Why Most Customer Experience Programs Fail

by Colin Shaw on October 6, 2014

We work with Customer Experience (CX) professionals around the world and train them on how to go about implementing CX programs. The main reason that an organization fails to improve their CX is because of their lack of Customer Centricity.

Most organizations attack the symptom not the cause.  The symptom is a poor experience; the cause is their lack of Customer centricity. Organizations create CX teams, undertake new Customer research, do journey mapping, but fall short of dealing with the cause of the problem: How Customer-centric your organization is.

Here is the issue. The reason your organization is delivering the experience it does today is because of the way your organization is. If you are a very process based organization then guess what, you’ll deliver a very processes-based experience. If you consider Customers transactions, guess what? Your experience will be very transactional. So any change in CX must include and address the Customer centricity of the organization.

The Naïve to Natural Model

 So the questions are, how Customer-centric are you and how do you know?

When we work with clients, we train the CX teams on assessing how Customer-centric they are. We have developed a process of 269 questions that we as that can make an assessment. They include the following:

  • What is the definition of the type of Customer Experience you want to deliver?

  • Do you have a person or team of people responsible for managing the Customer Experience for your organization? Why or why not?

  • Where does your experience stop? Where does it start?

  • What emotions does your current experience evoke from your Customers?

  • How involved is senior management in your Customer Experience details?

  • How do you measure the success of your Customer Experience?

  • How often do you listen to what Customers have to say about your organization?

The answers to these questions and many others tell you how Customer-centric you are—even if it’s just the fact that you have answers. Some organizations might not know.  Whatever the case is for your organization right now, I can tell you this: The most Customer-centric organizations have quite different answers than the majority of companies.

When we look at the answers, we often determine whether a company is more Customer-focused or more product or internally focused. We have a model we use that represents different levels of Customer Centricity that we call the Naïve to Natural model.

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As you can see, there are four categories in our model that represent different levels of Customer Centricity:

Naïve: These organizations are the least focused on Customers. They design their experience for their benefit and what is important to them. They are internally focused with no focus left for the Customer.

Transactional: A company that is Transactional does believe that the Customer is important, just not as important as the organization is. In essence, they are still focused inwardly on what works for them and not on the emotions their experience generates with Customers. We find that the vast majority of organizations are Transactional.

Enlightened: Enlightened organizations recognize how important the emotional aspects of their experience are for their Customers and have identified what emotions they want to evoke during their experience. They may not have achieved much difference from a transactional company’s experience yet, but the mindset and culture are quite different.

Natural: This is the smallest group as they are the companies that are successful in putting the Customer at the center of everything they do. They recognize the importance of emotions in the experience and have deliberately designed their experience to evoke the ones they want. Every detail is customer-focused; it’s in the DNA of the organization.

We find that the Customer Experience is highly influenced by the following nine orientation areas:

naive-to-natural-orientation2.png Each of these areas has a Customer-centricity level, which may be different from one another. For example, you might have excellent people that are Enlightened, but a Customer Strategy that is Naïve., etc. The idea here is that by looking at these specific areas, you can better determine where you are as an organization with Customer-centricity.

When we reveal this to the CX professionals, we train on how to undertake this assessment.  They are normally surprised with the results. This assessment also creates a great tool to start the conversation internally in the organization to begin addressing the recommended actions that come from undertaking this process.

No matter where you are today as an organization, remember that the journey to being Customer-centric has to begin somewhere. Knowing where you are starting from is a great way to build a strategy for where you want to go.

I encourage you to look closely at your organization’s orientation and the nine areas that influence the Customer Experience today.

 Determine where you are in relation to where you want to be. In time, I’m sure you will uncover the “Aha! Moment” that so many of our clients hope for, and begin to create your organization’s personal recipe for success.

This is the first in a series of blogs where we are looking at each of the nine areas of the Customer Experience. Make sure you revisit this next Tuesday (Oct 14th) to see the next.

If you would like further information about the Naïve to Natural assessment through our live, web-based interactive training please click here.

This post is part of the Customer Experience Professionals Association’s Blog Carnival “Celebrating Customer Experience.” It is part of a broader celebration of Customer Experience Day. Check out posts from other bloggers at http://community.cxpa.org. – See more, here.

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Colin Shaw is the founder and CEO of Beyond Philosophy, one of the world’s first organizations devoted to customer experience. Colin is an international author of four best-selling books and an engaging keynote speaker & also recognized as one of the original top 150 Business Influencers by LinkedIn. Beyond Philosophy provides consulting, specialized research & training from their headquarters in Tampa, Florida, USA. Follow Colin Shaw on Twitter @ColinShaw_CX

Colin ShawWhy Most Customer Experience Programs Fail