Chrysler Avows New Customer Experience Religion

Yesterday’s USA Today provided a double-header for my blogging. In addition to the ad from AA pilots, there was also a full-page ad from Chrysler that started as follows:

Quality is one of those fluffy words. After you see it or hear it enough times, it doesn’t mean anything anymore

The ad announced that the auto maker had created a Chief Customer Officer position and that it aims to put the customer first, which it described as a “basic rule of corporate etiquette.”

My take: The beginning of the Chrysler ad reminded me of My Manifesto: Great Customer Experience Is Free. In that post, I discussed how customer experience is a lot like quality. So, hopefully, Chrysler execs are reading my blog and/or research.

If they are reading this blog, then I suggest that they also follow my advice about how to successfully implement the role of Chief Customer Officer. That research outlined five broad areas of focus: 1) Make sure that you’ve got the right environment; 2) Prepare to take on a broad change agenda; 3) Establish a strong operating structure; 4) Kick off high-priority activities; 5) Look ahead to the future.

But the presence of a Chief Customer Officer does not immediately convert Chrysler to the customer experience sect. The entire executive team needs to learn, internalize, and dedicate themselves to a new set of sacred rituals. What text can they use for guidance and inspiration? You guessed it: Experience-Based Differentiation (EBD). EBD is a blueprint to customer loyalty that builds upon three principles:

  1. Obsess about customer needs, not product features
  2. Reinforce the brand with every interaction, not just communications
  3. Treat customer experience as a competency, not a function.

As a start to the conversion process, the executive team should take the EBD self-test and use the results as a basis for discussing where to invest their time and energy.

The bottom line: You can’t convert to the customer experience religion by proclamation; you need to dedicate your professional life to it.

Written by 

I'm an experience (XM) management catalyst; helping organizations improve results by engaging the hearts and minds of their employees, customers, and partners. I enjoy researching and speaking about leading-edge XM topics. I lead the Qualtrics XM Institute, which is the world's best job. We're igniting a global community of XM Professionals who are inspired and empowered to radically improve the human experience. To achieve this goal, my team focuses on thought leadership, training, and community building. My work is driven by a set of fundamental beliefs: 1) Everything starts and ends with human beings, so you need to understand how people think, feel, and behave; 2) XM is a discipline that needs to be woven throughout an organization's entire operating fabric; and 3) Building the XM discipline requires a combination of culture, competency, and technology.

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