Delivering great customer experience

Great Customer ExperienceDelivering great customer experience - it's an inside job!

Susan Ná Dhubhlaoich, Director of Ajna Marketing Zone, reviews the second part of the recent BT sponsored Customer Engagement event in the RDS

Dublin-born Lisa Harrington is BT Group UK's first-ever Chief Customer Officer. At the BT /CCMA annual January business lunch, she told us that when she was appointed last year she asked her new boss, BT UK's CEO, was her appointment an admission of failure on his part? Apart from being a brave(!) question I thought it was a great point to illustrate clearly that Customer Experience (CX) can only truly succeed in an organisation if backed up by strong leadership and commitment from the top. All the speakers came back to this again and again leading to the conclusion that great customer experience is at the end of the day an inside job. It's about winning the hearts and minds of your people and treating staff as customers. In a truly customer-centric organisation, Ian Golding, CX Strategist and blogger argues, the customer is at the heart of every decision. That's the theory anyhow! Then why is it so hard? Because he says, selling CX internally is difficult. Not everyone gets excited about CX. Not everybody believes that delivering great CX today will deliver long term profitability. Not everybody sees beyond the next quarter results. And not everybody gets to talk, email or tweet to customers. Jan Carlzon, the former CEO of SAS who coined the phrase €˜moments of truth' put it like this (decades ago!).

"If you're not serving the customer, you'd better be serving someone who does.''

This importance of the internal customer experience came up a number of times in the context of all businesses (but seems especially important for those not born in the digital era who face legacy and difficult structural challenges) as they evolve into customer-centric organisations. Ken Ryan, CIO of (an RSA Ireland subsidiary) explained that in their IT transition to the cloud their focus was not just on meeting end-customer functionality and ease of use expectations but also was very much informed by the need to ensure that those who serve customers (and in turn those serving them) have a good CX. The cloud - an on-demand solution for businesses gives organisations the required agility to respond more quickly to the new on-demand consumer world €“ speed and agility being key enablers to achieving better CX overall. The panel briefly discussed the difference between User Experience (UX) and Customer Experience (CX). Broadly itself on making a product or service easy to use. impacts only whereas customer experience touchpoint. In the panel discussion Lisa Harrington put it frankly

"Customer Experience is not rocket science: it's just hard.  We don't have a strategy challenge, what we have is an execution challenge.''

When faced with an execution challenge putting the right people in place to transition the organisation seems to be very much the right place to start. As CX moves centre-stage the importance of increasing professionalism within the CX profession itself seems all the more critical. Susan Ní Dhubhlaoich is a director of Ajna Marketing Zone €“ marketing consultancy specialising in Customer Experience, CRM and Data Analytics.