Understanding how to align with your customer expectations is not the job of your CX ecosystem.
You’ve been working for more than six months. Everyone from procurement to information security has been involved. The number of colleagues you’ve enlisted to make your – insert CX tool selection purchase here – is mindboggling. Most days you wake up and you feel panic, panic that feels like your reputation is on the line, like all that you’ve worked for in your career is at risk. You wonder how you arrived here when you feel as though you have done everything right.
by Tim Myers
Your argument likely goes something like this. We are a Customer-Centric company. We are committed from top to bottom to put the customer at the center of what we do. There are a lot of us; a lot of colleagues involved in CX and we’re maturing as an organization. We’ve enlisted the best of the best from tool vendors to forward CX thinkers, so we’re set and the time is now!
Somehow, however, this isn’t convincing enough. There’s still something eating away at you that you just can’t put your finger on.
Somehow, however, this isn’t convincing enough. There’s still something eating away at you that you just can’t put your finger on. Something that makes you a bit queasy and worried.
Congratulations, You Have Buyer’s Remorse
CX buyer’s remorse is when you’ve made a customer experience tool purchase and you’re about to take on a relatively involved implementation, and you’re not convinced that you’re going to get the results that you expect.
noun: Buyer’s Remorse
- A feeling of regret experienced after making a purchase, typically one regarded as unnecessary or extravagant.
You know your purchase isn’t extravagant, you know it is necessary, so what is it then? What is that sense of unease? This feeling typically sets in early in the process. It’s always hanging over you, this idea that success will elude you. Perhaps because it has eluded you before, in another role, in another company, watching your colleagues that came before you. You also wonder, what is success in this case? That’s a great question you think, you likely don’t know what success looks like and that can be part of the unease. You know that you want to understand and improve the relationship of the customer with your organization, that you can clearly state. But this feels a bit squishy and not measurable. When you are working to define the metrics of success, you can’t get clear answers. You ask your superiors what does a successful relationship with our customers look like? Perhaps your organization wants to achieve a specific NPS. Perhaps you get the directive that “we want to have happy customers.” What does happiness look like? How do you measure happiness? Doesn’t happiness change?
Besides the concern over what you should measure to understand the success of your initiative, and you’ll argue that you have the above metrics all figured out – you likely don’t by the way – you start to realize that all the resources you enlisted to do your tool evaluation are back to other initiatives. You feel alone now. Information security, the analytics groups, the marketing, sales, and customer advocacy organizations are worrying about their goals and objectives, their priorities; not yours. This concerns you because you’re a customer-centric organization right? Shouldn’t your goals be their goals? Shouldn’t your entire organization share common, customer-centered metrics that achieve this customer-centric vision?
It’s About The Organization
So at this point, you are asking yourself “what’s causing my buyer’s remorse?”, what is the problem I need to solve here? The problem isn’t the tool you just purchased, it’s not the implementation you’re facing or the just completed selection process. The problem is your organization’s alignment with the customer.
The idea of understanding how to align with your customer expectations is not the job of your CX ecosystem. This ecosystem will be able to surface and tell you your customers’ ideal you, but it will not help your organization be that ideal.
This ecosystem will be able to surface and tell you your customers ‘ ideal you, but it will not help your organization be that ideal.
To achieve that ideal, that has to come from “the organization” itself. The idea that your entire company needs to line up behind the customer’s expectations is not new, but it is rarely done and your customers feel entitled to that alignment.
So it’s about the organization, not the tools you buy, not the positions you create, not you, but about a top-down understanding that your company needs to fundamentally be different.
I know, it’s overwhelming. The idea that “we can’t absorb that much change”, or “I don’t have the ability to change anything like this”, or “CX doesn’t have the focus it needs in our lines-of-business”, or whatever you’re feeling in response to this is why you have buyer’s remorse.
The feeling of unease and dread is a direct result that you know your organization isn’t owning putting the customer at the center of its operations.
The feeling of unease and dread is a direct result that you know your organization isn’t owning putting the customer at the center of its operations. It is knowing that you’re out of alignment.
Alignment isn’t elusive, but it is an evolution. Be a fierce advocate and evangelist for the customer, do your part from the inside out to be the change, and understand and learn all you can about your customers and what they expect from you.
Follow me and my other Atlaas colleagues as we continue to post and write on the subject. Ideas, experience, and results of “how to get there from here” will be the subject of upcoming posts. Call on us as well if your need to discuss is more urgent at [email protected]
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Tim Myers is a Principal at Atlaas. Tim has spent the last 10 years supporting, implementing, and advising global enterprises such as JP Morgan Chase, Allstate, and Optum in their quest to improve customer experience designs and the outcomes of customer lifecycles.