The sun will always shine, but clouds will never go away. Summer or winter – it is robustness that you really want.
There is something beyond CX
All customers appreciate a good experience with the services they buy. However, no service supplier can control the customer’s experience, because it depends largely on the context and on the ‘deep purpose’ in a usage situation. Therefore it comes as no surprise that ‘good’ and ‘bad’ experience live alongside each other within the customer community, despite (or because of?) all interventions, actions, and improvements. Only ‘good’ experience can never happen, even if it might be true, for this one reason: better experience leads to higher expectation, and higher expectation sets the bar to good experience higher. What was good yesterday will not be good tomorrow.
We have therefore got two problems,
- our limits in controlling the conditions of customer experience, and
- our limits in controlling the expectation which serves as a moving threshold
Is Customer Experience a good measure for our policy of putting the customer at the center of corporate policies? We can measure, but we have (unknown) limits in managing a closed loop of signal – intervention – success. This not only leads to frustration among customer experience managers, but also damages the image of Customer Experience as the North Star for a policy of customer centricity.
But here is the good news (well, hopefully at least not bad news)
Good or bad customer experience does not really matter. The sun will always shine, but clouds will never go away. You want to be able to survive summers as well as winters, good times and bad times. The same is expected from a good business relationship between suppliers and customers in B2B.
It is robustness that decides over success. And the biggest driver of robustness is engagement. Engaged customer relationships survive bad times better. Engaged customers help to adapt to changing success conditions in good times. Engaged customers help to spot chances and risk at all times.
Engaging the customer relationship helps to understand the value of the services supplied. They help to define the context of successful applications, they help to set realistic expectations and to create win-win situations for both.
Striving for customer engagement instead of customer experience has a few advantages:
- Engagement constantly creates measures that indicate successful development
- Engaged customers help to obtain data and in depth information, where classical research methods reach their limits (but stay within the research data logic)
- Engaged customers are the supplier’s sandbox partners (‘scientific customer gardening’), where new ideas, scenarios, business models and services, can be tried out. Customer Gardens should be built around topics like
- experience (customer journey), context, deep purpose, customer success contribution, cost and revenue optimization, adaptation mode, operative data supply, optimizing long term fit, optimizing robustness ……
The concept of Customer Gardening
‘Scientific Customer Gardening’ is a conceptual approach that provides the means to improve the robustness of customer relations, as well as to elaborate ways of creating value with a long term view. It also provides the means to transfer this knowledge to the ‘field’ of all other customers with less engagement levels, fine tuning products, services, and sales. Its special value results from its nearness to sales success. The value of Scientific Customer Gardening can be derived directly from the operative results of its impact on sales success.
What are the costs and conditions?
- It costs manpower in an area of the company that had no special resources before
- It must be protected in order not to get lost in the surges of BigData
- It must be synchronized with account teams and top management
- It requires a new way of understanding quality (adaptation, instead of perfection)
- It needs to be appreciated and supported by the ‘corporate public’, i.e. everyone with a customer interface
- It requires a strict system of workflow governance and data structures to ensure applicability of results across the corporation
- To be efficient, it needs an incentive system that focuses on all incremental promotions, enabling, sponsoring, participation, etc. with the objective of raising the level of engagement from all sides (internal teams, external teams, BoD) over time (measuring overall engagement support)
Read more about it on this blog, be informed about news and updates