Practicality the best approach for improving customer experience

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Speak to any CEO about what areas of the business they are prioritising and customer experience (CX) is usually a top choice.

While the power of the customer has indeed grown over the past decade, the widening gap between organisations that are top performers in this metric compared to those that are not may not be lessened by the approaches you may be thinking of.

Contrary to popular belief

In fact, Gartner recently highlighted three customer experience myths at its annual Symposium/ITxpo in Cape Town earlier this week, all of which seem to contradict many of the long-held beliefs that those in the industry have about improving CX.

Before delving into the myths Ed Thompson, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, explained what those companies at the top of the CX pile are doing right.

“Organisations with superior customer experiences tend to appoint a leader, their executives are committed to the initiative and have a small dedicated team with 12 direct reports on average. They also involve a broad range of departments from marketing and sales, to supply chain, IT, R&D and HR,” says Thompson.

Adding that, “We also know that leaders in such positions are patient, build trust and honour privacy with their customers. They don’t invest and hope.”

Myth busting

As for the areas where organisations should be cautious when looking to improve their customer experience, Thompson points to three specific instances.

The first is trying to “delight” the customer, particularly when it comes to investing more money in trying to exceeding expectations when they’re already at a satisfactory level. The ROI on such efforts very rarely lead to significant increases in customer loyalty and advocacy, finds Gartner’s research.

“Many organisations are inconsistent in the delivery of their customer experience strategy. While they are aiming to delight in one part of the organisation, they still require effort from the customer in another part. We recommend that organisations don’t delight, but rather focus on being effortless,” adds Thompson.

The next curious area is innovation, or rather a case for imitation as a better strategy according to Gartner. This stems from an overriding desire for organisations striving to differentiate themselves, rather than evaluating what is working in the industry and imitating it.

“Too many companies are overlooking the benefits of imitation. You don’t need to come up with everything yourself. We recommend organisations don’t only focus on innovation, but rather consider the benefits of imitation,” notes the analyst.

Last is data and more specifically the way in which it is correlated, with organisations sifting through vast data lakes in order to find some sort of insight into how they can create competitive edges.

Instead of focusing one’s efforts a bit too much on unearthing correlations in seemingly disparate data, Gartner says organisations would be better served by looking at what job the customer is looking to get done.

“Organisations are better served by understanding what customers are trying to achieve rather than monitoring demographics or psychographic information,” Thompson points out. 

Keep it simple

When it comes to customer experience then, the radical approaches that are often touted for other aspects of the business are viewed as being less effective in this field.

This is the result of how quickly ROI is measured in terms of customer experience, with it far harder to justify the funds than in other parts of the business, explains Thompson.

As such to reap greater benefits, as well as measure effectiveness over a shorter period of time, it’s best to keep things a bit more practical and simpler in the field of customer experience.


[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]

Robin-Leigh Chetty

Robin-Leigh Chetty

When he's not reviewing the latest smartphones, Robin-Leigh is writing about everything tech-related from IoT and smart cities, to 5G and cloud computing. He's also a keen photographer and dabbles in console games.