The news these days reports that poor CX is costing UK companies £37 bn, with retail and telcos losing the most in 2016. Ironically, the sectors who lose the most, according to a recent study by KPMG Nunwood, are also those which invest the most and get the best improvements in CX.
This looks like a paradox, but it is not.
Organisations have realised the importance of customer experience and they are moving fast into this space. Terms like Customer journey mapping, touchpoints, or ecosystems are words that abound in most business and strategy related conversations.
To improve the quality of the relationship between brands and people, the general first step is to involve people, customers and prospects, to understand their mental models, value systems, unmet needs and develop a customer journey map. This is a great starting point, however, there’s a blindspot: if customer experience is defined by the relationship between brands and customers, then the customer journeys that many organisations are developing today are only half of the story.
What about the brand’s or organisation’s experience? How does the company perform internally to create the relationship that delivers value externally?
CX requires an ecosystem where all elements involved work in harmony. And this ecosystem includes both the people who are using or buying the product / service AND the people who support and care for the customers during every step of that journey.
In the experience economy, it’s not anymore the quality of the product or service to determine the success of a brand. The new key parameter it’s ability to deliver experiences that match the customers’ context and expectations.
The organization’s internal structure, its culture, its ways of working, its hierarchies, it’s people management practices, and its processes heavily affect the Customer Experience and how customers perceive the brand.
Yet, when talking about CX the focus is solely on the customer and not much is said or done about the whole ecosystem that generates the experience (and the value) through interactions that shape the experience: the customers and the employees.
Today we are only half way through the real customer experience journey: after the customer journeys have executed and delivered to the managers and leadership teams, what is the impact on the whole organization?
How are the expectations and the emotional rollercoaster of the user affecting the internal organization and the culture of the organization?
The two, the employee experience and the customer experience are the two side of the same coin, because if Customer experience is a relationship, those are the actors that determine the quality of the relationship through interactions that create added value.
And the value is not a monetary one: it’s a whole new dimension of emotions and perceptions.
If an agent answering the customers’ question has no freedom or ability to emphatise and create an authentic relationship, if the company culture is all about control and standardization of processes, if an organisation measures employees’ performance on quantity rather than quality of interaction, how can the relationship with the customer become personal, personable, and valuable? How can delight emerge for both sides, the employee representing the brand and the customer, if the experiential aspect is neglected in the name of old outdated paradigms that limit employees’ opportunity to really engage in a genuine conversation and experience with people (AKA customers)?
The results of any CX activity need to be translated into changes for the whole organization, moving from control and process based interactions to valuable interactions and process that enhance the creation of value and valuable experiences.
Customer experience is still managed as an industrial process, but we are well beyond the post-industrial paradigm, and we need new approaches to manage new behaviours and opportunities.
CX requires courage to look inside the organisation after having explored the world and decide what is the right internal approach that matches the customers.
After a Customer journey, is time to think about an organizational experience mapping, or employee mapping that takes into account the variables that determine the culture of any organisations.
And the best customer experiences can only emerge from the adaptation of those two systems, that need to find the right balance and dynamics to move together: the customers and the people who are the brand.