Tuesday, August 2, 2016

CX Journey™ Musings: Customer Experience is the Next...

Image courtesy of Unsplash
We've all heard it. What gives?

We've all seen the reports and the studies and the statistics that "customer experience is the next... battlefield, competitive battleground, competitive advantage, competitive frontier, marketing, ___ [fill in the blank]."

I recently saw a report stating that customer experience will be the competitive advantage by 2020; another said that it would be the primary point of differentiation by 2017; and yet another stated that customer experience is the next marketing race; and so on. Again, fill in the "next ___ [blank]."

Ironically, I came across a report from two years ago that said that in two years (like, now) it would be the competitive advantage.

Enough already.

Customer experience isn't the next anything. It's the here and now! It's the current battlefield, etc. It's the battlefield of yesterday. Why do these analysts keep coming up with those great headlines, and yet they know in their heart of hearts that companies need to be focusing on the experience today?

The purpose of a business is to create (and to nurture) a customer. Every day. Not two years from now, not four years from now. Today.

Using headlines like "customer experience will be the only competitive advantage in 2020" kicks the can down the road for those companies that are already ignoring the fact (or not getting it) that improving the customer experience is critical today.

Seriously, what gives?

Customers want personalized and simplified experiences. They want companies to "know me" and to reduce the effort to achieve some task or to do some job. If you can accomplish those two things, you've won the competitive battle!

Customers have expectations. And their expectations may differ from the two I noted in the previous paragraph. Companies need to listen and understand. All they have to do is ask. Or listen. And customers will tell them about the experience they want.

Here's the problem with a customer experience and culture transformation: it's a lot of work. A lot of hard work. It's a journey. You've got to move mountains. And silos.

Can you name the last great customer experience you had, outside of "the usuals." I cannot. My last great experience was with a "usual," i.e., Amazon. Otherwise, I'm drawing a blank.

I long for the day when I have to think long and hard about a time when I had a crappy experience. Sadly, I'm not losing sleep over that day; I don't think it will happen in two years, four years, or  during my lifetime, for that matter. I hope I'm proven wrong.

Your customers are responsible for your company’s reason for existing. -Marilyn Suttle


  1. THIS. Our thoughts are completely aligned, Annette. I cannot tell you how many times I've read that headline over and over, shake my head in disbelief and think to myself, "wow, what rock have they been hiding under?" So many times, it feels like people and orgs push off what needs to happen today, simply because they don't know to begin. The bottom line is begin. NOW. JUST GO. Great post.

    1. Thanks, Debbie! Happy to hear we are in alignment. Love your reaction to the headlines. It's crazy. But we keep pushing the noodle up the hill in hopes that folks will eventually see the light!

  2. Totally agree with your view, Annette. When it comes to customer experience, culture trasformation is still the biggest hurdle for many brands. Excellent post as usual.

  3. Totally agree with your view, Annette. When it comes to customer experience, culture trasformation is still the biggest hurdle for many brands. Excellent post as usual.

  4. Excellent post, Annette! I like you pointing out that CX and culture transformation is hard work - just getting the information flowing across silos requires a lot of skills and effort, not even to mention cross-organizational action taking. Thank you for the post.

  5. Agree wholeheartedly and I am glad that you didn't include "money" in the sentence - "...it requires a lot of work - hard work." It doesn't have to be expensive. It requires giving your employees PERMISSION to listen, identify when a special occasion/circumstance might be happening and then providing them the tools to DO something about it. It doesn't take much, but going out of your way to share that "extra something" goes a long way toward enhancing your CX and your Brand.

    1. You're so right... it doesn't have to be expensive. As a matter of fact, many of the simplest improvements cost nothing at all! Thanks for your thoughts on this.

  6. Hi Annette,
    You call it a musing, I'd call it a really good rant and spot on! I like it!

  7. I agree with your opinion. "If you can accomplish those two things, you've won the competitive battle!"

  8. Very much agree as well. We see a Lot of our clients taking this seriously and running routine assessments of various buyer and customer Journeys. The information we gather is extremely useful and when the recommended changes are implemented, cust sat, time to close, revenue improves - and more.

    BTW: Great Customer Experience today at Genio del Tempo in Vienna! Sale was over last week, but as I periodically buy there, she extended the discount to me (just sharing J)

    1. Thanks, Leahanne. And gotta love when they go the extra mile! Great example!