Execs Still Don't Get Customer Experience

by Jeannie Walters

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The following is a Best of 360Connext post.

Many executives are interested in improving and understanding customer experience. They want to know how to increase loyalty and revenue and all that good stuff.

When Oracle released their White Paper Why Customer ‘Satisfaction’ is No Longer Good Enough, the stats caused quite a stir, and rightfully so.

  • 70% of shoppers have stopped buying goods or services from a company after experiencing poor customer service
  • 64% have made future purchases from a company’s competitors after experiencing poor customer service
  • 82% describe the customer service process as being a lot of effort
  • 92% of customers feel a poor service experience decreases their loyalty

81% of consumers are prepared to pay more for a better customer experience!

Were any of us, really, surprised as customers? No. We have been there. We know it requires effort to get what we deserve. We have gladly defected to a competitor after our “go-to” brand disappointed us in some major way.

Understanding customer experienceWhy are the executives surprised?

They claim improving the customer experience is a priority, as they’ve been claiming for a few years now.

Every day I speak to business leaders who still treat the customer experience as a reactive, defensive strategy. Even the Oracle report concludes the following 5 guidelines to “create a compelling customer experience”:

  • Focus on the contact centre – optimise resources for dealing with ‘critical enquiries’
  • Focus on speed and simplicity – with an emphasis on first contact resolution
  • Monitor and respond to social media complaints – and provide effective resolution
  • Integrate different customer touchpoints – to deliver a truly consistent CX
  • Justify customer loyalty through excellence – innovate audience interactions

These do not sound like parts of a proactive customer experience strategy to me. Even the last recommendation, which highlights “loyalty through excellence” is saying this will justify the loyalty, not inspire or earn it day after day. Justifying loyalty sounds a lot like aiming for satisfaction. “I guess it’s ok I pay for this. It’s not as bad as it could be. The way they respond to me as a customer makes me sort of feel heard.”

Understanding customer experience
Customer Experience is More Than Reacting to Customer Issues

Evaluation is critical.

Step one, in any customer experience strategy, is to truly understand what your customers are experiencing and WHY. Evaluation is a critical step to understanding, appreciating and improving the customer experience. By first understanding, you can then plan a better experience and begin executing it. Instead of waiting for customer complaints, you can proactively create experiences to not only avoid them but create WOW moments instead.

Handling customer complaints successfully and without additional effort from the customer seems like table stakes. Responding to customers on social media? Is that still up for debate?

It’s time to be honest about customer experience.

If your company is not delivering, you probably know it, even if it’s difficult to face the truth. But, trust me here:  The truth will set you free. Be bold. Be brave. You can handle the truth. And even if you can’t, your customers are dealing with it daily. Don’t they deserve better?

Photo credits: StriaticState Farm 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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