Forrester predicted that one in four Customer Experience Professionals will lose their job in 2020. It is a bold prediction, and I agree with it.
Why are so many Customer Experience professionals facing the ax this year? They have neglected to focus on return on investment for the initiatives they have implemented.
We discussed this problem in a recent podcast. This situation should not be a surprise. It’s a bit like an aircraft carrier on the horizon heading your way; you can’t miss it, but if you do, you will likely notice it way too late. No organization is going to invest its resources in improving the Customer Experience but not have any expectations for a return on investment, at least not one that is going to survive long-term. So, if you don’t measure your results, then you might be one of the 25 percent updating your resume this year.
However, if you want to be one of the 75 percent that is still working at making your organization more customer-focused, and you want to show that your programs well, work, here’s what you have to do:
- You need to engage in research on what drives value for customers in reality. If you’re going to have a job improving Customer Experience, you should first define which parts of your experience drive value. Many times, you think you have pinpointed what will move the needle for Customer Experience only to learn that you are off base, and it is not what customers wanted at all. Our Emotional Signature® research finds these valuable parts of your experience.
- You should define the strategy for how to improve those identified areas that drive value. Moreover, you need to have support from leadership and buy-in from the customer-facing team. This effort might require some sales skills to leadership(i.e., presenting it in terms that show what’s in it for them) and soft-skills training for the team.
- You must focus on how your programs are affecting critical metrics in the organization. In other words, you need to ensure you measure your results.
- You must stop fussing with the little things and focus on the significant moving parts of Customer Experience. Tinkering around the edges will get you some quick wins but will not provide the sustainable results you need to justify the expense of your efforts. You must tackle the more significant issues in an organization that affects customer-focus and facilitate customer-driven growth.
- You need to ensure that you have the authority to enforce your programs. If you have responsibility for improving the Customer Experience without power to ensure that your initiatives are implemented, then you are setting yourself up for failure. I would also argue that you need to look for a new job, too.
Too many organizations have jumped on the Customer Experience bandwagon without understanding what it is and what it takes to make significant improvements to it. It represents a “well, everyone else is doing it” mentality, which is not conducive to success.
As a result of not understanding the concept, too many people think that what they need to do to improve Customer Experience is simple. A common misconception is that all an organization has to do is find the pain points and fix them.
That sounds perfectly reasonable; however, what we know is that these pain points are not always an accurate indication of what customers value. For example, Disney wanted to improve the food offerings in the park, so they asked their guests what food options they would like to see. The guests told Disney a salad would be nice. Now, we all know that people don’t order a salad at a theme park; they want junk food because they are having fun and want a treat. So, if Disney were to offer salads, they would not have improved the food offerings at all, even though they addressed the guests’ professed “pain point.”
In other words, customers might say that something is a problem, but it does not necessarily mean that it is. Alternatively, it might be an actual problem, but it does not have an impact on the experience that you think will when you solve it.
People think that Customer Experience is something “soft and fluffy” and one of the nice-to-haves. However, Customer Experience is neither. It is a crucial part of the success of the customer-driven growth of an organization.
The most significant thing I’ve learned over the last 18 years since we started Beyond Philosophy is that Customer Experience is all about a mindset. You must know the Customer Experience you want to deliver and then measure your success in that. Also, you should know what parts of the experience drive the most value for you and how human behavior affects them. Furthermore, you need a consistent strategy that will take you from where you are now to where you want to be. Finally, Everything you do must be attached to a value, and you must have evidence that your actions will give you a return.
There is a phenomenon in business to put new labels on things to get people to care about it again. The names are tactical. The fundamental needs of an organization haven’t changed. You are fooling yourself if you think that because Customer Experience jobs are getting cut that Customer Experience doesn’t matter anymore. Somebody still needs to be doing the work of understanding the Customer Experience and making things better for the customer.
If we want to call it something else entirely, that’s fine. However, the underlying principles of human behavior aren’t changing, even if what we call it or who is running it does.
To hear more about Why Your CX Job is Probably on the Line This Year in more detail, listen to the complete podcast here.
What customers say they want and what they really want are often different things. It is vital to know what drives value for your organization. Our Emotional Signature research can tell you where you are compared to other organizations and what to focus on to drive value for your customers. To learn more, please click here.
Colin Shaw is the founder and CEO of Beyond Philosophy, one of the world’s leading Customer experience consultancy & training organizations. Colin is an international author of six bestselling books and an engaging keynote speaker.
Follow Colin Shaw on Twitter @ColinShaw_CX