I was recently sent a Harvard Business Review (HBR) article titled, “The Truth about Customer Experience”. The gist of the article is that historically speaking, companies have been focused on improving touch-points, individual interactions, and in doing so, forget to focus on the cumulative experience – the end to end customer journey from purchase to support. And by focusing in on touch-points, companies solicit feedback from customers regarding their touch-point experience which may not jive with how they view the brand. The authors go on to discuss at a high level the economic benefit companies potentially recognize by focusing big, and by injecting this thinking into their operating models, measurement systems and culture.
Being a CX student and practitioner for the past decade plus, this makes perfect sense to me. What I want to do is pick up on this topic, discuss the focus on touch-point vs. the cumulative experience and bring in a bit of real-world knowledge I gained from working with hundreds of organizations over the past decade plus.
If you boil the point down, it seems like a discussion about where to start, or where to focus. Big picture or small picture. Like a painting, the customer’s journey and set of experiences are comprised of many brushstrokes, using different mediums, brushes and canvas. To complete the painting, it’s one brushstroke at a time. However, to lay one brushstroke at a time into something that resembles a “painting”, each stroke must have a destination, colors must be complimentary, pieces of the painting linked. If you are not a natural artist, don’t worry. There are many painting by number kits available.
What does this all mean? Well, the point is an organization needs to do both equally well, and pursue both in a parallel manner. As touch-point optimization occurs, how does it fit in to the cumulative experience we are trying to create? Conversely, as we think about what cumulative experience we want to create, what touch-points do we need to get good at, invest in and use as a competitive differentiator? Finally, how do we install a measurement system that links touch-point execution with execution of the cumulative experience? At the core, both need to be tightly linked, and this linkage need not only take place in process, resource and technology integration, but in the way each are managed and measured.
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The great benefit provided to companies by pursuing a dual path, parallel strategy is that it will enable them to understand root cause for customer unhappiness. Like receiving a thousand phone calls on a particular product is not necessarily a thousand support calls unto themselves, but rather, may point to a deficiency in the product or even the operating manual. Nothing new, but worth reminding folks, as like the HBR authors suggest, we tend to get a bit myopic in how we look at things.
The good news for our customers on this topic is that we in the CX practice here at Perficient have developed a painting by numbers system for CX we call the “CX Blueprint”. The CX Blueprint links touch-points and the cumulative experience, enabling companies to approach both in parallel, and, implement solutions crafted along a neatly organized roadmap that simultaneously address touch-point optimization and the cumulative experience.
In case you are interested in learning more about our CX Blueprint, please feel free to contact me. Or, if you are coming to Oracle Open World next month, please feel to stop by the Perficient booth. I’ll be there along with my colleagues and would enjoy chatting with you about our CX Blueprint and how we can help.
I’ll leave you with a quote by Bob Ross;
“All you need to paint is a few tools, a little instruction, and a vision in your mind.”
P.S. > The bit on root cause above really needs to be unpacked because it has many, many implications. By ignoring it, nothing ever gets “really” fixed. And by focusing on it, it creates a bit of tension amongst organizations in the company, each potentially pointing the finger at each other. It needs to be addressed because it’s in the best interest of both the customer and organization. The best way to take out some tension is to come to the table with facts. This is one place where the disciplines of CX and Business Intelligence intersect. I think this is a good topic to pick up on in a later post. I’ll make sure to co-author it with someone in our Business Intelligence practice, bringing both a CX and BI perspective on root cause and what it means to the customer experience.
P.S.S. > if you are interested in ready the HBR article, you can find it here;