Customer Experience Pitfalls to Avoid

The Dirty Dozen – 12 Common Customer Experience Transformation Pitfalls…and how you can avoid them

1. Failure to link customer experience strategy to brand vision

It’s incredibly tempting to overspend on customer experience in an effort to delight customers every time. But, before a customer experience strategy can be developed, the company’s vision and brand promise must be understood. First determine if the company is primarily a service, product, or price leader. This question will shape what customers expect from the company, and ensure the right actions are taken for the company and the customer.


2. Not linking customer touch points to business process

In order to fully integrate customer feedback, the customer interactions should be mapped to business processes. This can be addressed in two steps: defining the ideal customer scenarios and mapping the current operations to a level of detail where the customer, processes, and related systems can all be viewed simultaneously.


3. Taking a piecemeal approach

When developing the customer experience strategy, you must look at the ecosystem holistically to determine dependencies across people, process, and technology across all channels. This ‘end-to-end’ approach will ensure the organization is committed to the program and will support it operationally. Some of the often-excluded groups are: Financial Services, Brand, and Advertising.


4. Losing sight of the big picture

It’s incredibly tempting to solve the immediate problems when trying to reshape the customer experience. Companies can be more deliberate in the actions and recommendations. Don’t think about how to ‘fix’ the current operation, consider if the activity should even be performed. Also, look in different industries where the activity is performed to understand how other companies address the operation.


5. Not addressing breadth of capabilities

Lasting transformations require thoughtful deliberation during design. Capabilities are what ultimately deliver the right customer experience. Conducting a capability assessment allows you to see which operations are the most important to address. You don’t want to create initiatives based on knee-jerk responses to burning issues.


6. Unable to link the experience to customer and company value

A ‘sweet spot’ exists to balance the customer and company needs. Rather than always looking to please the customer, determine the thresholds where the company benefits as well. Based on this analysis, initiatives within the strategic program can be prioritized.


7. Failure to commit key resources

The most perfectly designed plans can fall apart if not properly implemented, and personnel are a critical part of the equation. Select people involved in the transformation that have talents which mirror the culture and brand promises, and represent the entire spectrum of customer touch points. Then, transformation is implemented with integrity to the company’s mission.


8. Minimizing the role of change management

Organizational adoption during transformation is critical. You want to take effort to measure and understand the level of impact with respective audiences. Executives play a key role here to ensure the business functions are taking the appropriate level of responsibility for the customer experience.


9. Lacking the appropriate executive alignment

The customer experience ecosystem typically transcends almost all organizations. Early in the strategy development process, executives sit in for various approvals and these approvals should come from almost every function in the business. Later, these same executives will be helpful in elevating the importance of the effort and not assigning the activities to a specific department or talented individual.


10. Not understanding the business case

Many times, experience recommendations will see costs appear in one department and benefits within another. For example, an investment in the point-of-sale treatments might reduce the support costs. Business case development ensures you are seeing the big picture and aligning executives in communications accordingly.


11. Not allowing a flexible roadmap

A good strategy doesn’t only include ‘what’ to do, but also ‘how’ and ‘when’ it should be done. The roadmap includes those tactical activities that should be performed. However, business changes and the program team should have the flexibility to adapt the roadmap based on changes in the business environment. Appropriate executive involvement helps in this activity as well.


12. Lacking discipline to measure the results and close the loop

Many times tight budget or timelines are the culprits of not measuring results. While most business people understand the importance of metrics and how to capture data, few reap the rewards. In order to facilitate business case approval or executive alignment, proper reporting is critical. After implementation, be sure people are in place to close the loop and drive real value based on your measurement capabilities.

Andy Mattox
Andy Mattox

Andy is a Partner and VP of Marketing and Operations at Andrew Reise Consulting. Over the past 17 years, Andy has worked closely with several Fortune 500 companies to either gain a strategic competitive advantage in the marketplace or significantly reduce operational expenses. Andy has an extensive program and project management background and typically leads efforts that are cross-functional in nature and strategically important to the business.