In Beyond Philosophy’s Global Customer Experience Management (CEM) Research 2011 we identified the threat posed to CEM by software vendors. How the term is being used as a means to rebrand what was CRM to make it sound hip and cool, the in-thing to buy. This is unfortunate because it is never about the technology; it is always Experience First…. Technology Second.
What this means is that, you must identify what you wish to create as an Experience first before you start investigating the relevance of technology. Of course it may turn out that technology is what you need, but just assuming that buying software will lead to a better experience is incorrect. What if, for instance, it is not facebook access that your mobile phone customers want, but a longer lasting battery! Just going with the latest shiny new thing is not going to save you if the basics are not right. A software only approach is also not going to make for a friendlier, more knowledgeable call centre, better merchandising, easier to read terms and conditions or a trusted brand; it is understanding the whole experience – rational, emotional and subconscious- that will!
We find that by identifying software as the means to a better Customer Experience firms are confusing an enabler of experience with its definition. Indeed, the originators of the term are quite clear: Pine and Gilmore spoke about making for a ‘personal and memorable’ Experience and Beyond Philosophy of emotional engagement; hence technology is useful but never the Experience and a software salesman rolling into town, selling their dream of a high commission, most certainly does not necessarily equate to future customer spend.
A technology definition also leads any CE to be defined by physical interactions i.e., places where you can put software! Hence, the whole emotional and psychological responsiveness of customers is missed. ‘I’ go to the mobile phone store and how I react to the store layout, the friendliness of the rep, all these and other critical and emotionally charged incidents risk being left out if all that matters is how customers use the technology.
So, do not let yourself be sold technology. First understand the whole Customer Experience, then define where there is best return and what is required to create a new and better experience. Only after you are clear on your new to be experience should you overlay technology as a possible solution: and usually only to a part of the experience as well.
|Steven Walden is VP Consulting and Thought-Leadership for Beyond Philosophy. Steven has 17 years Strategy Consultancy experience directing and designing strategies for major B2C & B2B firms. At Beyond Philosophy, the Global Customer Experience Consultancy, he is a Thought Leader and Innovator, directing engagements to assist leading firms to transform through Customer Experience. A world-leader in emotional experience his skills lie in innovation, thought-leadership, strategy consultancy and Qual/ Quant research. He is a regular speaker at conferences, blog writer, CE Trainer and international author.