Why Most Businesses Fail at Customer Experience

February 2, 2019

By Kirsten Oelrich

If you’re growing weary of hearing ‘Customer Experience’ too often these days, you’ll find the statistics sobering. Despite the rising noise on customer experience, there are still very few businesses that have truly embraced a customer-focused approach.

There’s also a disparity between what brands think about the experiences they’re giving their customers and how what customers actually feel about these experiences. Most brands are aware of the value that a Customer Experience program can provide, but there’s a gap between this vision and the results of the programs. CX programs that are launched with lofty goals and boundless optimism usually underperform and fail to deliver. Why is this happening, and what can business leaders like yourself do about it? Let’s find out.

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No single view of the customer

Due to fragmented systems and disparate data sources, most organizations lack a single, unified view of their customers. As a result, most brands are collecting vast volumes of customer data, but are incapable of synthesizing it in a way that allows them to deliver better customer experiences. They fail to tie it all together to create a complete picture of the consumer that is shared across all customer-facing departments within the company. This means that consumers are mostly served irrelevant, untimely, non-personalized messaging. According to a recent survey, only 22% of consumers report that average companies do a good job of personalizing their relationship. That number only rises to 37% when consumers describe their favorite companies.

Lack of alignment on customer experience

While customer experience is always included as part of the marketing strategy, it usually doesn’t make much headway. What this means is that while marketers believe customer-centricity is the way forward, the rest of the organization remains unconvinced. In order to move toward a customer-focused organization, CX change management needs to start at the top. Once they have the support of management, marketers should start by looking for quick wins to show the rest of the company the benefits of improving CX. Also, they should avoid outsourcing customer-facing channels and ensure that everyone in the organization understood the customer experience KPIs. This helps to get everyone working toward a common goal of serving the customer first and worrying about departmental responsibility, second.

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Lack of ownership and accountability

Any CX program needs constant attention and guidance to keep things moving forward. It is critical to nominate a program owner – whether that is a team or an individual who is ultimately responsible for the success and quality of the program. The program owner does not need to be an expert in all areas of the business, but spend time with all contributors and stakeholder to ensure better coordination and effectiveness in the overall outcome. A robust CX program involves product, development, marketing, sales and customer success, and it is imperative that one individual or core team takes ownership for driving multiple teams in the same direction. Without clear ownership, the mission will be derailed no matter how well thought out the nitty-gritties of the CX program are. Also, don’t forget to empower your leaders and give them the authority to be successful and along the way, provide them with the resources necessary to create value.

Lack of agility to change and innovate

Like every other big organizational goal governed by fluctuating trends and variables, customer experience excellence is a constantly shifting target. What works today for customers is unlikely to remain relevant forever. Organizations must be more vigilant than ever in staying innovative and future-proofing their businesses, and a forward-thinking approach is essential to keep your CX program moving steadily. If possible, create an innovative culture within your business – managers need to make sure that innovation is a job requirement for their employees. The key is to remember that CX programs are not only about watching scores go up and down. The ultimate goal is to create experiences that add value to the customer and the business simultaneously, and this requires constant change.

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