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Why take the customer out of CX?

 Reflections - Customer

Here's an interesting question for you: what does Customer Experience bring to a business if you remove the customer?

Tricky, isn't it?

When asked this question at recent meetings of the QoE, customer experience professionals generated a list of nouns that was overwhelmingly positive

  • A focus on 'people', not 'customers'
  • Motivation
  • Alignment
  • Creativity
  • Cohesion
  • 'Us' not 'them'
  • Improving processes and systems
  • Clarifying core purpose
  • Reducing wasted effort

But if Customer Experience activity brings such benefits, why is it that CX teams often struggle to justify their argument for budgets and resources?

Part of the problem is that it is often difficult to identify who 'owns' CX in an organisation. The work of CX teams is often funded from the budgets of other departments, and is therefore perceived as a cost to the business that needs to be minimised. But if CX work brings such benefits to an organisation, it should be possible to argue that CX teams are an asset and therefore worthy of investment.

Language and terminology often present a barrier to securing budgets. Asking a board to invest in 'improving the company culture' is unlikely to lead to an allocation of resources, but ask them to invest in 'improving today's sales' and 'tracking customer churn' will often cause them to loosen the purse strings.

For example, many businesses perceive their call centres to be a cost. The cost of setting up and running a call centre appears on a balance sheet as a drain on company resources. But if a call centre and the people who work in it are viewed as an asset, capable of driving sales and revenue growth through increased customer loyalty, the board are more likely to allocate budgets and resources to maintaining and improving it. Use a control group to demonstrate that the customer-focused activity of the call centre has reduced churn by 25% and increased revenue by £10 million, and suddenly the benefits of investing in CX are evident.

It doesn't help that CX teams are often seen as occupying a 'recovery' position, whose job it is to recover customers who have had a poor experience. But aligning CX more clearly with today's sales changes how it is perceived by the organisation. Using a CX perspective to make a business more customer-centric will drive new sales, increase recommendations, and improve efficiencies. And you're likely to get a more engaged and motivated workforce to boot.

Removing the focus on the customer makes it easier to identify the benefits that CX brings to an organisation. But changing the perception of CX activity from being a 'cost' to an 'asset' and aligning it more closely with today's sales and loyalty can make it easier for CX teams to argue for budgets and resources.

By Carl Lyon at 2 Dec 2015, 15:32 PM


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