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.
It is good to have a guide in life. Many of us share political creeds, religious beliefs and codes of honor to guide our decision making. Wouldn’t it be crazy good to have the same for the doctrine of Customer Experience? When I co-authored the best selling book “CEM Success without Exception” back in 2006 Customer Experience Management was in its infancy.
Now thirteen years later we have the accumulated wisdom of the giants of Customer Experience Management, proof that focus on Successful Customer Outcomes, Outside-In and working backwards are fundamental to becoming a winning organization.
It is with these thoughts in mind and the worthy experience of many that I set pen to paper to craft these tenets as guidelines for all of us seeking to maximise our deployment of Customer Experience Management.
1. Customers are first, front and center for everything.
Understanding that all the work an organization undertakes ultimately stems from a customer interaction is key. Work to engineer every experience to the optimum.
2. Listen to the questions customers ask you.
Resist the subjective ‘voice of customer’ surveys (they are biased and unrepresentative) and focus on understanding and articulating needs – the Needs of the Customer.
3. Stop selling and let people buy.
Customers are now prosumers and most know what they want and how to get it. You will not win them if you force sell; in fact, you will make enemies of them.
4. Map the Complete Experience.
This is both the stuff the customer sees (the customer journey and the brand promise) and the work that takes place across the rest of the organization to support all interactions. Combine those the Employee Experience and the Customer Experience you are nearing the Complete Experience; these are not separate things but should be viewed through the same lens.
The CEMMethod.com can help you in seeing the Complete Experience.
Customers develop trust when you say what’ll you do, and then do what you say. Conversely, do not project yourself as something you are not.
6. Be consistent and truthful across all your channels.
Customers will interact in ways and times that suit them, so ensure you keep a coherent message across all experiences.
7. Act on People liking people.
Do not hide behind automation, whether that is voice systems, web interactions or even text messaging. The most intimate relationships are formed with people, not computers.
Keep in front of the song.
8. Creating memorable experiences requires anticipation and coordination.
Fix problems before they happen, and when problems do arise (they will) pull out the stops to put things right.
9. Design every customer experience for the category of customer.
You should never ever treat all customers in the same way. Personalization and direct communication are proven winners in an era of standardization.
10. Employees are your first customers.
If they ain’t happy your paying customers won’t be either. Treat your people well and let them know they are the most critical part of the brand and the complete customer experience.
”Let’s not beat around the bush… Customer experience is the new battleground. At The Experience Manager, BP Group, and Rockstar.cx we know the art of this new war. We have the tools, the technology and the strategies to remorselessly create victories for our clients as we build a more customer-centric world, one experience and one enterprise at a time”.
Join us for Complete Experience Management with coaching, training, consultancy and Certification at www.bpgroup.org
If you are looking for Innovative leadership then this will inspire you onwards and upwards. Shared by one of South Africa’s most progressive business leaders, Roland Naidoo:
Having just left the football field with my 5 year old son I was finally motivated to write this blog. Why? Trying to teach him to kick the football in the correct way, it dawned on me in that moment I was doing to him what every organised structure is designed to do.
As I caught myself I paused, looked at him and said, “My boy, you figure it out, play, have fun, and find new ways to kick a football.”
Be the doctrine of the how and the why.
Be the standard of the where and the when.
Be the one and only way.
Have the right answers!
The dawning of that realisation underpins why innovation is so important to me. Innovation should by definition not be defined Ior it will simply succumb to every other conformity we know. It should live in every one of us.
This is the need to ask ourselves ‘why?’. Why am I doing this in this way? Is there a better way? Is there a different way? Is there even a need for this at all?
A spirit of innovation is not technology or wonderfully bombastic ideas, but the courage to question our education, rules, bonafide truths and all so-called absolutes in between. Know that your bravery will be rewarded with knowledge; am I. Know you were courageous enough to acknowledge you were wrong and move forward.
In the future when you find yourself saying or even thinking thoughts like this is how it’s always been; this is the way we do things; there is no other way; this is impossible; these are the rules; some things can’t be questioned, stop, take a breath, and find a new way to kick a football.
Footnote (from Steve)
So go find that ball and a new way to score for your team!
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:
Additionally, the new book is in draft, “Everyone Loves CX”, and will be published early next year. If you want to join the list and get access to the preview, samples and associated materials register here.
With a dozen new case studies and terrific insights from global leaders, I examine some of the next practices and how you can deploy them with immediate effect in your own world.
If videos are your thing then do hook up with James Dodkins and the Rockstar CX initiative.
An important question if you are tasked with making Customer Experience #CX work for your organization.
Let’s contrast and compare current trends!
Twitter – Trends emerge when you monitor hashtags, and the shorthand for Customer Experience #cx is a good starting point. When you contrast #CX with other popular management approaches such as #lean #lss and #bpm is interesting:
Top of the Tweeters for Customer Experience is Colin Shaw @ColinShaw_CX with over 43,400 #CX tweets.
If you follow him you will never be short of material related to Customer Experience as he vacuums the web for interesting articles, in addition to his own contributions.
A recent introduction of hashtags to this platform provides a good insight…
Searching LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator platform with #CX reveals 83.4K members using Customer Experience as part of their profiles (that is 10 times greater than those using #lean).
The demographics of the 83.4K show a predominance of folks in the US.
Does this reflect a reframing of their products to emphasize Customer Experience as a top table strategic interest?
And What about Google?
Searching #CX reveals 317,000,000 results in 0.8 seconds. That is one helluva a lot of reading. Drilling down with Google Trends, and using the same comparisons with Lean, LSS, BPM and CX produces an interesting contrast with Twitters results. Here we do see a decline in interest with Lean however the interest is still significantly ahead of CX.
We will revist this analysis periodically. Now go away and start researching all those interesting sources!
Dr W. Edwards Deming’s famous quote “If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what you’re doing” is truer today than ever in an increasingly customer-centric Outside-In world.
Perhaps we should upgrade the quote to encompass the focus on the customer?
“If you can’t describe what you are doing as relevant to a Successful Customer Outcome, you shouldn’t ought to be doing it”
Progressive Outside-In businesses understand this truth (think Amazon, Starbucks, BMW and Emirates) who are connecting everything they do to delivering these Successful Customer Outcomes. If activities and systems do not explicitly contribute to customer success they scrap them, and in doing so costs fall away, service improves and naturally, revenues grow.
Think about that for a moment from the customers perspective. It is certainly more pleasurable if interactions are simple and smoother. And if these experiences involve buying stuff, customers come back again and again for more. Even in public service, it stands to reason that reducing complexity will release more resources to do more meaningful work that delivers greater value to citizens.
So how would you approach your existing Customer Experiences and associated processes to move in this direction? Is there a formula that can be applied that is easy to use and produces immediate results?
Indeed, there is! We refer to this formula within the CEMMethod™, an approach developed originally in association with companies like Virgin and Southwest Airlines. The method, originally released in 2006, is now in version 11 and includes 50+ techniques that significantly improve business performance and customer success.
One of these techniques within the CEMMethod™ is referred to as the ‘Disruption Factor’ and quite simply allows you to calculate the potential for improvement in any Customer Experience. Additionally, it helps you pinpoint the areas that would benefit from immediate attention, and in doing so win the triple crown (lower costs, improved service, higher revenues).
If you want to know more about applying the Disruption Factor in your organization join us at the upcoming webinar register your interest here.
So how do you get your hands on five hundred bucks?
Simple, put your qualification after your name!
Here is the list:
ACXM® – Accredited Customer Experience Master®
ACXP® – Accredited Customer Experience Professional®
ACXC® – Accredited Customer Experience Champion®
CPPM® – Certified Process Professional Master®
CPP® – Certified Process Professional®
CPPC® – Certified Process Professional Champion®
So change your LinkedIn title, drop me a note on LinkedIn to say you have done it and we will put you in the monthly draw… oh and good luck!!
Next month we are featuring some of the recent Rockstar CX interviews from James Dodkins
See you very soon!
Steve Towers, CEO, ACXC and CPP Champion