5 Ways to Sabotage your Customer Experience

by Jeannie Walters

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customer defection

Sure, you may not intend to, but there are probably ways you, as the leader of your department or organization, are sabotaging the experience your customers have. And who can blame you?

Today, leaders have more expectations with fewer resources. We’re asked to report on reporting reports, meaning we spend more time saying what happened instead of making things happen. Time is limited and people are pressured.

But if you’re not careful, these steps may sabotage customer experience, leading to more customers complaining, leaving, then telling their 10 zillion Twitter followers why your company (and you) stink!

Watch out for these sneaky ways typical business methods lead to customer defection.

1. Never dealing with customers.

It’s shockingly easy, in today’s business environment, to never actually interact with customers. Web sites are designed, invoices are sent, and even customer feedback surveys are requested, but everything is so wonderfully automatic! Survey results and behavioral analytics only tell you some of the story. Really getting to know your customers can go a lot further.

2. Over-worrying about your competition.

I’m a huge proponent of paying attention to the marketplace. After all, your competitors could introduce the very offering which woos your customers away! But when leaders become obsessed with “be better than X company” as the main driver for innovation, customer experience will suffer. Sometimes it’s ok to be #2 if your legions of customers are raving fans for you. Don’t worry about the big guys. Worry about your guys.

[Tweet “”Sometimes it’s ok to be #2… Don’t worry about the big guys. Worry about your guys.””]

3. Encouraging bad behavior.

Customer-centric cultures are built from the top and the bottom within an organization. Encouraging employees to do the wrong thing for short-term gains or report half-truths to avoid the wrath of a boss will inevitably lead to bad behavior toward customers. If employees think this is the way to get ahead within, they will think nothing of doing the wrong thing for a customer.

Customer Defection

4. Keeping customer praise to yourself.

Hearing positive feedback about our behavior is a pretty critical part of being a human being. We thrive on praise and positive feedback helps reinforce the behaviors we want to see. Some leaders take any positive feedback and own it – for themselves. The best leaders seek out the teams and individuals who truly earned the praise and share it generously. It’s difficult to know what went right if all you’re hearing about is what went wrong.

5. Defining what you aren’t more than what you are.

Similar to worrying about the competition, this one comes up more than you’d think. A critical part of any customer journey mapping process is understanding what the promise is for customers. When I ask this question, I often hear what they think they’re not. “We’re not like the others in our industry.” But when asked what they ARE, there are blank stares. Understanding what you want to offer is just as important as knowing what you don’t.

This customer experience work is not for the faint of heart.

It’s touchy and nuanced and always a little challenging. There won’t ever be a magic bullet because customers, and the people who work for them, are humans. Humans are unpredictable and emotional beings. Getting to know them can lead to amazing results, however.

Don’t sabotage your success before you even get started.

Photo credit: Hkuchera via Creative Commons license

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Jeannie Walters

Jeannie Walters is the CEO/Founder of Experience Investigators, a global Customer Experience consulting firm. She has 20 years of experience helping companies improve loyalty and retention, employee engagement, and overall customer experience.

Jeannie is a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP,) a charter member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA,) a Professional Member of the National Speakers Association, LinkedIn Learning instructor, TEDx speaker, and President-Elect of the National Speakers Association Illinois chapter.

Learn more here.

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