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Stop defining CX (just) as an outcome

You cannot walk two roads at the same time. Any change requires to actively start taking steps into the new direction … and to actively stop walking into the old. The transformation to CX is no exception. The CX Inspiration Hub “Stop it!”-miniseries picks up some pieces we might want to potentially consider stop doing. And do not hesitate to drop a note at the end of an article in case you disagree, please. I am curious about getting your opinion.

I am honest. Sometimes I am seriously bothered. Bothered by the capriciousness, I see the “CX” label been used from time to time.

I am not talking about academic or dogmatic dictionary definitions or an ambition to waste everybody’s time with doing wordsmithing in endless internal meetings. I am talking about simply being clear and using the full power of an agreed and common language.

So – for the sake of clarity and ensuring success – let’s invest just 1-2 minutes in looking at how we might want to use the “CX” wording better for the sake of providing effective guidance to our internal colleagues, allowing them to understand the promise and the methodology.

What CX is not

  • CX is not Customer Service on steroids.
  • CX is not about buying the latest technology or offering another channel.
  • CX is not a way to influence customer behaviors for achieving internally defined business objectives.
  • CX is not (just) an outcome of operating on the basis of what we would like to do.

Now, I hear you say, “well, but shouldn’t a great customer experience be the outcome which we actually aim at”. Certainly, yes! What I am talking about is defining CX just as an outcome. While generously ignoring that CX is much more, a strategic & operational framework to smartly achieve this outcome. Or in other words, that great CX as an outcome might be an illusion without having in place a specific(!) CX vision, a serious VoC program, consolidated data streams that allow continuous listening and signal detection, a CX culture across the whole organization, etc. etc. … and – last not least – a dedicated CX strategy that is pulling it together.

OK, but then what is CX?

CX is most of all about the customers’ opinion. And how to seriously consider and integrate it deeply into the business. CX is a way of working.

And I mean, all ways of working … everywhere (where it makes sense). CX is about changing our ways of doing things and our behaviors. Does this include aiming for better customer experiences as an outcome of all we do? … Yes, sure!

But it also goes far beyond. Ii also includes deciding what to do based on customers’ insights and a more complete understanding of their needs and desires. It also includes specifically identifying opportunities where business’ fair needs and customer needs overlap (“sweet spots”), and prioritizing on those gives maximum impact & benefits. It also includes having the customer co-designing solutions, services and content together with us. It includes measuring and judging success & impact based on customers’ feedback and opinion. And it includes feedback loops allowing us steadily getting better and better.

customers' opinion rules
Customers’ opinion driven business, ©2022 Christian Velten

Or as Steve Jobs said in 1997 <sic!>”you’ve got to start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology”. (where in Jobs case, ‘technology’ = the business)

Or as Daniel Ord would say <sic!>”CX is about understanding customers’ perception of your organization and then proactively doing something about it”.

Or as Forrester would say <sic!>”CX is how your customers perceive their interactions with your company”.

Or as Bruce Temkin from Qualtrics once said <sic!>”customers experience is the perception that customers have on all their interactions with an organization”.

Or as I would say, if you do not fully operate on the basis of the customers’ opinion, you might simply not do CX.

Related article: “Stop defining CX (just) as insights“, September 29 2022

Kudos go to Daniel Ord (OmniTouch International) for an earlier version of the “CX is not”-list this article is build on. The same goes for the industry quotes, which he had shared with my team at an CX management workshop in 2020. My big thank-you goes to Daniel for kindly allowing me to share both at this place.

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