Bruce Temkin does a great job promoting the concept of Customer Experience, and for the last five years he’s done a large-scale customer experience benchmark focused on organizations in the US.
For the first time, CX ratings actually drop for the majority of industries. His wonderful summary graph says it all:
Bruce’s conclusion is not that customer experience programs are failing but that those programs are not keeping up with customer expectations. He issues a stern warning that new and traditional competition will be stealing your customers.
Who can disagree – but what do we do about it? If you’ve been as avid a reader of Bruce’s work as I, you know that he drills into the top organizations and consistently shows they’re all doing very smart things. These companies aren’t simply going to be run over by new competition, but they do seem to be missing something, and I think it’s a customer perspective.
We all realize that customers have much higher expectations now, but they also have very strong opinions of what touchpoint should be used when – and how. Savvy companies know that as well. I’m finding that customers’ decision-making behavior and the touchpoints they use are changing quite quickly and this may be one of the major reasons CX ratings are falling. Most classic CX programs I know take a while to implement properly, and once they’re running well they’re “locked down”, ensuring that we have perfectly choreographed experiences in place for touchpoints that our future customers may no longer deem relevant.
My suggestion? If you’ve taken the customer’s perspective and identified the entire decision cycle along with the relevant touchpoints at each step, spend an extra minute or so with a small customer perspective team to check whether those touchpoints are transitioning. You can quickly reapply the IMPACT methodology to determine how touchpoint behavior is changing and how you need to tweak your CX process to align with it. And do it again every six months or so!
Many large organizations will view this suggestion with horror: “What? Every six months? It takes us that long to IMPLEMENT any of the changes! How do we keep up?”
Well, there’s a great approach I already covered in the book and in a previous blog post: touchpoint choreography. What usually happens is that a customer who chooses one initial touchpoint may still be happily led to another if it actually does the job better, which means that you should only be applying the new-found insight of initial touchpoints and choreographing them back into your existing follow-on touchpoint process. Not such a difficult task in today’s world.
So my final word on why CX is “failing”? Customers are changing their initial touchpoints quickly. Keep an eye on that to choreograph the experience and you’ll again be back on top of the CX charts.