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January 15 2021 | Judy DeLaRosa

Today, when people talk about the customer experience, there is an idea, or a myth, if you will, that customer experience is a discipline unto itself. Consider this scenario: Let's say you've appointed a head of customer experience, and it’s likely they are part of your senior management team. You have a customer experience practice. This might be a small team of a few people, or it might be a larger division or department within your organization. And you've implemented customer experience driven practices and procedures. You're doing research. You're creating and using personas and journey maps. Maybe you're even doing a service blueprint. And, of course, you have metrics and measurements. And from that, you get analytics and intelligence. You know what your customers need. You know how they feel; you know what they're saying. And you are acting based on what you learn. It's impacting your priorities, your decisions, and your investments. So, you've established the discipline, and you're doing everything right to become a customer experience driven organization.

CX MythbusterThe question is, are you really? And therein lies the myth. Don't get me wrong. Everything I just said is essential to your organization. But if your customer experience discipline is siloed, if it is simply aligned but not embedded and woven throughout your organization into everything you do, and if it is not a key driver for almost everything you do, the notion that you're truly a customer experience driven organization is more myth than reality.

Creating the reality of being a customer experience driven organization requires education, understanding, and implementation of the discipline throughout your entire organization. It calls for the knowledge of how customer experience differentiates from customer service and the need to share, apply, and nurture practices and assets, not simply develop and document them. This is not about creating personas and journey maps and then putting them on a shelf or implementing them within a siloed discipline. CX assets and practices need to be top of mind and referenced frequently by everyone – in thoughts, conversations, planning, practices, and absolutely when making decisions. And, just as your customers’ journeys continually evolve, so must your CX practices and assets. 

I cannot stress enough, that the associated knowledge or practice of customer experience impacts almost everyone in your organization and just about everything in your organization in the same way that everyone and everything in your organization impacts your customers, whether you realize it or not. Customer experience should become an inextricable part of your culture. This is not accomplished top down, and it's not accomplished bottom up. It needs to be woven throughout all of your strategies, plans, projects, workflows, conversations, decisions, and how you apply technology.

To achieve this organic Customer Experience culture, all of these components need to be designed and orchestrated to enable the desired customer experience. It is not just going to happen. Done right, this transformation is a journey much like innovation or digital transformation, and it's one that gets to the real heart of your organization and affects every aspect of what you do and why you do it. It's a big journey. But like all big journeys, it begins with small steps and is about gaining momentum. Over time, customer experience will no longer be a thing you do, but rather will become a natural part of how you think, how you behave, and what drives your conversations, priorities, investments, and decisions. To move from the myth to the reality and become a customer experience driven organization, it is key to educate and involve everybody. Do not align, but rather embed. And go beyond the customer's view and journey, and look at your internal journey.

Is customer experience a discipline unto itself? I hope you would agree that customer experience is certainly a discipline, but last thing you want is to do it unto itself.

SMA Call to Action:

  • Start by educating and involving everybody. Ensure an understanding of the difference between customer experience and customer service, why it's important, how it's done, the roles that they have in this bigger picture, and how they can work together. But be patient and allow for missteps. This is not going to be perfect. The needs and expectations of your customers are constantly changing, so acknowledge that and do the best you can. And when it's not quite what you want, stop, adjust, and move on.
  • Do not align customer experience or silo it as a practice or as a discipline. Really work to embed it and weave it throughout your organization. It needs to become an organic part of your culture, something you don’t even have to think about. Strive to get to the point where you just do it.
  • Go beyond the external customer and their journey and address your internal journey. This requires you map out your internal journey in association with the customers (external) journey so that you can see, experience, understand, and account for the whole picture. And that just as you design the external experience, you design your internal experiences as well. After all, how will you meet the needs and expectations of your customers without an internal design and orchestration of everything you do based on their needs?

For more information, watch our 30-minute On-demand Webinar, Myth or Reality: Strategies for Insurers in 2021

To learn more, please contact:
Judy DeLaRosa
CX Contractor
Strategy Meets Action