Time to REALLY think differently about customer experience…..

Over the last 10 years I have seen many attempts by teams to engage with their companies customer experience and how they have failed, the discipline (emerging as it is) is still being dominated by old thinking – ‘wow’ your customer, be ‘customer centric’, ‘transform’ your business none of which are achievable or desirable in some cases in the real world.

Here are a few examples of my thinking that has developed over many years of client engagement around the world.

Let’s start by looking at the sound-bite that is “Customer Centricity”, businesses that focus on Customer Centricity rather than Customer Experience are using the wrong questions and wrong language to measure the success of their business, and are contributing to their own failure to deliver results.

They are misinterpreting what they want to, and can, achieve. ‘Customer Centricity’ is not Customer Experience yet many people use them as if they are interchangeable. True Customer Centricity talks about the customer being at heart of everything a business does, with a policy that nothing happens within a company without their involvement. It’s a lovely dream but is not practical or commercial, and rarely if ever works in large established Corporations that typically try to adopt it!

What is this about wanting to WoW customers – by definition to WoW someone it is going to be unexpected and well beyond expectation – if you set out to WoW all your customers then quickly what was WoW becomes the de facto norm and you are quickly at a loss to continue. Just delivering consistently at or just above your customers expectations would be enough to impress in a world where we are consistently underwhelmed by the experiences we have as customers.

Transformation of an established business is an almost impossible goal to achieve yet we see almost every day how another global company is going to become customer centric through a huge customer based transformational programme – how many can you think of that have ever come close to succeeding? So why set yourself up for failure in the first place? What companies need to do is to ‘dial up’ the customer component of their value proposition to the level that is appropriate for that company.

In my new book “The Customer Experience Book’ published this month and available on Amazon you can read in detail about this and other issues including trust, experience design, culture and about how to think differently about customer experience and learn how to actually be successful at it ? More posts to come on these other subjects to come ?

Check out my blog http://www.thecustomerexperiencebook.com for lots of examples of experiences that we can all relate too!

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