Colin Shaw recently wrote an interesting post RIP Customer Experience – Seven reasons why Customer Experience is in danger of dying. He starts by saying:
“I am becoming increasingly concerned that the focus on improving the ‘Customer Experience’ is heading the same way as CRM, into failure.”
My take: I applaud Shaw for initiating this discussion. It’s important for those of us who believe in customer experience (CX) management to examine—and continually evaluate—its evolution. So it’s a very appropriate topic to raise. From my standpoint, however, I don’t think CX management is in any danger of dying. Quite the opposite. Here are seven reasons why CX will thrive, not die:
- CX is not CRM. The CRM movement was almost entirely focused on technology and internal processes and was driven by technology vendors such as Siebel, Peoplesoft, Oracle, and SAP. The CX movement is being driven by practitioners. As long as CX management remains a discipline and does not become thought of as a “tech sector,” then it will not follow in the footsteps of CRM.
- CX is more like quality. As I discuss in My Manifesto: Great Customer Experience Is Free, the CX movement is a lot like the quality movement of the 1980s. I “borrowed” and slightly altered a quote about quality: Good customer experience is an achievable, measureable, profitable entity that can be installed once you have commitment and understanding, and are prepared for hard work. Quality was a large issue for U.S. firms that was resolved by strong executive commitment, centralized leadership and skill development, and evolved into a dispersed set of enterprise-wide capabilities.
- CX is a fundamental building block. Whether you care about CX or not, it is an integral component of every organization. Every time customers have any interaction—from a marketing impression to a customer service contact—they have an experience made up of functional, accessible, and emotional components. You can chose to ignore CX management, but CX will always exist.
- CX has well-defined ROI. Our research shows that good CX correlates to loyalty with consumers in both the U.S. and UK. We’ve also found that relationship hold true in B2B markets such as IT, pharmaceuticals and commercial banking. We also see more companies getting a handle around how CX affects their specific business results. As long as the business case remains strong for providing good CX, companies will continue to care about it.
- CX professionals are growing. CX management is no longer a “cottage industry” where a handful of people attempt to do things on there own in a “trial and error” mode. Our research shows that there are more than 100,000 CX professionals in North America. These CX professionals are increasingly connecting with each other, sharing learnings and best practices, and establishing repeatable activities within their organizations.
- CX management is maturing. The early stages of CX maturity, CX Intrigue and CX Exuberance, looked similar to many boom and bust cycles that characterized trends like CRM. But our research shows that we are entering into the era of CX Professionalism where CX management practices are being codified and permeated across many organizations. Once these practices take hold and drive success within companies, it will be hard to abandon them.
- CX has the CXPA. The reason we founded the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA.org) was to ensure that the practice not only survives, but that it thrives. With the power of a non-profit professional association at its back, the CX management field is likely to get better, stronger, and more influential.
The bottom line: Together we can make sure that CX management thrives