold. As we saw in the California gold rush in 1848-49, everyone thinks they can become rich, if they can simply get there and start digging. Knowledge of gold, of mining? Planning for success? Both were in short supply then, for anyone could dig, all you needed was a pick, a shovel and plot of land. In their haste to ‘start digging’, today many businesses run the risk of expending much of their time and resources in similarly ill-conceived efforts. Characterized by insufficient planning, lack of resources and unrealistic expectations, the ‘gold rush’ mindset of 1848 places many businesses’ otherwise sound CX goals at risk for failure.
To improve the customer experience, businesses must first ask and answer a primary question: What is CX? Surprisingly, too few businesses take the time to really work on this question. To avoid the shortsighted failures and dashed dreams of the first gold rush of 1848, here, then, we share 48 thoughts on what the customer experience IS, and a few that it isn’t. In sharing this (far from exhaustive) list, it’s our hope that this exercise will help illuminate the true complexity of its nature, size and scope, and thereby begin a dialogue on what it is that we’re all working to improve. After reviewing, please share your thoughts…
WHAT IS CX?
- It’s a moving target.
- It’s dynamic, not static.
- It’s online.
- It’s in the store.
- It’s on the phone.
- It’s the expectations set by your advertising/marketing.
- It’s how well you meet expectations set by your advertising/marketing.
- It’s WOM.
- It’s how well you meet expectations set by WOM.
- It’s your customers.
- It’s your employees, your staff, your team.
- It's how you recruit and train employees.
- It's the roles and responsibilities that you define for your employees.
- It's payroll.
- It's how you treat your employees.
- It’s more than a single metric.
- It’s definitely not a number.
- It’s more than numbers in an annual report.
- It’s bigger than any one executive.
- It’s owned by everyone.
- It’s touched by everyone.
- It's now.
- It's THE moment.
- It’s social.
- It’s your attitude.
- It’s the atmosphere within the store.
- It’s the climate within the store.
- It’s the layout of the store.
- It’s the design of the website, and how well it lends itself to customers’ needs (finding products/answers/help; comparison shopping; price change notifications; remembering shopping patterns and offering related product suggestions; it’s proactive notification of product availability and price changes).
- It’s how each channel integrates, interacts and supports customer success (rather than channel success/competitiveness).
- It’s the neighborhood where you’re store is located.
- It’s your url, your website name.
- It’s the ease of remembering and spelling your website’s name (and having the foresight to own the various potential misspellings of your website name and re-directing customers to the correct site FOR THEM).
- It’s preventing malicious sites from owning a slight variation of your website url, thereby protecting customers from exposure to whatever threats or unpleasantries such hangers-on pose.It’s planning for the unexpected.
- It's KNOWING your customers.
- It's EMPOWERING employees.
- It's the technology serving your employees.
- It's the technology supporting your customers.
- It's big data.
- It's connected data sets.
- It's uncovering customer needs before customers ask, or look.
- It's EVERYONE in, or serving, your company.
- It’s EVERYTHING. Whether you control it or not, even if it indirectly affects your customers’ experience with your brand.
- It’s the ULTIMATE ANSWER for why businesses succeed.
- It’s your responsibility to understand, respond to and continuously improve.
- It’s the defining characteristic of leading brands and businesses today.
- It's the #1 reason to be in business.
- It's the new object of pursuit in today's CX 'gold rush'.
What would you add, or change? We'd like to hear from you!