“Customer Experience Day? That means eff-all to me!”

Did you have a good CX Day? You didn’t realise it was happening? Strange! I thought it was up there with Pancake Day, Mothers’ Day, Fathers’ Day and the Eurovision Song Contest as a red-letter day in anyone’s calendar. Well, maybe I’m exaggerating a touch, but the reaction – quoted verbatim above – when I mentioned to someone that it was, indeed, Customer Experience Day proved to me not that there had been a failure of publicity, but that the day itself possibly didn’t have much point if you’re not a CX specialist. Which made me realise that we can get far too obsessed with customer experience itself and lose the point of why it’s important.

This might seem an odd point of view for someone who spent a brilliant day as a judge at the UK Customer Experience Awards recently. It was genuinely inspiring to hear stories of great customer experience delivery by all kinds of organisations and my only regret was that I didn’t get to hear more. But, paradoxically, what happens at these kind of events is that CX practitioners and experts take a rare moment away from customers and become inward-looking: what did we do? What was the effect? What else could we have done? Addressing these kind of questions is important because learning and feedback can drive improved performance and a desire to raid the game.

BUT…

At the end of the day, time when we focus on customer experience only has value when it translates into improved outcomes for customers.

B.U.T… customers don’t care about your job

I spent the best part of two decades in telecoms, then banking, and one thing I learnt from that experience was that whilst we would get very excited about products, propositions and new ways of delivering a service, great or otherwise, it was surprising how unexcited our customers were about it. I think it’s largely due to the nature of the products in both industries: in general, customers view them very much as utilities. In the case of both, it’s what you can do with the products – broadband for videos, games, voice communication; money for, er, all kinds of things – that gets people excited, not the jobs of the people that deliver them. I’ve called this Bush’s Universal Truth (B.U.T.), although it’s probably everybody else’s blinding glimpse of the obvious.

One of the most important things I do in my work is to get people to focus on the outcomes they deliver for customers – once you get those clarified, both the current and desired future outcomes, you’re in a good place to identify the customer’s journey and their overall experience that will deliver those in the best way.

Remember, remember, the third of October

I think CX Day is a great idea – why not set aside a day to focus on great CX delivery and inspire others to raise their game? But remember it’s just for specialists, not for the people who really count – the customers.

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