Who started #customerexperience ? Well, there has always been a customer experience, however, it is only in the last 20 years that companies have realized the need to get scientific about shaping and innovating #CX. Who was the pioneer that did that first? And in doing so shifted the emphasis from Industrial Age thinking to Outside-In practice. Let’s jump into the time machine and rediscover Steve Jobs back in 1997.
Moving from Product to Customer-Centric
Back then it wasn’t understood that designing Customer Experiences and delivering Successful Customer Outcomes went way beyond being product-centric. Steve Jobs anticipated this shift towards customer-centricity, and evolved Apples approach to rapidly shift to Outside-In strategy and operations.
Many of the concepts we accept, such as defining the customer experience from the customers perspective, and not the organizations, were developed in the cauldrons of Apple mountain. In fact, one of the key techniques within the CEMMethod™ was initially referred to as the ‘Apple Innovation Approach’.
Why so many still get it wrong
Here’s a great mini video explaining the difference in viewpoint Inside-Out v. Outside-In.
We saw that at work in Outside-In design of products like the original iPod, the iPhone and the iPad. Now taken for granted the last century was a mish mesh of competing chunks of technology (think the early MP3 players) that often required an MSc to understand the menu system and driver updates.
It isn’t what they want, it is what they NEED
Nowadays the major consumer product companies understand the requirement to articulates the needs of customers, and only then design products that meet those needs. That is Outside-In in action.
You would be right in saying he was the pioneer of Outside-In.
If you would like to dig deeper I talked about the difference in approaches of Industrial Age v. Customer Age/Outside-In in this article.
This item has caused quite a stir over at LinkedIn, you can join that discussion here.
I was keynoting a conference in Europe recently, and senior executives in the room were getting the rationale behind moving Outside-In. However, there seemed to be two perplexed groups in the place.
One was what a refer to as the ‘traditional process guys’, and the other ‘the customer is first people’, and interestingly they both asked the same question “Where do we start?”
My honest and most direct answer is “You do not have a choice. You have got to start where you are and go from there!” OK, I get what you’re thinking, how could they take that away and begin to transform their organizations?
So, I walked them through TWO distinctly different ways to navigate to Outside-In working and practice, depending on your mindset, enterprise history and maturity. For the two categories of customer in the room, the NEEDS are the same, just the way they navigate to achieving them is different.
What are the Results?
From a results perspective, both approaches focus on winning the triple crown, that is Improving Service, Growing Revenues and Reducing Complexity (and hence lowering costs).
Process is the starting point
Starts with Customer Needs
Reengineering the Processes
Aligning everything to Customer Needs
Build out from Process to Department to Division to Enterprise
Articulate Successful Customer Outcomes and Remove the complexity of things that do not contribute to it
Local wins building to business-wide transformation
Immediate delivery against Triple Crown benefits
Slow burn, however when they see the benefits and ‘get it’ the support is significant
Starts at the strategic level so influences everything the organization does
If your remit is just ‘improving processes’ this approach will get you their steadily, however, the challenges facing traditional business are seismic so is there time? So, make immediate gains but push hard for more quickly.
By demonstrating the value of ‘customer first’ in terms of the triple crown the enterprise can align quickly and effectively. Importantly avoid the ‘soft and fluffy’ sentiments expressed by many in the customer experience world.
How can I Implement?
Back in 2006 the BPG launched the CEMMethod™ and built out an approach, using the 50+ techniques based on global next practice from companies like Virgin, Zara, BMW, Zappos, Apple and Emirates. Since then more than 3,000 companies in 116 countries have become accredited and certified to transform their processes and organizations.
Now in version 11, the choice you make in deployment is based on your ambition and remit within the enterprise. If you are a leader needing to embrace the digital customer ‘Customer First’ leaps out as the main option. Alternatively, if you are in a traditional process-based business (lean, six sigma, BPM etc.) the more conservative ‘process engineering’ approach may be preferred.
You can access the following resources that will help you make an informed choice:
I was deeply honoured by the PEX community at the annual conference in Florida last month and received the Global Community 2018 Award. Needless to say (but I will) this is as much down to you guys and your great transformational work, so I graciously excepted the Award on your behalf. Thank you so much :
The single biggest piece of advice I give to senior executives setting out on the Customer Experience journey is to STOP. Yes seriously, the vast majority of CX efforts are completely misaligned.
CX Efforts Misaligned
Don’t get me wrong the intentions are good. Unfortunately, it goes something like this:
Top Team are listening and decide they need to get with this customer centricity/Outside-In/working backwards thinking.
Senior Management makes noises that the customer is THE thing the business must focus on.
The Executive engage the marketing and sales guys to get with it and start pushing the message.
Functional leaders hear the noise and bluster. They start using the language, whilst thinking this is just more fluff and nonsense. They make the right noises for now but keep their heads down, because they know this will go the same way as so many other ‘strategic initiatives’.
Fundamentally functional heads carry on working with the out of date reward system that promotes sub-optimal industrial age thinking and practice.
The Executive see the usual inertia, results not coming through, apathy and indifference and decide their business isn’t really an Amazon.
Top Team then reverts to just getting better at what we are doing, then when someone in ‘our industry’ proves it we will follow.
Functional leaders breathe a sigh of relief and invest even more in industrial age systems and training. The illusion of doing something, in this case, is actually worse than doing nothing.
The businesses failure is noted by customers who move to those who do understand and deliver Customer Experience success.
The company becomes another footnote in the history books. Talked about at business schools and picked apart because of the failure to get the new Outside-In customer-centric mindset.
Making Customer Experience Successful everywhere all the time
This isn’t rocket science (unless you are NASA of course). Understanding that the structures and ways of working from the industrial age were NEVER designed to be customer-centric. They were established to make things faster by optimizing production lines.
And oh, don’t think because you are not in manufacturing you are OK. It is likely your complete ways of working will be making everything look like production management systems, with talk of leaning out, waste reduction, standardization, efficiency, productivity. Sound familiar?
Understanding this Customer Experience misalignment is fundamental.
I encourage doing three things before re-joining the CX road-march:
Understand how big the gap is between what you are doing and what Successful Customer Outcomes you need to be delivering.
Audit the current key performance indicators.
Are they mostly about outputs?
Usually, the balance will be 80% output metrics (like calls answered, Average Handle Times, Abandoned Rates, Projects completed on time to budget etc.).
Meanwhile, the really important measures that tell you a Successful Customer Outcome is being achieved will only be a small proportion.
What you measure is what you get and no amount of Customer Experience drum banging will work unless those measures of Outcomes become the most important.
Create an awareness of what real CX success is all about.
This isn’t just the stories. It is about the actual things on the ground that need to change. The WHY and the HOW go hand in hand. Often times upskilling a group of key players at all levels to make them Ambassadors for the Customer achieves way more than massive corporate investment in branding and image.
In conclusion, Customer Experience cannot be treated just like another corporate initiative. To achieve success requires a significant shift in mindsets, and when that is achieved the realignment of the Enterprise to Outside-In can really begin.
Google tells us that Customer Experience is a significant and trending topic, the graph below ably demonstrates that point. (See google trends)
However, given all the noise what are THE most popular articles on the theme?
Here we present the seven most popular of the last couple of years.
Read and share
7th: Putting customer experience at the heart of next-generation operating models
This one for is McK’s second in the top seven this time…
“Digital is reshaping customer experience in almost every sector. Digital first attackers are entering markets with radically new offers, disrupting the ways that companies and customers interact and setting a high bar for simplicity, personalization, and interactivity.”
Teaching MBA courses in international business, global competitive strategies, international market research, and capstone courses in strategic planning and market research gives Louis the opportunity to research mega trends. Add to his portfolio writing for Forbes establishes his credentials in the space of customer transformation. In this article, he reflects on the coming ‘Internet of Things’ everywhere, and the impact on business and customers.
“87% of retailers will deploy mobile point-of-sale (MPOS) devices by 2021, enabling them to scan and accept credit or debit payments anywhere in the store…”
5th: The expanding role of design in creating an end-to-end customer experience
The second of McK’s into the top seven this time. Lines between products, services, and user environments are blurring. The ability to craft an integrated customer experience will open enormous opportunities to build new businesses.
“As digitization drives more and faster disruptions—and as customers increasingly desire the immediacy, personalization, and convenience of dealing with digital-marketing leaders—the business landscape is undergoing an upheaval.”
4th: The Employee Experience Is the Future Of Work
Working at Future Workplace, (an HR Advisory and Research firm) Jeanne casts her glow over the changes to the employee role within business today. She is also the co-author of The Future Workplace Experience: 10 Rules For Mastering Disruption in Recruiting and Engaging Employees:
“Today, almost every company is undergoing a digital transformation. Cloud and mobile computing, artificial intelligence, and increasing automation have created the potential to transform nearly every aspect of a business.”
3rd: United Airlines Changes Its Policy On Displacing Customers
Correspondent, San Francisco, National Desk NPR. With an eclectic style ranging across diverse topics such as medical marijuana, gay marriage, drive-by shootings, the U.S. Ninth Circuit, the California State Supreme Court and any other legal, political, or social development he understands CX first hand. Here we see a well-accounted discussion of, yes again, United Airline’s trials and tribulations.
“United Airlines crew members will no longer be able to bump a passenger who is already seated in one of the airline’s planes…”
2nd: How to Gamify your Customer Experience and Win…
Proudly proclaiming himself as a disrupter and innovator Mike’s perspective on Customer Experience is refreshing and unique in a world of sameness. He writes with an entertaining AND well thought out logic.
“I honestly can’t think of a more difficult industry to get into than candles. You have thousands of manufacturers who are all selling the same thing… A piece of wax with a string in the middle and the only way to differentiate yourself is by changing your label, along with the size, color, and smell of that wax.”
1st: Delivering exceptional customer experiences – an art and science
Luke works on the Retail partner side of Microsoft and benefits from first-hand experience of the changes in and around Customer Experience.
“Interacting effectively with customers has traditionally been a form of art, especially in face-to-face settings. But now that customers are increasingly shopping on social media, mobile apps, and websites, a bit of science can help win their loyalty. How can retailers combine customer service expertize with advanced technology to create exceptional customer experiences?”
“We are trying so hard but achieving so little” this phrase echoes around many organisations who are trying desperately to form and execute a customer centric vision and culture. Why is it proving so hard?
Guest blog: James Dodkins
The first thing we need to understand is that in the 21st century our customers are very different animals. Both you and I as customers have transformed beyond recognition, our changing attitudes and habits make us very difficult to keep up with. Some people have described this phenomenon as the ‘Enlightened Customer’ and it takes an enlightened organisation to deliver outstanding service to this new breed.
The spread of the internet has been the catalyst for this change in customers, we are all connected to each other, we are connected all of the time without exception, we are connected through many different devices and mediums, we are living in an always-on world.
Because customers have been exposed to more of the world… Read the full story (and get access to a FREE hands-on Customer Experience session)….
An internationally recognized program with proven track record delivered by been there and done it coaches more than 150 times, in 57 cities with delegates from 108 countries. The program, now in its tenth year, utilizes the BP Groups approaches and framework to help you and your organization win the triple crown – simultaneously reduce costs, grow revenues and enhance service. Producing Immediate and sustainable business results across any industry and sector.
Honestly, someone has got a grip on this. How can a definition be so difficult to come by? They are either soft, fluffy and meaningless or, try as they might, nothing to actually do with delivering successful customer outcomes. So there you have it, and here is the definitive definition:
Customer Experience Management (CEM or CXM) is a strategic approach used most commonly as a competitive differentiator. It involves aligning every aspect of an organisation towards the delivery of customer needs and successful outcomes no matter how far removed the customer is perceived to be.
•Customer journey – what the customer does, expects and feels.
•Supporting internal process.
•Associated team and hierarchy structures.
•Vision, mission & strategy.
Typically companies who engage in Customer Experience Management activities out perform those who do not.
“We have got to get more scientific about the Customer Experience”