I attended the CXPA Members’ Insight Exchange last week in Atlanta. It was a wonderful gathering of people focused on both the theoretical and practical aspects of improving the customer experience in their organizations. Many of the speakers presented actual case studies to illustrate their points and bring the data alive.
It is clear that the complexity of Customer Experience as a discipline is making it difficult to implement successfully, usually because there is no clear “customer owner” in any organization. Much of the focus was on the importance of gaining the voice of the customer on a continuous basis in order to understand the current pain points and to be able to monitor them as they changed over time. There was also significant emphasis on the voice of the employees and their potential to contribute to improving the customer experience.
At the end of the day, customer experience is indeed driven by a combination of metrics and analytics. However, it requires a healthy dose of story telling and design thinking to bring out the best cross-team solutions. Companies face a unique dilemma in balancing the art and science, the right and left brain if you will, of customer experience in order to be successful.
Many of the practitioners talked about the length of time it takes to get organizational buy-in, the need to continuously repeat the same messages to reinforce them, and the constant effort to keep all the players aligned. Many people felt this was a calling (thankfully!) and didn’t seem to mind the continuous repeating; others seemed to be a bit weary by what can seem a thankless task.
The newcomers to customer experience were a bit overwhelmed with all the different offerings and were focused on understanding where to get started in order to make a difference in their organization. The more experienced people were focused more on the nuances of CX, such as the difference between customer satisfaction and Net Promoter Score. They wanted to talk about building consensus and establishing organizational metrics and testing, in order to integrate the various departments and hopefully get them pulling in the same direction.
In general, there is a feeling that big data, analytics and the strong emphasis on mobile will help drive change in customer experience. Businesses seem to be focused on the digital transformations before committing to making a transformation across all customer touch points. There are pros and cons to either approach – and this is why we chose to focus on the merits of different approaches in our own session.
Overall I would say the “state of customer experience professionals” is a positive feeling that things are getting better, but more slowly then most practitioners would like. Most companies have begun to do some basic surveys and some journey mapping, which are great first steps, but most also do not have an integrated view of the customer, a strong testing program or a clear vision of how things are going to change over time.
Bottom line, it is so refreshing to have an organization that exists solely for the betterment of the discipline. Often CX is represented by a single person in a company, and they may be at a loss for advice, best practices, tools and templates. The CXPA serves that great purpose well, but the annual Members’ Insight Exchange has the merit of bringing like-minded people together to learn, to network, and of course to have fun!
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