As I discussed in “My Manifesto: Customer Experience Is Free,” today’s push for customer experience is very similar to the quality push in the 1980s. The similarities include:
- Nobody “owns” it
- It requires culture change
- It requires process change
- It requires discipline
- Upstream issues cause downstream problems
- Employees are a key asset in the battle
- Executive involvement is essential
Interestingly, several people who I interviewed for my current research on customer-centric DNA mentioned quality techniques (e.g., Six Sigma, Lean Sigma, TQM) in our discussions. I even interviewed someone who had the very cool title of “EVP, Customer Experience and Kaizen.” (For those of you who aren’t familiar with Kaizen, it’s a Japanese word for continuous improvement. This quality concept was popularized in the 1986 book called Kaizen: The Key to Japan’s Competitive Success).
It’s no surprise that this is coming up in my research on culture given what Philip Crosby, the author of “Quality Is Free,” once said:
Quality is the result of a carefully constructed cultural environment. It has to be the fabric of the organization, not part of the fabric.
The bottom line: Make customer experience the fabric of your organization.