Lately, we get the feeling that the CX-’movement’ is standing still. Everyone is working on the same tricks and wants to achieve the same thing. The (virtual and physical) shopping streets are becoming scarce, the landscape and the roads are becoming filled with boxes, all living rooms get herringbone PVC. We are heading for the equivalent of the identikit high streets with no sense of identity or character.
Let’s be honest with each other. The introduction of NPS has put customer experience on the map in the boardroom. That was nice for everyone who cares about the customer. Unfortunately, “benchmarking” soon took place within the peer group of competitors, which meant that any ambition to stand out from the crowd was lost. The rise of the Customer Effort Score cannot change that. On the contrary. It makes everyone do the same, copy “successes”. As if customers only want effortless uniformity.
Besides NPS and CES, the rise of design thinking and agile also seems to make little difference. Anyone can innovate. We brainstorm some ideas, hackathon prototypes, and look from behind a mirrored wall to see if the casual passer-by can swipe and click their way through the customer journey. One level up, the analyst slides are full of hyperbole about innovative, disruptive digital, and customer-centric transformations. Some dare to call it distinctive. Others recognize that they still have some work to do. All this raises the question for us: if everyone does it (that way), wouldn’t it be better to call it ‘uniformation’ than transformation?
Fighting for your place on the backlog
Unfortunately, the current CX approach is insufficient for companies wanting to make a difference. Guilds, squads, or just CX teams, map journeys, touchpoints, and experiences. This gives them a seat at the table in change or product teams that are initiated by various transformation programs that exist. That is not unimportant, but it is mainly incremental, and when we all compete for the same resources, priority on the backlog, or spot on the roadmap, real positive change doesn’t get off the ground. Not for the customer and not for the organisation.
Time to move the goalposts
Without going into detail here, we think there are several ways to bring some CX color back into our daily lives. At the same time, we can make a positive contribution to bigger issues such as sustainability of the motivation of our employees. Here are five things you could do to escape CX-sameness.
1.Use the power of a customer-centric approach to achieve your sustainability goals as well. CX strategies are currently limited to current and individual customer needs and experiences. Today’s issues, however, require a new interpretation of the ‘outside in’ philosophy; an approach that also focuses on the future customer and context. With new collective and individual ways to meet needs to focus on.
2.Go beyond incremental improvements by not focusing on optimizing current customer journeys. Develop a shared north star vision of the desired customer experience in 3-5 years. Break this experience into defined target interactions and plan the implementation by spreading these target interactions over time on your roadmap.
3.Measure what gives you the right insights to make a difference. Do not (only) delve into customer satisfaction, CES, or NPS, but especially into what customers want to achieve. Measure the extent to which your organization can help them with this. Understand in-depth what you would need to do to get significantly better at that.
4.CX is not the holy grail. Scaled Agile, agile release trains, values streams, flow frameworks, data-driven… Are you aware of the value of other thinking and working methods that are fired at employees during transformation programs or at the umpteenth introduction of ‘the new way of working? Why not create one integral vision together that clearly explains the value of these additional ways of thinking and how they are realized in practice. This way you don’t fight but collaborate to scale desired change faster.
And last, not least:
5.There is more than improving journeys and touch-points. Focus on people, the organization, the decision-making processes, and the creation of a customer-oriented culture. You continue to need CX specialists, but ultimately you want everyone in your organization to know and experience what it means to put the customer first. Tip of the hat: roadshows and training alone will not get you there.
In short: It’s time to escape CX-sameness, time to navigate away from incremental NPS, CES, and CSAT improvement on current touchpoints and journeys. Set a course, look further ahead. To the impact of climate change on customer needs, for example. And how CX can contribute to your organization’s ambition to contribute to future solutions.
And do it together with other disciplines even more. Because it’s more fun and because there’s a lot of value in different perspectives on the way things get done, but especially because the big challenges of our time are tackled more effectively that way.