CX: An exercise in constant change and measurement

Forrester’s Riccardo Pasto reflects on why customer experience transformations can fail and highlights the importance of measurement

Measuring the impact of customer experience programs of work on the customer, business and resources and constant change are both vital in the ever-important quest to keep up with market expectations, Forrester's senior analyst, Riccardo Pasto, says.

Speaking at last week's Confirmit event in Sydney, Pasto noted constant change and adaptation as vital elements in how organisations tackle CX as a strategy, as well as gauge its ongoing impact. And with customer expectations changing all the time, businesses must constantly be transforming to keep up.

In fact, staying the same and doing the same thing, is actually going backwards, Pasto explained. The shift in customer expectations means business-as-usual can now result in flatline growth and negatively affect existing CX programs, he said.

To overcome this, Pasto advised firstly prioritising CX efforts according to three categories: Effectiveness, ease and emotion. Alongside this, it's vital to measure impact. The first question is to understand what is the impact to the customer of the CX programs. Secondly, it’s measuring the impact on the business. This may be through increasing profits or reducing costs. The third and final criteria is measuring the impact on resources, he said.

Related: Emotion analytics: The X factor in CX?

What's also become apparent is CX professionals are the agents of change within organisations and businesses, Pasto continued. However, CX transformations all-too often fail and when they do, the reasons are often people and skills related. Again, this is an area of change, he noted.

“When it comes to CX teams, there are the usual soft skills like creativity, critical thinking and analytical thinking. But in the past, many CX teams were formed out of user experience teams," he commented. "Human-centred design was important, but moving forward we need people who understand financial modeling. People who understand how to build a business case and build ROI, for example, and how to measure emotions."

What's also clear is CX progress takes rigour and a lot of cooperation across teams to maximise efforts, Pasto said. He advised understanding how CX across your organisation is performing and how it compares not only within your industry, but also across other industries your customers interact with.

Pasto concluded by posing a series of questions to the audience to help tether their thinking around their CX efforts and their goals when considering how or what to change to transform their CX programs. The first is around how and what to measure.

“How do you measure CX quality and link to business results? And how do you understand your customers at a deeper level? Think about how mature you are when it comes to CX?” Pasto asked.

Another is questioning the mandate is when it comes to the CEO or board. “Is it to radically change or just to improve little by little? What’s the culture you have within the organisation? Are they really empathic to customers?"

Finally, it’s about looking broader than just the industry, Pasto said. 

“If everyone is doing pretty much the same and this is disappointing when it comes to CX, this is fertile ground for somebody to come in and disrupt and basically push organisations out of business,” he added.

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