This is my end-of-year blog for 2017 and, for those that follow me, this blog page will morph into a blog page on my new website that should be going live in January.
In his 2017 end-of-year reflective blog, CX Consultant and colleague Ian Golding wrote about The Customer Experience 7-Year Itch in which he describes the state of the Customer Experience Profession as we approach 2018 and concludes that it’s akin to the marital equivalent of ‘the 7-year itch’ and in seven years since the profession was formally created, with a few notable exceptions, not a great deal has changed for the customer or for the employee—a point to which I completely agree.
I’ll extend that concept to the organizations that employ the CX professional. There seems to be another 7-year itch at play in the corporate world where organizations that started down that CX path seven years ago have either hit or are approaching that critical 7-year point. I call this the Corporate CX 7-year itch. This is the point where the initial rise and enthusiasm around CX among leadership peaks and begins to diminish. More and more questions begin to surface as to what they are getting in return for the investment and in some cases question arise as to why continue to collect voice-of-the-customer particularly when they feel that their customers are happy enough based on the scores they are providing. Considering added financial pressures to cut costs, they feel they don’t need to keep investing as much in CX any longer.
Some of that could be code for “annual bonus preservation” and this is one way they perceive achieve that. I left one large public organization after 10 years and ahead of that wave, but the itch started around year seven. I’m currently working with another organization now where CX just hit the eight-year mark and guess what? Yes indeed, the itch is well underway there as well. My sample size may be small here, but I believe I might have identified a new and unique CX 7-year itch. It’s up to us CX professionals to help relieve the Corporate CX 7-year itch.
Scientists have found that the reason scratching an itch offers relief is because scratching causes pain, which suppresses the itch. Now there’s something many corporate leaders can readily identify with – pain points, and the elimination thereof. It’s highly tactical where they don’t have to think too much and it’s relatively easy and inexpensive to administer.
The objective would then be to proactively identify (or perhaps even create) some pain points within the organization where CX serves as the remedy – scratching the itch as it were before it happens. I don’t have a readily available example of how this might work in a real corporate situation but this is where creativity come into play. I could imagine this idea working a lot more easily coming from a CX consultant as I find they are taken a bit more seriously than internal CX resources who have a position and job-security to protect and preserve.
CX professionals need to ensure that the right approaches, techniques and tools are made available to ensure CX is delivered profitably. Careful and effective identification of pain-points that are creating customer discontent and potentially limiting revenues and profitability, done right, should start to relieve or prevent that itch. Perhaps readers working within an organization might have an example of that to share. Feel free to add commentary.