It’s amazing how many customer experience strategy documents, articles, books and podcasts there are on the internet nowadays. It’s a veritable smorgasbord of how-to guides, self-help literature, and other consumables. An array of doors to choose, each one leading down a different hallway into a new realm of customer happy-joy times.

The problem is that most of it contains nuggets of good, solid advice, surrounded by a whole lot of utter garbage. And most leaders will often follow the path of least resistance… after all, this is standard behaviour for someone that is stuck in command-and-control mode, still knowing that it needs to start exploring something different in order to survive.

As leaders start to flip through these choices and opening the doors to see what’s inside, they find easy things like “implement and track NPS”, or “better understand your KPIs”. They make for good soundbites, don’t require a leader to step outside of their comfort zone, don’t require organisational change in any major way, and don’t hit existing measures that they are bound by.

And none of these things actually work.

I really don’t know why some customer experience strategists keep saying some of this stuff. It genuinely blows my mind that these people continue to get paid for advice that has the overall effect of reducing good customer experiences.

To be helpful, here’s a list of hot items that many other customer experience strategists talk about, that don’t end up helping to improve customer experiences.

Use customer experience as a way to boost revenue.

So many guides state facts like “customers are willing to pay up to 60% more for a good customer experience”. The dollar-signs in a traditional leader’s eyes begin to spin with statements like that, immediately defeating the purpose of the change in the first place. If you’re driven by financial gains, you are doomed to fail.

Allow your transformations to be lead by the desire to improve experiences for your customers. If you do that and are successful, the money will flow. There’s no need to make it your core focus. Strong revenue is a side-effect of running a good, customer centric business… not a drumbeat to march your troops by.

Finding a balance between business needs and customer needs.

Your business wouldn’t exist if you didn’t have customers that wanted your stuff. Period.

Start doing more of what your customers want, and less of what you – or the board – want. Your customers will cherish the fact that you put them at the centre of your universe, and they will want more from you as a consequence.

Put your needs aside, and transform your business and your leadership into something your customers want.

Implement NPS as a way to track great customer experiences.

No. Just no. Stop with the NPS, already. NPS does not work, and it’s also a lagging measure. Finding out how something did or didn’t work for a customer after is has already happened does not help to understand what went well – or wrong – in the moment.

Instead, empower your people! Give them the ability to ask if everything for their customer is perfect, and if it isn’t, the power to make it perfect.

Change your culture.

You cannot change culture. However, what you can do is create an environment in which culture can change. These things do take a very long time, and this is something that needs to be acknowledged. Creating the ultimate culture that becomes the envy of other companies is not easy, and takes a very long time. It’s also something that you can’t ‘just do’. Build your environment that empowers staff to do what they need to do, no holds barred. Then watch the magic happen… over time.

Give yourself a project timeline to drive improvements.

Measures and targets don’t work – including ones to drive customer experience projects. Inevitable corners will be cut, things will be missed, and the pressures of the target will reduce productivity and lead to disempowerment.

Instead, take on an approach that the transformation is the journey.

Better yet, build your business model around the need to change. Being ever-ready to do the hard things will put your organisation and leadership skills on the front foot, and will allow your customers to get exactly what they need, when they need it. Even when the world continues to grow, change, and adapt.

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