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Stop defining CX (just) as insights

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 had mentioned this before. Sometimes I am really bothered by the capriciousness if not shallowness, I see the “CX” label been used from time to time.

I am not talking about academic dictionary definitions or dogmatic wordsmithing. 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 – and similar to what I had done for the “CX = an outcome” myth – I feel free to again 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.

Why CX is not just insights …

Did you also experience that so far? You are asking colleagues about what they know about the customer … and they point to an insights report buried in a document repository.

I hope you realize the multiplicity of things going wrong. To make a long story short, I generously ignore the failures and jump directly to the role of insights in CX …

  • customer insights are the vital fuel of CX-driven business, full-stop … there is no CX without knowing what customers expect and need
  • customer insights which can be anecdotal feedback or data-stream-driven (actually you should have both, but this is another topic)
  • customer insights that are based on active and open listening … and not on pitching for the answers you would love to hear
  • customer insights that are translated into business actions as well as decisions on what to prioritize and do

And this last point is actually guiding into the direction I am heading for. It is an important starting step, allowing customer insights to tell you what to do. But … it is just the starting point. Don’t already stop using your CX toolbox there, you might kick off the right things, but continue to drive it the wrong way. Finally resulting in suboptimal outcomes.

Not talking about the popular temptation to do cherry-picking with insights, with an (unconscious) bias for those that perfectly fit to what you would like to do.

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 deciding what to do based on insights and a more complete understanding of customer needs and desires? … Yes, sure!

But it also goes far beyond. 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. It includes feedback loops allowing us steadily getting better and better. And it includes aiming for better customer experiences as an outcome of all we do.

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 an outcome“, April 7 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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