Hearts then Charts

Followers of my blog will know that I am keen to share others perspectives on the subject of Customer Experience when the opportunity arises. I am delighted to be able to do just that in this post. Only recently I wrote about the differences between Customer Service, Customer Experience and Customer Centricity – in the post I make the following statement:

“Becoming a truly Customer Centric organisation is what will ultimately enable businesses to consistently deliver Customer Experiences that meet and sometimes exceed the expectation of Customers.”

The big question is HOW do you achieve it – how do you transform an organisation to become Customer Centric? I am able to share with you one very well informed perspective in answer to this question.  Almighty is a digital advertising agency that specializes in customer engagement campaigns for brands such as New Balance, L.L. Bean and OxFam. Almighty Chief Strategy Officer Ian Fitzpatrick recently wrote and published the white paper, “Hearts, Then Charts,” which offers a practical framework for aligning organizations with their customers to create a customer-centric culture. The paper foundation is based on interviews with 500+ stakeholders from a range of enterprise organizations. The following is a summary of what Ian wanted to achieve:

Ian Fitzpatrick, Chief Strategy Officer, Almighty

Ian Fitzpatrick, Chief Strategy Officer, Almighty

In the Spring of 2015, our strategy team undertook a study to understand the complex relationship between modern organizations and customer experience. Our research took us into the design, marketing, sales teams of 30 enterprise organizations. We surveyed more than 500 stakeholders at another 188 companies. What we found was an enormously fractured definition of ‘customer experience’. ‘Hearts, then Charts’ is the story of what we discovered, and a framework for a way forward.

Our research uncovered four key themes:

First, that there remains significant misalignment within many organizations about who their customers are. Most of the companies we audited use some form of persona or archetype. Yet, only 2 of the 30 use consistent descriptions of their customers across product, marketing, and sales teams. We’re designing for one customer, marketing to another, and selling to yet another.

Second, in many organizations there is little consensus about the phases of the customer experience. Of the 30 organizations audited, only six have mapped their end-customer experience. Of those six, only three are actively used. The rest are sitting quietly on servers and rolled up in cubicle tubes.

Third, the quality of the experience delivered by many organizations is measured inconsistenly. 50% of C-suite respondents said their organization has no consistent measure of customer experience. One in five said that social media sentiment was their only measure.

Finally, there is little to no consensus around internal accountability for the customer experience. In 44 of the 188 organizations we surveyed, three or more people identified someone accountable for the quality of the customer experience. In only one of the 44 cases did everyone name the same individual.

At the center of the paper is the idea that we need to refocus our energies on outcomes. We put forward a framework for better internal communication, peer-developed identification of customers and customer needs. It’s a path to getting the basics right, and seeding a shared understanding of the customer across the enterprise.

In my opinion, this excellent White Paper is a must read for anyone with an interest in Customer Experience. You can view and download the full White Paper here. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did.


Almighty is a featured agency in the Forrester Report “Vendor Landscape: Picking The Right Consultant To Support Your Culture Transformation.” The report highlights agencies/consultants to consider as a resource when building a customer-centric culture.