icon_wink

3 Popular “Customer-Centric Ideas” that Totally Miss the Point

Words matter.

And in a time when we abuse the heck out of them, they actually matter more. Literally. ;-)

Imagine how often I hear words being used with the best of intentions, but not tied to anything remotely related to the actual customer experience.

Allow me to share a few examples.

1. “The Year of the Customer”

…or other such labels for a new customer experience project.

Any year claiming to be the “year of” is probably just a topic of the moment. This also indicates the year will end. What happens to the customer then? Where do they go? Is next year going to be “The Year of the Ex-Customer?”

customer-centric ideas

Don’t let marketers or excited leaders label anything as the “short-term indicator” of the customer. The only way customer experience delivers results is when it’s a long-term strategy woven into the fabric of everything you do.

2. Let’s send an email about us!

Yes, customers signed up for your email updates. This doesn’t mean they are obsessed about your brand. This means they want actual, useful information. Emails sent with nothing but pats on the back for the organization aren’t really useful to your customers.

customer-centric ideas

Consider what is important to them. Yes, share your accolades and inform them about product updates, but invite them into the conversation. Use real words, not buzz words, and ask for feedback. (Need help? I recommend Ann Handley’s wonderful guide Everybody Writes.)

3. Frame that customer journey map!

I’ve walked into plenty of offices where the customer journey map is printed and hung on the wall. The producers of the journey map are proud of their hard work and the results can be great…for a time. Then the journey changes. Or it doesn’t, but perhaps it should.

customer-centric ideas

Journey maps are only useful if they are reviewed, evaluated, changed and questioned on an on-going basis. Framing the beautiful masterpiece is about as useful as publishing a 90-year old birth certificate as an obituary. A lot happened between then and now, and the documentation doesn’t do much to help tell a story or improve the actual experience.

Leaders often have the customers in mind when they have these ideas.

They want to do the right thing, but they get caught up in the idea of the moment instead of investing in truly customer-centric ideas for their long-term strategy.

Customer-centricity requires everyone in the organization understanding and internalizing what that really means. If Susie in accounts has one idea about what it means and Johnny in sales has another, the organization will deliver inconsistent experiences at best.

Helping your people understand what your customer experience mission is and how to deliver it will improve the actual experience more than labels or customer communication. But this requires everyone to live and breathe the mission and weave it into many small decisions.

Don’t know your mission?

Maybe this should be the “Month of the Mission” for you. Just a thought.

Image credits: A&M-CommerceStewart Yu, and robstephaustralia via Creative Commons license

About the Author