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 am an experience management transformist, helping organizations improve business results by engaging the hearts and minds of their customers, employees, and partners. My "job" is Head of the Qualtrics XM Institute. The Institute is still being established, but our goal is to help organizations around the world thrive by mastering Experience Management (XM). As part of this focus, I examine strategy, culture, interaction design, customer service, branding and leadership practices. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. Prior to joining Qualtrics, I was managing partner of Temkin Group (leading CX research, advisory, and training firm), co-founder and chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (, and a VP at Forrester Research. I'm a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Check out my LinkedIn profile:

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