10 Customer Experience Resolutions For 2012

For the past four years (2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011), I’ve published customer experience resolutions and it’s time to do it again. In memory of Steve Jobs, I’m using his quotes to provide a foreword to the 2012 resolutions:

“Passion can be an extremely powerful transformational force”
“Design [and CX] isn’t something you can just layer on to a product, it needs to be integrated throughout the process”

Some of the resolutions are new while others are repeated from last year. They are meant for CX professionals within companies that are making progress on customer experience. With that in mind, here are my 2012 CX resolutions:

  1. We shall actively engage our employees, relentlessly communicating and celebrating customer-centric behavior. Employee engagement remains the lowest scoring CX competency. We need to keep in mind the 4th Law Of Customer ExperienceUnengaged Employees Don’t Create Engaged Customers and embed customer-centricity into how we hire, train, and promote employees.
  2. We shall make more customer-insightful decisions, embedding insights from voice of the customer (VoC) data in the day-to-day activities af many, many more people. It’s not good enough to collect feedback; we need to help our organization incorporate the insights into its ongoing operations. How? Master the 6 Ds of a VoC program: Detect, Disseminate, Diagnose, Discuss, Design, and Deploy. To succeed, we will need our organization to abandon its obsolete beliefs about market research.
  3. We shall stop ignoring new customers, ensuring that they don’t get lost during — and beyond — the on-ramping processes. We can no longer think of the point of sale as the finish line of success. Instead, we need to measure our effectiveness at leading customers to the point of value where they experience that value they are expecting. Remember, new customers want to love you but they are willing to hate you. So we need to consider doing a CX redesign of our on-ramping processes to lock in customer delight.
  4. We shall put CX metrics on the scorecard, helping our leaders understand trade-offs between CX and business metrics. Since only 19% of large companies are good at making trade-offs between financial and CX metrics, we need to raise the visibility of CX metrics so that our executives discuss them in the same light as other business drivers like sales, profits and market share. We don’t expect our company to prioritize CX over all other metrics, but we need to keep our company focussed on the long-term value of good CX.
  5. We shall anticipate customer needs, using text and predictive analytics to spot trends and discover latent desires. Our company has an immense volume of unstructured customer feedback data from sources like comments on surveys, inbound emails, call center conversations, and social media conversations. We need to analyze this unstructured data together with other structured data to predict what customers will want and to discover and respond more quickly to trends that we spot. Our contact centers are a rich environment to work on this resolution.
  6. We shall energize our brand promoters; going beyond just fixing problems of unhappy customers. While we must keep working to eliminate detractors, we also need to find ways to make more customers love us and encourage our promoters to spread the word. Once we identify our promoters, why don’t we target them for word-of-mouth campaigns.
  7. We shall disseminate good experience design, getting our organization to focus on all touch points that affect our customers’ experience. We need to make sure that we understand how customers view their interactions with us, including things like instructions and monthly statements, so we can spot even the little things that make it easy for customers to work with us. We need to invest in making improvements after launching new customer-facing efforts like Websites, retail outlets, and call center scripts; hunting for and eliminating the things that make customers struggle.
  8. We shall join the CXPA.orghelping to propel the customer experience profession. The Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA) is a global non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of customer experience management practices. We need to join in order to learn from and share with other CX professionals and ensure that our profession will thrive.
  9. We shall celebrate our progress in 2011, taking time to recognize all of the great things that we’ve accomplished and acknowledging all of the people who have helped make it happen. We need to continuously look for and applaud successes so that people contributing to our customer experience transformation feel good about their efforts.
  10. We shall take another step in 2012, overcoming whatever hurdles get in the  way of advancing our evolution towards becoming a customer-centric organization. Since the number one obstacle to customer experience success is “other competing priorities,” we need to keep our executive team focused on keeping this multi-year journey a top priority.

The bottom line: Good luck on propelling your organization’s CX journey in 2012!

About Bruce Temkin
I am a customer experience transformist, helping large organizations improve business results by changing how they deal with customers. As part of this focus, I examine strategy, marketing, interaction design, customer service, and leadership practices. I am also a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Simply put, I am passionate about spotting emerging best practices and helping companies master them. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. My “title” is Managing Partner of the Temkin Group, a customer experience research and consulting firm that helps organizations become more customer-centric. Our goal is simple: accelerate the path to delighting customers. I am also the co-founder and chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA.org), a non-profit organization dedicated to the success of CX professionals.

7 Responses to 10 Customer Experience Resolutions For 2012

  1. Great to see employees at the top of the list. I’ve always believed great experiences have to start from the inside out. After all how good can an experience be if the person at the other end of the conversation has a frown?

    Brand promoters as well. Positive word of mouth is the oldest form of advertising, and today’s online technology makes this even easier and more powerful than ever.

    It seems in business everything old is new again.

    • Bruce Temkin says:

      Jason: Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I think there are some basic fundamentals that are true for the ages. So things appears to be “new again” when companies get off track and forget those basics. I’ll be publishing a report within the next two weeks that empirically shows the connection between employee engagement and both customer experience and employee value; it’s based on a study of more than 2,400 U.S. employees.

  2. Bruce, hope you don’t mind if I borrow this list to post in the manager’s office at work. It is a great reminder of what is truly important. Thanks for sharing. Miriam

  3. Claire Flanagan says:

    This is an outstanding post!

  4. Great stuff! I’m not sure how I found this blog, but I’m glad I did! I’ll probably adopt a few of your resolutions for myself! Thanks!

  5. zoejames says:

    These are great – I like the idea of ‘designing’ a customer experience and hunting for all the little ways to reduce customer effort. Also like the 6 Ds of VoC programme – is that a Temkin Group concept?

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