I can vividly remember listening to radio shows for children when I was young and one of the songs that has stuck in my memory was by Danny Kaye called “The King’s New Clothes,” based on the story by Hans Christian Andersen. The story tells of a king (or Emperor) who was convinced by “swindlers” that an “invisible” suit of clothes was the most fabulous that had ever been created, and that only fools couldn’t see it. So rather than wanting to seem foolish he went along with their story, as did the queen, the courtiers and anyone who didn’t want to offend the king. That was until, in the big parade, a little boy calls out the folly of the king’s new clothes. Then of course everyone then confessed they could not see them, but by then it was too late, the swindlers were far, far away.
Sadly, many organizations seem to have “Kings New Clothes” moments all too frequently. The latest fad comes along, often with initial good intentions but all too soon businesses are sucked into this new strategy or that big project, consuming large amounts of resources and often not delivering the espoused benefits.
Customer Experience (CX) is big on the agenda for most organizations as the next great answer to increasing loyalty, sales and the likelihood to recommend. However, there is a danger that in the euphoria of CX that some will be sold on approaches that in truth are no more useful at improving it than the King’s New Clothes were at covering his… “Modesty”.
Here are three approaches that appear admirable on their own but that can lead to a lot of time and costs being wasted and perhaps deliver “invisible” results:
- Gathering insights – There has been an explosion of interest in VOC (Voice of Customer) over the past few years. Many new businesses have been built up around assisting organizations to get more customer insights to help them collect scores and measure in great detail the customer’s feelings about their experiences. As a customer, however, I am getting tired of being constantly questioned at every interaction point about my “experiences” and yet not see any real improvement in the experience that I receive. It’s great to focus on VOC, but don’t let too much analysis lead to CX paralysis!
- Storing Too Much Information – I agree that to deliver CX requires the gathering of lots of information about the customer and their experiences (VOC, big data, CRM), but for some there seems to be a huge focus on storing more and more information. Organizations can get too focused on building “bigger barns” to store the data and not enough time on how to make it actionable so that the customer experience can actually be improved.
- Siloed Applications – Gathering, analyzing and storing all of this data is made more complex by the disorganized approach taken when interacting with the customer. Siloed solutions for each interaction channel means that all of this data has to be gathered from disparate systems with difference data structures, etc. This also complicates the application of the “learning” that has been achieved through the VOC and Big Data programs leading to a disjointed customer experience. Best-of-breed and point solution strategies for managing the customer interactions ultimately cannot deliver great CX effectively and efficiently.
For all of the focus on CX, ultimately it is the customer who recognizes whether an organization has improved or whether they have spotted the “King’s New Clothes,” and they vote on this with their feet. The Accenture 2013 Global Consumer Pulse research found that 66% of consumers switched companies in the past year in at least one industry and that the dynamic of these consumers switching companies puts a potential of up to $5.9 trillion of revenues at play on an annual basis, with $1.4 trillion in North America alone.
The companies that will win are not those who survey the most, it’s not those who gather and analyze the most data, it’s not even those who have the best systems in any particular channel. The winners will be those who can best manage the Moments of Truth, those that can take the insights gathered and apply them consistently across every touchpoint and channel throughout the customer lifecycle or journey and to do that requires a single platform to manage each interaction at the point of contact. The rest will be out in the cold with out a stitch on.
Check out Customer Journey to learn more!
Thanks for reading!