Tuesday, June 16, 2015

When the Going Gets Tough...

Image courtesy of Dana Lookadoo
When the going gets tough, does your company give up? Or does it get going?

You're a customer experience professional, right? Even if you're not, I think you'll appreciate this story/post.

How much does the following scenario describe your company?

You've made some strides with your customer experience initiatives. You've gotten buy-in from (some) executives, or so you've been told. Everyone seems to be moving in the right direction, and the focus is on the customer and his experience. You've built your business case, and that seems to have solidified the need to get everyone centered on the customer and to focus on improving the experience. You've got a roadmap, a governance structure, and some initiatives in place with owners and project plans. You're truly making progress. Perhaps they get it: The bottom line of a great customer experience is a great bottom line.

Then. Bam!

The numbers are in. You had a bad month or a bad quarter. And everyone wants to abandon the CX ship and go back to focusing on acquisition over retention. You need to put the focus back on marketing, advertising, and sales, on acquiring new customers. You need to set aside any customer experience improvement initiatives. Clearly, the focus on customer experience initiatives distracted everyone from selling. That must be why numbers are down

Say what?!

By now, everyone should know that focusing on the customer experience is as important to retaining customers as it is to acquiring new ones. Have they lost their minds? Instead of figuring out where the breakdown occurs in the customer experience, they want to just focus on how to bring in new customers, who will ultimately leave. Why? Because the experience stinks!

What happens when companies spend huge sums of (marketing) dollars on customer acquisition when they can't even keep the customers they have because their products, services, and experience stink? I think you know. I think the scenario above just captured it.

What should they be doing on an ongoing basis?

  • listening to customers
  • mapping customer journeys and identifying moments of truths/painpoints
  • fixing the painpoints
  • following up with customers
  • making the experience effortless
  • and more...
  • and then watching the customers/sales return
Just because sales are down doesn't mean it's time to take the focus off customer experience improvement initiatives and place it on driving sales. (This assumes most companies differentiate or delineate the two, which they do.) Those customer experience improvement initiatives will ultimately drive sales! This is when it's most critical to stay the course.

Why do companies return to what they know, what we're comfortable with, rather than doing what's right, what's different from everyone else... focusing on the customer experience.

If you're just beginning your customer experience improvements, stay the course. Don't let the numbers derail you. Perhaps there's something else happening to bring the numbers down. Perhaps you're not listening to customers. Perhaps you're not focusing on the right improvement initiatives. Perhaps customers haven't yet benefited from the improvements. Perhaps there are outside forces. There are a number of reasons that sales might be down. The important thing to remember is that the customer experience is a journey, and so are the improvement efforts.

When companies focus on the customer and his experience, the numbers will ultimately reflect it.

In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity. -Albert Einstein


4 comments:

  1. Why do companies return to what they know, what we're comfortable with, rather than doing what's right?

    I think you answer your own question there Annette, if it is any consolation you are not alone asking the question.

    James

    ReplyDelete