Why you can’t afford to fail at CX in 2019

Damian Kernahan

Damian is the founder and CEO of Proto Partners, one of Australia’s leading customer experience consultancies.

In 1976 Apple launched. The business would go on to change the game, setting the bar for customer experience (CX). Seamless customer experience and intuitive designs gave customers exactly what they wanted, making other service experiences pale in comparison.  

In the age of consumers coming first, building such customer-led experiences is a critical component of any business plan. When all of your competitors are redesigning their business to improve the customer experience, falling behind could kill your brand.

Every interaction a customer has with your brand presents an opportunity to do this. But don’t rely on guesswork for the journey you take them on. Thorough research needs to inform the design.  

Businesses investing in CX are making some critical mistakes. Organisations are trying to map the customers’ journey based on what journey they think they go on, the ways they talk to them and the responses they think customers should have to these touchpoints. What they aren’t doing is walking in the shoes of their customers and mapping the journey they actually experience, the emotions they are feeling or truly understanding their sometimes seemingly irrational responses and behaviours. As a result, customers go missing off the map and an opportunity is lost.  

As the term customer experience becomes more mainstream, the meaning has become somewhat diluted too. CEOs are engaging CX teams, without having a clear idea of what they want them to achieve. CX programs can become less about customers’ needs and more about launching a shiny new app or platform that is predicted to boost customer engagement. Meanwhile, customers are simply wishing organisations would deliver on their promises.  

These are four of the biggest mistakes businesses are making when it comes to CX:  

1. Jumping to the solution before uncovering the problem

Don’t assume what your customers want. Ask them. This should involve a minimum of 3-5 types of customer research to develop a journey map to inform recommendations.  

We’ve seen organisations make ill-informed assumptions about what their customers truly want and how they will choose to engage with them, costing them millions by focusing on things that customers don’t really value. Before investing any resources in addressing your customers needs, you should be sure that you have identified what your true customer needs are.   

2. Failing to deliver on brand promises

Communication and trust are inextricably linked. Communicating with your customers in a way they value and being available when and how you promised provides reassurance and builds trust. When organisations have disconnected channels and siloed departments working with separate KPIs it’s the customer who pays the price through experiencing broken promises and a poor service experience.   

3. Not delivering actionable insights

If you’ve engaged a CX agency or internal CX manager and the insights were somewhat unsurprising or detailed, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to turn those insights into actions that will deliver value to your customers. We are seeing non-specific and high level statements that could apply to any industry or service experience being dressed up and presented as insights.    

We conduct comprehensive research to deliver deep insight. We then use this to provide our clients with solutions and initiatives, and a roadmap of how they can action them. These insights are designed to be comprehensive, robust and establish real empathy. This inevitably leads to being able to produce practical and truly valuable solutions for our clients and a roadmap of how they can act upon them.  

4. Failing to value the employee experience

Customer experience in inextricably tied to employee experience, and you need to bring your staff on the journey. They are the ones dealing with your customers every day and need to be involved in redesigning improved services. Those on the frontline should be viewing your customers with compassion and championing your business.    

If you’re looking to engage a CX manager or designer, ask: How will they research your customers? How will they integrate your communications channels? How will they use customer research to inform policy and procedural changes? Most importantly, how will they involve your employees in the change process to help them understand and empathise with your customer?

Tags: customer experience management, marketing strategy, customer engagement

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