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How to Stop Blaming and Start WINNING at CX

Are you treating customer experience like a sport? Are people in your organization who deliver the experience expected to start “winning at CX” in some way? If customer experience becomes a competition, either amongst your internal teams or worse, then the customer is the guaranteed loser.

What do I mean about CX as a competition?

Think about your own organization. Do you recognize any of these scenarios?

“It’s not our fault, it’s those sales guys who oversell what our product can do!”

Feel free to replace the sales team with another oft-scapegoated team, like product development, marketing or customer success.

When it’s more important to blame the other team so you “win” the CX game, then the game’s very rigged already.

“I can’t offer any more support to this customer. They’ve already wasted so much of my time!”

Those dumb customers! Why don’t they just get it already? Once this blame game happens, the experience almost always deteriorates quickly.

If we are starting from a place of blame, a place where we label the customer as annoying or slow or resistant to change, then we are assuming we are correct. We’re assuming our education and communication styles are correct. We are assuming all over the place!

Stop assuming it’s the customer’s fault, just so you can feel like you won.

“That competitor just takes our ideas again and again!”

This can be extremely pervasive if the leadership is part of perpetuating this view. “Those chumps over at XYZ Company. They get all their ideas from us and then steal our customers by delivering on them faster and cheaper and in a better way than we do!” Ok that’s probably not a direct quote, but that is most likely what leaders are thinking.

If your organization can’t keep up with the rapid pace of shifting customer expectations, then it’s your customer experience that suffers. If your competitor moves faster, it’s not their fault you are losing.

How can you move past the competition and help your customers?

1. Remove blame from your company values.

Don’t allow one team to drag the other down in order to deflect blame. Own the experience. Encourage teams to work together on behalf of the customer and celebrate those who do break down silos to make the right things happen in your customer’s journey. Make a big deal about cooperation!

2. Set clear limits on support proactively if necessary…

…but make sure your delivery is always improving!

If one of your support agents has the patience of a gnat, that agent might not be the best choice for someone who is really struggling with the basics of your product or service. If your nicest, best conversationalist is sharing stories with a hard-charging customer who keeps repeating “I seriously just have one question,” then that customer won’t be happy.

[click_to_tweet tweet=”‘If we are starting from a place of blame…then we are assuming we are correct.’ -@jeanniecw” quote=”‘If we are starting from a place of blame…then we are assuming we are correct.’ -@jeanniecw”]

Match up the best solution by really understanding what the customer need is in the first place. Explain the limits of support and offer alternatives when necessary, but don’t allow a customer who just needs a little extra help to become a punching bag for a long day. And review, review, review how things are explained and what’s working and what’s not.

winning at CX

3. Stop obsessing about your competitor

…and start obsessing over what their customers say about them.

This sounds a tad contradictory, but I believe we can all learn from what our customers love about any experience they have – both in and outside the industry.

Your competitor in today’s world, no matter the product or market, is your customer’s attention. There are so many distractions and dare I say the other d word? Disruption!

Let’s make sure you understand what it is exactly about that competitor’s app they love. Is it the speed? The convenience? The fun? Understand that and then review your entire journey for ways to insert those emotional pivot points in your journey. Don’t assume you can’t catch up. Assume you have to evolve, just like them.

winning at CX


Winning customer experience is not about winning AT CX.

The competition is never against your organization and another company, it’s a competition to be better than yesterday. Fight against the blame game and start winning in a much bigger, better way. When your customers win, they turn around and give you the gold medal.


About Jeannie Walters, CCXP, CSP

Jeannie Walters CCXP CSP small square photoJeannie is an award-winning customer experience expert, international keynote speaker, and sought-after business coach who is trailblazing the movement from “Reactive Customer Service” to “Proactive Customer and Employee Experience.” More than 500,000 people have learned from her CX courses on LinkedIn Learning, and her insights have been featured in Forbes, The Chicago Tribune, The Wall Street Journal and NPR

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