(I originally published this post on The 1to1 Blog)
For several years, I’ve seen company after company jump on the customer experience bandwagon. In a Temkin Group survey earlier in the year, two-thirds of large North American companies said that they had ambitions to provide the best customer experience in their industry within three years.
It’s not mathematically possible for that many companies to be leaders in anything. But it does show the unfettered aspirations that companies have when it comes to customer experience.
The largest obstacle to customer experience that companies identify is “other competing priorities.” Hmmm… they want to be the best at customer experience, but other things are more important. This situation reminds of a poem that Robert Herrick wrote in 1650:
NO PAINS, NO GAINS.
If little labour, little are our gains:
Man’s fortunes are according to his pains.
To become in leader in customer experience takes effort. It requires making difficult tradeoffs between short-term financial goals and longer-term customer loyalty. That can be a painful decision.
Companies are anxious to lead, but are they prepared to make these tough decisions? Not really. In a recent post called Top 10 Customer Experience Incompetencies, I highlighted data showing that only about 25% of large firms are prepared to make that painful tradeoff between customer experience and short-term financial results.
Despite the widespread mismatch between ambition and commitment, some companies are breaking through. In recent Temkin Group report, Profiling Customer Experience Leaders, we looked at the difference between customer experience leaders and laggards. It turns out that the leaders:
- Focus more on building a customer-centric culture
- Put less emphasis on pure cost-cutting
- Have more centralized customer experience efforts
- Reinforce the core values of the company
- Tap into more customer feedback
And, leaders suffer much less from “other competing priorities.”
I’ll be writing a series of posts in my blog that help organizations plan their 2011 customer experience efforts. While the content will likely appeal to the majority of companies that have strong customer experience ambitions, it will probably only be helpful to those that are truly committed to making a difference.
Will the customer experience bubble burst in 2011? Hopefully “yes” for some companies.
The bottom line: I expect many companies to start pulling away from the pack in 2011.