A relatively new term
As with any new industry, CX is still trying to find its feet. With professionals the world over all vying to define its parameters, the practice has been left to grow somewhat organically. Greenwood and Ogley have identified just how diversely different companies are in their approach — but, despite knowing this lack of consensus is a problem. Can even they define the term?
G: I think I would define customer experience as, essentially, an outcome. It’s a sum total of all of the interactions between an individual person and an organization.
O: For me, I think it’s still a relatively new term - and one which has appeared as interactions have become more complicated. And, although it certainly used to exist more within a digital space, I think that’s changing too. Now, it’s more about customer interactions with the brand as a whole, and improving those customers’ end-to-end journeys across all touch-points, whether digital or physical.
G: And, although it’s new, there are already libraries of reports which will tell you how important customer experience is to business success. But, if it is this important, you’ve got to ask: Why are so few businesses doing it? Firstly, it’s bloody difficult to do - not impossibly so, obviously, but still difficult. And, secondly, to a certain extent you can fudge it with marketing spend. And I think that’s often what businesses reach for.
O: True. Businesses can always release a new version of their app, or update their website, and that may look like they’re making progress, but really they’re not addressing the underlying issues and problems. CX has become a massive point of difference between companies — and it’s our responsibility to show businesses how important it is.
G: We need to make it manageable. We need to turn it into something that doesn’t feel career-ruiningly terrifying. But that presents challenges, not least persuading leaders that it’s something worth investing in. It’s difficult, but every day we simply ask: How can we unravel this into something people can actually take on?
“We’re having to redefine what ‘good’ looks like.”
The main factor driving CX as an industry is us — the customer. With social scrutiny at an all-time high, and companies struggling with a level of transparency hitherto unexplored, we as consumers are demanding more from brands at every level; professionally, economically, ethically. So how did CX manifest as businesses’ first line of defence?
O: Customer expectations have changed. Over the past five years, the visibility of social media and other factors mean that people are no longer happy with the basics — they will no longer ‘make do’. Suddenly, expectations are a hell of a lot higher. The benchmarks are a lot higher. People expect more from companies, products and services. The benchmark of what ‘good’ looks like is now a lot higher.