Slip the Surly Bonds of Misguided Management Theory
Why leadership is imperative, and how you can unleash it in your organisation.

Driving Enhanced Customer Experience

Customer Experience 123rf_32845934_sThere has been a quiet revolution over the past decade or two. I am referring to the shift from “Customer Service” to “Customer Experience.”  This shift has been so subtle and unheralded that it has been more evolution than revolution. Yet you cannot doubt that it has taken place.

Only today, I received an invitation to attend “Customer Experience World”, the national customer experience conference. Here, apparently, I can join CXO’s (Customer Experience Officers) and others to listen to a keynote speaker talk about “The importance of customer experience design in an ever-changing Omnichannel world, and the common pitfalls businesses make.”   

I cannot help wondering whether they will identify the biggest “pitfall” of all: the blind pursuit of enhanced customer experience and the fashion for surveys that this has evoked. It seems that every transaction I undertake today, elicits a request to participate in a survey. Whether it is a flight, taking your car in for a regular service or a visit to the hardware store, you are automatically asked to complete a survey describing your experience.

Somehow you are expected to calibrate an empirical measure for the level of service that you received and the extent to which you might or might not recommend the vendor’s service. It’s not just the imposition on my time that I find irksome, but also the pseudo-empirical nature of the measures. After all, whether I am visiting the dentist, purchasing paint or taking a train, I simply expect the vendor to provide what I ask for as quickly, efficiently and as reasonably as possible. Why does this warrant a post-transaction inquisition?

By the same token, I would only recommend a vendor if I experienced exceptional service or not recommend them if I experienced poor service and then, most likely, only if I happened to be involved in a conversation where this was appropriate. Thus the question as to whether I would recommend them or not is hypothetical, irrelevant and a waste of my time. So why do businesses insist on these ubiquitous surveys?

There are several possible explanations.

  1. Technology and the low cost of data capture makes it possible.
  2. They fall into the trap of believing that the data is meaningful.
  3. It provides performance measures that can be used to justify pay and bonus levels
  4. Because everyone else is doing it.

In my opinion, none of these reasons justify the potential negative aspects of this approach: the demotivating effect on employees.  Ultimately, customer experience is determined by customers’ interactions with your organisation. This, in turn, depends on your people. Customer experience that is shaped and measured by customer surveys perpetuates the message that the customer is more important than your employees.      

Nearly 10 years ago, I wrote a blog “The Customer is NOT Always Right.” This still holds true, and was reinforced by a further link I was sent recently.  I would suggest that, as a manager, you could manage your customer experience far better by:

  • Empowering your people more and giving them greater autonomy over their interactions with customers;
  • Reviewing customer complaints more closely; and
  • Recognising and rewarding the effective resolution of complaints by your people; for a customer who has had a problem satisfactorily resolved is far more likely to keep on doing business with you.

And remember, by making “your business their business” the ‘Every Individual Matters’ Model offers you the ideal way to empower your people to enhance customer experience.


If you like what you have read contact me today to discuss how my ‘Every Individual Matters’ Model could help you value your people and provide the catalyst to help you create an organic culture where everyone cares and the business becomes our business, embedding continuous improvement that engenders ‘love at work’ and transforms – and sustains – organic business performance.


Bay Jordan

Bay is the founder and director of Zealise, and the creator of the ‘Every Individual Matters’ organisational culture model that helps transform organisational performance and bottom-line results. Bay is also the author of several books, including “Lean Organisations Need FAT People” and “The 7 Deadly Toxins of Employee Engagement” and, more recently, The Democracy Delusion: How to Restore True Democracy and Stop Being Duped.


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