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I also don’t share the same view that “First and foremost is a commitment to customer-centricity – essentially, putting the customer at the centre of decision making and your business.”
Customer-centricity has three limitations – exclusive to service-focused/related brands, perplexing definitions, and unachievable for most enterprises. (See “What are the three limitations of customer-centricity” https://www.mycustomer.com/experience/engagement/what-are-the-three-limi...)
Certain customer-obsessed organizations are pursuing customer-centricity as their ultimate goal. Big mistake. Customer-centricity is not the end; but rather, a means. Since customer-centricity is the engine of conventional CX and most CX initiatives have persistently failed to provide tangible benefits, maybe it’s time to drop the means that has a high failure rate for years and is unattainable for most enterprises. (See “How brands are achieving customer success without being customer-centric” https://www.mycustomer.com/experience/loyalty/extreme-experience-how-bra...)
I don’t think follow the lead of Jeff Bezos is a good idea.
In Customer Experience: Is Amazon Going Downhill? http://customerthink.com/customer-experience-is-amazon-going-downhill/, Iqbal narrated his ‘ugly’ service experiences with Amazon.
Global customer service expert Shaun Belding responded, “I am seeing a rapidly increasing number of articles and posts indicating a growing disenchantment with Amazon…. there are very clear signs, as Maz points out, that they are obsessing over cost control.”
Amazon is also listed as one of The Top 10 BAD Customer Service Stories of 2018. http://customerthink.com/the-top-10-bad-customer-service-stories-of-2018/ “Imagine that you’ve ordered three cartons of toilet paper from Amazon. The cost: $88.77. Then imagine that you are charged $7,455 for the shipping costs…. She (the customer) complained to Amazon six times. She wrote a letter to CEO Jeff Bezos…. It wasn’t until she took the matter to a local television station and the story went viral for Amazon to take action. Two-and-a-half months later, she was finally reimbursed.”
The above aren’t just rare occurrences. You can uncover many more of Amazon’s poor service experiences as shared by numerous customers on the web https://bit.ly/2I322x3.
You may, nevertheless, argue that the above evidence is insufficient to deduce that Amazon isn’t customer-centric. Please take a good look at Amazon accused of treating UK warehouse staff like robots https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/may/31/amazon-accused-of-treat... and Amazon Working Conditions: Urinating in Trash Cans, Shamed to Work Injured, List of Employee Complaints https://www.newsweek.com/amazon-drivers-warehouse-conditions-workers-com... reported by The Guardian and Newsweek respectively.
One of the core components of customer-centricity is employee engagement or experience. Happy employees lead to happy customers. Makes perfect sense. What would you say about Amazon’s employee experience?
Don’t you think that Amazon is NOT customer-centric, not to say the earth’s most customer-centric company anymore? Emulating Amazon for its customer-centricity would not be a wise choice, I think.
Your worries are justified.
As stated at Note #5 in this article, most pain points are bad or unnecessary and have to be reduced or eliminated.
There are five types of pain:
1) Inspirational pain: by solving it, you can create innovative solution, product or business model.
2) Unnecessary pain: there is little or no value generated for customers; customers suffer for nothing.
3) Good pain: By allowing it, your branded pleasure can be further enhanced.
4) Bad pain: when the good pain falls to a level deemed unacceptable by your target customers, it becomes a bad pain.
5) De-branded pain: the attribute (pain) is supposed to be the pleasure peak because it reflects your brand promise.
To conclude, only the good pain should be allowed. For the remains, you should either solve, minimise, or eliminate, and spend different level of resource addressing them.
I agree with you that we’ve to strike the right balance customer and brand. Neither customer-centric nor brand-centric is the ideal way for improving the customer or user experience.
For instance, the incompatibility of Apple products with other systems is a major concern / pain point of customers, but it doesn’t relate to and may even adversely affect one of Apple’s brand promises – delivering a seamless experience through one system deploying both its hardware and software.
In my view, you don’t have to seriously address any customer feedback / complaint unless it has fallen into the unacceptable level of your target customer or is related to your brand promise.
One of the beauties of extreme experience is: It attracts and retains the target customers of a brand and drives the non-target customers away without receiving further complaints from them.
In my opinion, what you and your wife had experienced with Ryanair isn’t an “occasional pain of a service failure”; Ryanair persistently renders poor services.
Obviously, your perceived ‘value’ (i.e. cheap airfares) can’t compensate the ‘suffering’ (i.e. all the lean and mean practices). There’s no ‘value exchange’ between Iain couple and Ryanair.
In other words, Mr. and Mrs. Lovatt aren’t the target customers of Ryanair.
Well said, Maz! I couldn't agree more. Thanks for your valuable insights.
Yes! For instance, if your product cannot satisfy certain needs or wants of your customers, no one will buy from you and you’ll go bankrupt. In a broad sense, all surviving companies have “at least a threshold level of customer centricity in the first place”.
Customers perceive a brand through every experience that they have at every touch-point and channel from the beginning until the end of their customer lifecycle. A brand, literally, is represented by the total customer experience.
In other words, managing branding = managing customer experience (CX).
In reality, managing a brand usually falls under marketing. When CX is managed by CMO,” your CX efforts and investment will focus heavily on marketing-related activities.
But, in truth, it could be the other touch-point experiences that affect how customers perceive your brand and influence customer loyalty. When you are blind to this notion, you cannot see the full picture.
The price of not seeing the full picture is incorrect investments and biased measurements. This causes the disconnect between your CX efforts and target business results.
To maximize the effectiveness of customer experience, the CX function has to gain its independence. It is a good thing to have a Chief Experience Officer (CXO), detached from marketing and CS, reporting directly to CEO, with 100% independency and full responsibility, and zero attachment to any function or department, neutrally assessing and managing the effectiveness of both your total customer experience and branding efforts.
Customer experience and branding should be managed by CXO, not CMO.
For more details, see “Branding Should be Managed by CXO, NOT CMO” (https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/branding-should-managed-cxo-cmo-sampson-lee/)
I agree with you that “CX is dying”, but for a different reason.
When CX initiatives don’t deliver, CEOs reduce their support. It’s a vicious circle. Since CX practitioners should fully recognize that “connecting CX with business results” is the key to gaining buy-in from CEOs, why has ‘the disconnect’ prevailed for years even to this day?
CXPA’s co-founder Jeanne Bliss said, “CX is a company’s delivery of its brand promise.” I couldn’t agree more as it makes perfect sense. When a brand delivers its promise, it drives business results – first-time purchase, repeat purchase and referral.
Obviously, there are strong ties between brand promises and business drivers. For instance, the No.1 repeat purchase drivers of IKEA and Louis Vuitton are ‘product pricing’ and ‘exclusive feel for wearing/owning LV products’ respectively.
Notwithstanding that both brand promises and business drivers include ‘pricing’ and ‘product’, not just ‘service’, numerous CX professionals are overwhelmingly focusing on “Serve Customers Better” irrespective of what the brand promises are and what drive business results.
Forrester’s research director Harley Manning remarked, “CX transformations are massive, take years, and cost millions.” Even with ‘service’ as the brand promise, most ordinary brands are not equipped for a CX transformation – the full-scale “Serve Customers Better” approach.
When the majority of industry players continue to put forward the full-scale “Serve Customers Better” approach to all companies with different kinds of CX challenges, it’s no wonder that the disconnect between CX and business results will continue and most CEOs still won’t buy into CX.
To improve customer experience, my suggestion is to give up Conventional CX and take up Real CX. See https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/stop-practicing-fake-cx-sampson-lee
I am so glad to see this Forrester post.
More and more people and organization, like Forrester, are beginning to realize that the widely held belief in the CX world “Customer pain points are bad and have to be eliminated” is fallacious and no longer valid. (Caution: Not every customer pain point is good. Only the Good Pain should be allowed)
In my opinion, there are five types of pain points:
1) Inspirational Pain: By solving it, you can create innovative solution, product or business model.
2) Unnecessary Pain: There is little or no value generated for customers; customers suffer for nothing.
3) Good Pain: By allowing it, your Branded Pleasure can be further enhanced.
4) Bad Pain: When the Good Pain falls to a level deemed unacceptable by your target customers, it becomes a Bad Pain.
5) De-Branded Pain: The attribute (pain point) is supposed to be the pleasure peak because it reflects your brand promise.
To conclude, only the Good Pain should be allowed. For the remains, you should either solve, minimize, or eliminate, and spend different level of resource addressing them.
For more details, please see "Why “Customer pain points are bad and have to be eliminated” is Fallacious" https://bit.ly/2rzbH54