The biggest barrier to improving customer experience

Whether you lead a team, department, division, or organization, customer experience leadership has never been more important. The challenges of finding and keeping the right employees and the uncertainties created by an evolving pandemic that has gone on far longer than most predicted—these issues are front and center for every leader.

Breaking through barrierBut the real concern for most runs deeper: delivering customer experiences that meet customer expectations and that keep the organization viable and well-positioned for the future. And the biggest barrier? The success of the customer experience movement.

What, what? Yep, it’s ironic, but a major hurdle to improving customer experience is how widespread and pervasive the customer experience movement has become. Most every organization is talking about customer experience. Most every organization believes they are employing its methods and principles. The movement, if measured by recognition, is wildly successful. But actual results can be a very different matter.

As customer experience ideas took the world by storm, hundreds of consultants and researchers flooded the market with books, training programs, and various methodologies. The space became cluttered, and problems began to emerge. One is fragmented efforts within some organizations. I discovered three different customer experience initiatives within the same insurance company—each with different methodologies and objectives. As you can imagine, the results were less than optimal.

Another problem is that customer experience initiatives have too often coalesced around teams that do not build broad-based efforts. Complex action plans, specific strategies, and arcane terminology take hold—all of which can have the effect of excluding rather than including others across the organization. That doesn’t work either.

You can’t improve what you feel is already happening. If the assumption is that all is well, or all is well considering…. improvement is a non-starter.

Effective leaders cut through the clutter. They make customer experience understandable. They coordinate efforts and prevent initiatives from becoming siloed and exclusionary. They ensure all who are part of an organization know the importance of customer experience, and their role in it.

My encouragement: now is the perfect time to put your hand up. And lead.