Member Since: 3rd Dec 2009
President Global CEM
16th Feb 2020
I think even if the business is profitable but if they aren’t service-focused, they shouldn’t spend more than minimal on enhancing customer interactions. Instead, they should invest most resources in fulfilling their brand promise.
If you improve those things that aren’t linked to your brand promise, it’s destructive because it’d dilute your limited resources, make you look more like your rivals and easier be beaten and replaced.
15th Feb 2020
I have great sympathy for your granddaughter. No one should treat anyone – not only the customer – like what the staff of your local gas station did. And don’t get it wrong: Focusing on value – e.g. pricing or product – other than customer interactions doesn’t mean a company can be rude towards customers.
Today, customers’ expectations are ever-rising. No company can escape the need to continuously improve their services. It’s the mission of Ritz Carlton to deliver the highest level of service. Yet, IKEA might only need to enhance their pain points just above the unacceptable levels of their target customers. The degree of service improvement is dictated by brand promises.
15th Feb 2020
Would you summarize briefly how your approach can address the issue in case the audience of this post haven’t read your book?
11th Jan 2020
But it shouldn’t be that hard.
In my biased view, the belief “it always take a CX transformation to become customer-centric” is fallacious. Because customer-centricity is obsessed with customer success, for all companies and drives repeat customers.
1) It’s Obsessed with Customer Success
Joseph Michelli, chief experience officer of The Michelli Experience, “Customer-centricity is a commitment or a strategy to assure the success of your customer.”
Michelli’s definition may not be the perfect or ultimate one, but it’s much closer to its original intention – creating values for customers/helping customers achieve their desirable goals – than the most common definition “putting the customer at the center of everything you do”.
Though none of the CX experts would admit, most of them interpret customer obsession as “obsessed with customer interactions”. It’s just plain wrong.
2) It’s For All Companies
It’s a strong belief that companies have to take a CX transformation in order to be customer-centric.
This “Serve Customers Better” approach generally includes (the terminologies might differ, but their meanings are similar): culture transformation, emotional engagement, employee engagement, and service improvements.
Customers have different needs/wants – e.g. inexpensive prices, prestige feeling, great products – not only being well-served. It makes NO sense to take a CX transformation – to bear its huge manpower, time and financial costs – if your companies aren’t service-focused.
Every company, no matter big or small, whatever your focus (pricing, product or service), can be customer-centric as far as they help customers achieve their desirable goals. It’s not merely for a minority of companies.
3) It Drives Repeat Customers
CX pros have long been criticized for failing to achieve business results. But they are innocent.
CX pros believe that what they are doing is driving business results. Industry experts and authorities keep on telling them “improving customer experience will improve business results”.
It’s untrue. Because when customer experience is always referred as customer interactions, improving customer interactions may create “happy customers”, but not necessarily repeat customers.
On the contrary, when you help your customers obtain their objectives, it drives acquisition (first-time purchase) and retention (repeat purchase).
Personally, I truly appreciate the original noble idea of customer-centricity (obsessed with customer value) and admire the passion of customer-centric enthusiasts, and I strongly believe “obsessed with customer success” is a better option than “obsessed with customer interactions” in driving CX success and transforming more companies to be customer-centric.
9th Jan 2020
Beyond Amazon, Apple, Southwest Airlines, Starbucks, Virgin Atlantic and Zappos are the most frequently quoted legendary brands in customer-centricity, and they have one thing in common: either their founders are customer-obsessed or they have built a customer-centered culture since they were startups.
Despite the discipline of customer-centricity being extensively promoted and practiced for decades, how many companies – who weren’t born with a ‘customer-obsessed’ gene – have successfully changed their DNA and developed into well-recognized customer-driven brands? You probably won’t be able to quote more than a few names.
Really, it shouldn’t take much to realize that transforming the mindsets and behaviors of people and entire value chain of a well-established organization to be customer-centric is unbelievably hard! :-)
9th Jan 2020
So, in order for a company to be customer-led – or being customer-centric – a CX transformation is needed.
Harley Manning, VP of Forrester Research, stated in his post “Why customer experience is coming under fire” (https://go.forrester.com/blogs/predictions-2019-customer-experience-come...), “CX transformations are massive, take years, and cost millions.”
Obviously, many companies can’t afford to take a CX transformation. Is customer-centricity merely for a minority of companies?
9th Jan 2020
Business drivers can be product features, product quality, pricing, advertising and promotions, etc.; they aren’t necessarily related to customer interactions.
For example, when your suggested combined customer-focused team discovered what drive business results is pricing or product, not service, then after they have presented the resultant report to management and let marketing to follow, most of the people in CX department would become redundant.
Can CX pros’ career be rescued when the business drivers are NOT about customer interactions?
9th Jan 2020
I agree with you that many CEOs are focused on short-term business result.
According to Forrester’s prediction (https://go.forrester.com/blogs/predictions-2020-customer-experience/), one in four CX pros will be fired in 2020 because they aren’t demonstrating business impact. The CEO is killing the CX pro.
What’s your advice to CX pros for saving their jobs?
1st Apr 2019
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...)
1st Apr 2019
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.