As anyone with young children will attest, the well-known TV character ‘Bob the Builder’ is best known for coining the phrase ‘can we fix it?’, followed by the cry of ‘yes we can!!’. True to these words, Bob and his trusty sidekicks, Scoop, Roley and Dizzy (among others), do indeed fix things. So what (I hear you think to yourselves) has a child’s cartoon got to do with the subject of Customer Experience? Allow me to explain…
Despite the emergence of Customer Experience as a core strategic priority for organisations across multiple industries in recent years, customers all around the world are yet to see a seismic shift in their daily experiences. The more companies seem to talk about Customer Experience and Customer Centricity, the more random our experiences as customers become. The more businesses who shout about the heady heights of their NPS scores, the harder it becomes to think of experiences that we can remember as customers for the right reasons.
Over the last few months, I have been describing the Customer Experience ‘discipline’ or ‘profession’ as one akin to the creation and piecing together of a jigsaw puzzle. Whilst many companies have successfully created fundamental pieces of the puzzle, they are finding it more and more difficult to figure out how to connect the pieces together – hence never actually realising the vision that the completed puzzle would create.
One critical piece of the jigsaw puzzle that is missing as much as any other is the connection to our friend ‘Bob the Builder’. In my experience, the inability of organisations to actually FIX the issues that are having the greatest detrimental effect on the customer journey is one (if not the) greatest reason why Customer Experiences rarely seem to change. In the context of Customer Experience – for most, the phrase ‘can we fix it?’, needs to be followed by ‘no we can’t!!’.
As a closet process improvement professional (I am a Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt among other things!), the link between actually improving business processes and the customer journey has always been obvious and logical. Aligned to the simple principle of ’cause and effect’, I have always strived to help the organisations I worked for and now work with, to help understand that if we improve what we do (the business processes that drive the things our customers interact with), then our customers should be happier as a result (in terms of their perception of the things they interact with).
It is not rocket science – but then not a great deal of the theory behind Customer Experience actually is. However, despite sounding and being so obvious, it is remarkable how few organisations are actually ‘fixing’ the major problems that exist in their customer journeys. The thing is (at risk of sounding unbelievably obvious), until or unless you actually change, amend, replace, re-design or improve a touch point in your customer journey, nothing is actually going to change for your customer! In fact, the longer you take to change anything in the customer journey, the more likely it is that customer perception of it will actually decline.
As a self-confessed process geek, the simple fact that companies are failing to fix the major issues in their customer journeys is one of the most frustrating and annoying things about the way organisations work today. There are a number of reasons why this is the case – the three most significant (in my opinion) are as follows:
- Lack of specialist process improvement or customer experience design resources – improving or re-designing processes are skill sets in their own rights. Many business people just do not have the capability to do it. Bringing in specialist resources to drive tangible change is essential if you want to see demonstrable change in customer perception and commercial performance
- Failure to use these specialist resources to fix the customer journey – there are still far too many organisations using the specialist resources they do have for the wrong reasons. This continues to be the case with businesses that possess Lean capability, using experienced professionals to specifically eliminate cost (and as a result to the detriment of the customer experience), rather than to fix the customer journey (which would not only be to the benefit of the customer, but would also eliminate cost at the same time)
- Procrastination – perhaps the biggest frustration of all are those companies that know full well what the major problems are – yet that continually delay and defer change in the desire to gather more facts or data; or because they just cannot commit to making change happen
On a weekly basis I am interacting with more and more business professionals who are struggling to understand why their organisations are finding it so hard to see a demonstrable change in Customer Experience. Despite the ever-growing body of publicly available research that proves the link between improving Customer Experience and commercial performance, the majority of businesses cannot seem to make the aspiration a reality. Yet although there are a number of reasons why this is the case, the most obvious one is the glaring boil, carbuncle and wart, staring them in them in the face!
Fixing the customer journey is HOW you can change the perception a customer has as a result of their interactions with your company. Until you change the journey, you will not be able to have any control over changing customer perception. If you have resources that know how to drive change and fix things – then you MUST use them to do it!! It really is/should not be complicated!
So, having read this, ask yourself the question in respect of your Customer Experience:
‘Can we fix it?’……….