CX Fallacy #9: Develop A 360-Degree View of the Customer

10CXFallacies4I recently discussed how organizations that want to improve their customer experience will need to evolve from superficial changes (fluff) to operational transformation (tough). As part of making this shift from fluff to tough, companies will need to shed some of popular myths and fallacies about CX. These myths may hold true in early stage of maturity, but they fall flat as organizations expand their CX efforts. To help in the process, I’ve assembled the top 10 CX Fallacies.

CX Fallacy #9: Develop A 360-Degree View of the Customer

The idea of tracking how all of your customers interact with your company across every interaction (so called “360-degree view”) sounds great. But this level of customer tracking is not typically practical (or achievable), nor would it be the best use of resources even if it were possible.

The flaw of this thinking is the belief that every customer and interaction is equally important. Why else would we expend our energy to fully track all of them?! This mindset causes companies to overly focus on data collection and analytics projects at the expense of other higher-priority activities such as taking action on insights.

Here are some recommendations for shedding this fallacy:

  • Prioritize areas of change. If your organization has some areas where it is geared to make improvements (such as new products or a customer journey that is know to be broken), then put the resources into more fully understanding these areas. Think about identifying a new group of these areas every quarter or twice per year.
  • Separate detecting from diagnosing. Rather than trying to setup tracking systems that can answer every possible question about customers, think about separating detecting (to identify areas of opportunities or concerns) from diagnosing (to dig deeper into areas where you plan to make improvements). Build up the capacity to adjust your customer insight efforts to focus on areas where you plan to take action. Consider dedicating some portion of your survey real-estate to theses issues and adjust questions to fuel ongoing diagnostic efforts.
  • Measure customer journeys, not interactions. Piecing together feedback on every interaction does not provide a full understanding of customers. Instead, develop a measurement system that holistically tracks important customer journeys.
  • Focus on key customers and key moments. Rather than trying to understand every interaction, focus your energy on more fully understanding the most important customers and the interactions that are most likely to shape their feelings about your organization.
  • Tap into employee insights. Employees that regularly interact with customers (sales, customer service, field service, tech support, etc.) have a good view of some customers. So why not learn from them, especially in detecting opportunities and problems. Create a mechanism that encourages those people to share what they’re seeing. The key: Make it easy for employees to provide the feedback and let them see how you’re using the insights.

The bottom line: Focus on customer-insightful decisions, not 360-degree views.

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.

2 Responses to CX Fallacy #9: Develop A 360-Degree View of the Customer

  1. +1 on the journeys. The other thing to realize is that every customer walks their own road. Every journey is different to a degree. Either 360 degrees isn’t enough to account for all the steps or a pie chart has more and more slices. Realizing where there’s breakage, opportunity, and things which are entirely out of your hands is the important part.

  2. Dana Averbouch says:

    We agree, organizations do need to focus on customer-insightful decisions, but there is certainly room for argument that a company will benefit from having a broader perspective on the customer journey. Many companies will struggle to provide quality customer service if they can’t tell what to focus on – and the full view of the customer journey helps a great deal.

    Therefore, by default, in order to focus on high-priority interactions, and be cognizant of the perspective of those you are supposed to serve, organizations should have a 360 view of interactions. The insights from the sequence of these interactions, will also help a company prioritize the key interactions and actions that must be taken. While some organizations may not have the necessary resources today, this will be an important investment for them down the road. For those who have the means, it should be a priority – as these insights and the actions which they can take as a result of understanding will prove to offer quite a competitive edge.

    In fact, in an era where customers use six channels on average to interact with their service provider (NICE CX Survey, 2013; http://bit.ly/1uRpzSg), and when their decision to switch channels is mostly affected by convenience, there is a growing necessity to know the customer journey in its entirety, and act on key insights that matter most. Ultimately, the organization will save on resources and provide better service.

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