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Why do ‘customer experience’ programmes fail?

Many business leaders look to use CX programmes to strategically improve operations – companies are investing more today than ever before on customer service and customer experience. But why are CX programmes failing, and what can business leaders like yourself do about it? Here are four common pitfalls to avoid as you develop and execute a CX programme:

Lack of ownership

A CX programme needs attention to keep things moving forward. They require strategy and leadership from the top. There must be a programme owner – whether that is a team or an individual who are ultimately responsible for the success and quality of the programme. This team does not need to be an expert in all areas of the business, but the more time they spend with colleagues to understand their roles and needs, the more effective the programme will be.

Because a robust CX programme involves product, development, marketing, sales and customer success, one individual or core team needs to take ownership for driving multiple teams in the same direction. Without clear ownership, mission creep will derail even the most detailed CX programme.

Empower your leaders and give them the authority to be successful. Provide them with the resources necessary to create value.

Ineffective Strategy

Often, CX programmes have been poorly conceived and are simply not designed to inspire change or innovation. The programme needs a clear focus which holds change at the centre, as well as benefits to both the customers and business.

Effective CX programmes prioritise the importance of what gets measured against your desired business outcomes, known as key driver analysis. Key driver analysis helps you identify where the most effective change should take place within your organisation.

Departments need to work together – any time a customer has to enter the same piece of information twice, it is a sign that teams and systems need to be sharing relevant customer information with each other.

Losing direction

Many CX programmes start off strategic, with clear business objectives and a linear plan in place. However, over time, big strategic goals often dissolve as employees focus on the here and now. CX programmes can often be pushed down the priority list by more seemingly urgent tasks that promise quick results.

How do you stop your CX programme from going off track? Communication and a clear roadmap is key. Have frequent catch-ups with the core team, as well as with key stakeholders, to keep engagement levels high and to make sure you’re on track to reach your milestones.

A change in team structure or employees could also cause your CX programme to go off course if a full handover plan is not put into place.  Ensure that there is always a core person or team taking responsibility for the programme’s progression, at both agency and client side. Give the CX programme the resource it requires to keep moving.

Failure to change and innovate

Customer experience excellence in the marketplace is a constantly shifting target. What works today for customers is unlikely to remain relevant forever.

A forward-thinking approach is essential to keep your CX programme moving, and in turn your organisation. Organisations must be more vigilant than ever in remaining innovative and future-proofing their businesses. Create an innovative culture within your business – managers need to make sure that innovation is a job requirement for their employees.

The key is to remember that CX programmes are not only about watching scores go up and down. The ultimate goal is to create experiences that add value to the customer and the business simultaneously, and this requires constant change.

Mark Squires

Mark Squires

Mark Squires is CEO of Watermelon, a CX consultancy and ‘Voice of the Customer” research firm based in Sydney, London and New York. Mark is passionate about enhancing the customer experience and helping organisations to understand their customers better. That’s why he founded Watermelon Research in 2012. Watermelon builds smart, simple and customised solutions to understand customer experience in the moment. A team of CX experts, Watermelon works with clients to measure what matters to customers and drive real business change.

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