One reason the CX movement is failing and what we can do about it.

brown pencil on white printing paper

To begin, I must apologize for the following rant, but it just had to be done.

A customer orders food online. They are told it will be delivered in 30 minutes. The time comes and goes, no food. A call is placed to enquire as to its whereabouts. Since there is no way to contact the vendor other than text, that is what they do…to no avail. Approximately 30 minutes later, now an hour from when the food was ordered, it arrives…lukewarm and swimming in oils that have spilled all over the container. Simply put, it is gross. Now the customer texts their complaint. Amazingly, they get a response, “we’re sorry, we will check into what happened and ensure it never happens again.” Of course, this is the weakest response ever that in no way helps at all.

Now comes the big showstopper in this customer’s experience. The next morning, they receive a request for feedback. This is one of those surveys we see all the time, “On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend us to a friend?” What do you think this customer is thinking? Perhaps, “Are you kidding me? I had a horrible experience, and, if you paid any attention at all, YOU ALREADY KNOW IT! Why are you asking me for a rating on a survey? Why did you not do anything last night when I needed you?” Since this customer got no action when they texted the night before, they felt a 0 on this survey would be worthless, too, thus, no response from them.

This is a great example of how the customer experience movement is failing. It has gotten so caught up in metrics and measurements that taking action to improve the real experiences of customers is getting lost. You see, when customer problems in the heat of the battle are dismissed, those customers dismiss surveys. If the surveys that do come in are mostly good, everything must be good, right? Wrong, as my example showed.

Metrics that don’t show the whole picture—none can by the way—are misleading and in many ways useless, particularly if experiences like this one are happening. Somewhere, someone is making decisions that do not create a culture of care and hospitality among the workforce. This is the real problem and one that is getting lost in the blurriness of the metrics.

So, what do we do? Well, to start, how about customer experience pros stop over-focusing on surveys and methodological minutiae and start getting to know actual customers. Do interviews, dig in deep and go out and experience the company’s services in person. Check out the website and see how difficult things are. Make a call to the help desk and see what that’s like. Then, bring in service designers, UX pros, and service excellence coaches. Share what’s been learned and come up with a plan to take action, action to improve processes, culture, leadership, products, the list goes on. Bottom line: Without action, numbers are just numbers and represent nothing but a lot of work spinning wheels. Customers don’t need more measurements; they need more action that improves things.

Okay, rant over. Go back to your regularly scheduled programming.

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