Executives Need to Invest in Understanding the Customer Experience

Delivering superior customer experience (CX) is a mandate that now extends well beyond the bounds of customer service, support, sales, or IT departments. It requires a cultural shift that emphasizes pervasive information sharing and intent analysis across the enterprise. Executives not fully immersed in CX leave their organizations open to churn and reduced market presence. Executives across all domains need to step up and lead their organizations’ CX efforts in order to survive.

Call it a sixth sense on the part of consumers. When connecting with a company to make a purchase or get a question answered — be it on a sales floor, over the phone, or online — one can intuitively sense the environment of that company. They can tell whether it’s an inspiring and innovative place to work and cares about its customers and community, or is a terrible place to work that doesn’t respect customers and has a stagnant corporate culture. Of course, there are cases where no intuition is even required, and the state of an organization’s corporate culture is obvious through encounters with seemingly apathetic employees lacking the right information, or through confusing online interfaces. This is the crux of the current state of customer experience, or CX.

CX has long been seen as the primary duty of customer service personnel, and, more recently, technology staff charged with designing well-functioning digital and virtual interfaces. However, missing from the equation have been higher-level executives and decision-makers who haven’t paid enough attention to CX efforts and have taken things for granted. A lot of leaders have never experienced how good (or bad) their company’s customer experience is, and they assume it is always good, or at least passable.

By Joe McKendrick and Andy Thurai via Harvard Business Review

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