The five crucial things successful CX organizations do every day

Most successful CX organizations do these things to lift their game.
Let’s review their winning approaches.
Then Model your own strategy based on these leading CX ‘next’ practices.

The article is a build on terrific feedback from my recent ‘5 Critical Failures of 80% of Customer Experience initiatives’.
(You can see that here:

“Success does not consist in never making mistakes but in never making the same one a second time.”

George Bernard Shaw

So with that in mind, let’s move beyond the mistakes and uncover the winning strategies and how best can we implement those insightful approaches?

Based on our recent work and research my report from the CX front line should help you rethink your approach in our collective endeavor to get more scientific about the customer experience.

In the earlier article, we identified five major errors and causes of failure. Let’s review how winning CX companies reframe those into successful strategies.  

1. Top teams understand CX success and get out of the way of their people to let them get on with it.

To achieve strategic CX success, it is necessary to understand the limitations imposed by industrial age thinking (getting better at doing the wrong stuff faster, functional specialisms, outdated reward systems) and help the organization migrate to Outside-In thinking and practices. At Zappos, for instance, it is more important to meet the customer (see Zappos hits the road.. and gather insights, and provide input to reshaping the organization.

The top team is actually out there “We want to shake the customers hands, give them really big high fives and meet their friends — delivering happiness and memorable experiences along the way,” said Kristin Richmer, Senior Brand Marketing Manager, Zappos.

The task then is not overlaying the new insights onto an industrial age siloed world. It is actually to reshape the organization, its people, the reward systems, processes and systems to better deliver successful customer outcomes.

Tony Hsieh reinforced this feed forward approach “we actually want to talk with customers more as 70% of our business are repeat buys. Hiding our contact details and making it difficult to talk is not our way”

2. Customer needs are understood and developed to create the organizational alignment towards successful customer outcomes.

Leading CX Companies have developed an a-b-c strategy when boiled down includes
(a) stop asking customers what they wantl
(b) get your head around current customer expectations, and
(c) articulate customer needs even when the customer doesn’t know what they are.

This effort is not a ‘one and done’, it is about continual learning and then development of services and products that anticipate customer needs, rather than following the outdated mantra of those organizations seeking more and more (often meaningless) feedback. And Disney provides a demonstration of this a-b-c approach.

Consider this:

Disney World Orlando, is about 43 square miles, about twice the size of Manhattan. (pre pandemic) 30 million guests per year enjoy 4 theme parks: the Magic Kingdom, the Hollywood Studios, Epcot and the Animal Kingdom.

You can navigate to these parks by car, bus, monorail, boats and a ferry depending on your hotel – and that in itself includes over 20 themed for your delight. Coupled with Disneys wearable “Magic Bands” (see you receive a smooth personalized experience where ever you are.

This collection of entertainment is a dynamic living system focused on successful customer outcomes. With digital real-time feedback, Disney offers an integrated experience built around a co-ordinated set of business and customer outcomes, from the time you think of a trip, to the time you are back home with the kids.

3. Being customer-centric isn’t about projects – it is a state of mind.

A great mistake of many is approaching customer experience as an initiative, something with a clearly defined start and end point. Appreciating CX is a state of mind for the whole company is a major differentiator and allows successful organizations to continually tweak and evolve, rather than live in a permanent state of project stop-start crisis. The guiding principle is, at the heart of CX, change is desirable, welcomed and systematic. It impacts everyone and everything all the time.

4. Successful CX transcends measures and implements a rigorous feedback/feed forward framework.

A recent analysis in the banking industry suggested that more than 85% of the total key performance indicators measured outputs – things that get produced from activities. Successful CX companies however, have a very different profile and focus, their attention is on measuring outcomes – the result of what is produced. To these companies this is not a semantic distinction, it underpins the total CX strategy. As a result, the measurement systems are simplified, and the focus on results rather than activity moves the dial towards customer centricity so much more quickly.

Programs such as Disney’s True North set a direction with supporting metrics, and rather than measure everything that moves they focus on the results and outcomes that need to be delivered to achieve successful customer outcomes. In this context, more than 75% of measures are ‘Outcomes’ with less than 25% outputs.

Test this for yourself in the contact center. 

What are your top ten measurements, are they output oriented or outcome based?
The former (outputs) would be things like average handle time, abandon rates, downtime and so on.
The latter (outcomes) would be the delivery of customer need, queries completely resolved (not the piece mean partial interim ‘first call resolution’ type things measured with a functional bias).
In summary, CX leaders have fewer measures and the majority are now Outcome-focused.

5. CX is both the strategy and the operational objective to overcome needless complexity.

A Forrester survey says 81% of CX professionals are mapping experiences from the customers perspective but only 21% are mapping the ecosystem (processes, people, technology). In this context there are two opportunities that successful CX companies exploit:

i. CX can only be successful if you build a complete CX ecosystem. This is a process of creating alignment from Customer Experience strategy to execution and connects the frontline who deliver the customer experience with those people and systems who provide the means of delivery. Amazon refer to this aspect as ‘North Start Alignment’

ii. CX Current state crisis. Successful CX companies can clearly articulate the what and how the organization should be doing to deliver great experiences.

They do not become mired in the exercise of mapping all the current external and internal processes and systems (which can take years to complete and provides little in the way of direction for what should exist.)

These companies understand the reality that the current structure and systems were never created with excellent CX in mind but were in fact designed around an industrial age, production system based model.

Hence, next practice is to utilize design principles that envision what should be, and then progressively mature and migrate the organization to that vision.

To conclude CX success doesn’t come from wishful thinking. 

It is a deliberate and sustained effort to understand and articulate the ever changing customer. To build a new trust with them that goes beyond the platitudes of the past.

In the near term it is about becoming more scientific about the customer experience. In the longer term it is a guarantee of business success. We have codified these CX next practice approaches into the CEMMethod (now version 13). You can access that as a resource with others below.

The earlier article can be viewed here: ‘5 Critical Failures of 80% of Customer Experience initiatives’.

How to become Outside-In

Start here:
Your definition of Customer Experience is/may be wrong (3 minute video) (from James Dodkins aka CX Rockstar)

Then review this:
I have also just done a 3 minute explainer video for Outside-In – see it here:

Then follow these 5 steps:
Step #1 – Get The Book: Outside-In The Secret *FREE* |

Step #2 – Get The Training:
Certified Outside-In Master® |
Certified Process Professional Master®  |  
Accredited Customer Experience Master®  |  

Step #3 – Get the Software:
The Experience Manager |  

Step #4 – Connect With The Community:
LinkedIn |
Blog |
BPG Website |
Steve Towers Web  |
Twitter |
YouTube |

Step #5 – Keep Pace with Change
Recent Interview |