Manuela PifaniManuela PifaniJune 20, 2018


‘Customer strategy’ is one of those terms that, to many strategists, means nothing at all.

They will undoubtedly be extremely familiar and confident with defining a ‘business’, ‘growth’, ‘marketing’, ‘digital’, or ‘people’ strategy, but having the word ‘customer’ in front of their key competency will throw them into uncertainty.

What exactly is a ‘customer strategy’, and how is that different from any other form of strategy, which normally should be built around the customer anyway?

Well, that is exactly the issue!

Many strategies are not built around the customer, but around key financial or operational drivers. We are all-too familiar with sales strategies which only try to push as many products and services to customers as possible, optimising revenue often irrespective of the audience’s true needs; or with cost efficiency strategies which take the short-term approach to remove operational costs through automation, digitalisation, and headcount downsizing, often irrespective of the impact on the customer journey.

Also, many organisations do not have fully defined ‘brand strategies’, which means that the essential link between the brand positioning and the reality of the organisational capabilities is missing. This is where many companies can invest millions in elaborated marketing strategies and integrated communications platforms, boldly announcing to the world how wonderful they are and how uniquely they will solve their customers’ ultimate problems or meet their highest needs – only to then forget or overlook a small detail: their ability (or lack thereof) to actually deliver those solutions and meet those needs in such a fantastic way.

A small detail which may impact the overall credibility and trustworthiness of the product or service proposition in question, if not of the brand itself! And that’s where the marketing funnel transforms itself into a leaking colander. All those marketing millions spent to attract customers – wasted into suboptimal experiences which do not deliver those brand promises.

A great Customer Experience does not happen by chance or miracle. It is not enough to communicate something, internally or externally, for it to manifest itself in reality…unless you have Harry Potter’s magic wand…

“Expecto Great Experience!”

This is where the customer strategy provides the essential link, bridging the gap between strategy and reality. Its main objectives are to define the experience principles required to deliver the brand strategy, and design the experience required to deliver its promises – in line with the financial and operational objectives of the overall business strategy.

This clear ‘design’ will also enable a consistent delivery of the Customer Experience across all touchpoints and the overall alignment of the organisation behind it, through clearly designed customer journeys.

In all my business CX roles, the ‘customer strategy’ was always one of my first areas of focus, because it was a key step in securing the engagement of the Executive Board. Once the execs were comfortable with the strategic direction and its requirements, not only did it become easier to obtain the support and investment required to deliver their components, but it also drove clarity of focus and cross-functional alignment and accountability.

Sounds easy. But unfortunately, the customer strategy is not a magic wand, and it requires some ‘muggle’ style hands-on work and specific skills. Recent studies have concluded that as many as nine-in-10 executives confess that their CX initiatives failed to create the desired competitive differentiation, and only two-in-10 confirm they achieved the desired business benefits from their CX investments.

My experience tells me that very often this is due to a combination of poor strategy and bad execution. And let’s be honest, a poor strategy or no strategy at all makes it more difficult to deliver transformational activities successfully, which elevates the absence of clear strategic direction into the main pitfall.

You need to clearly define your strategic customer objectives and design the target experience, to then transform and align the organisation behind it.

The Customer Strategy & Design Thinking course can help you with this, as it aims to strengthens your skills and knowledge in this space, providing a set of tested tools and best-in-class examples that you can then use back in the office to define an effective, successful, and differentiated Customer Strategy.

The course also covers how to deliver the customer strategy and, most importantly, how to embed its principles in the DNA of the whole organisation to facilitate a sustainable and value-creating business and cultural transformation.

Special attention is also placed on explaining and practicing design thinking methodologies, which represent a key and effective tool to create design-led customer propositions and experiences.

The course is built on my personal business experience across sectors, and enriched by a number of academic and consultancy frameworks and inputs, as well as several best-in-class or bad examples to bring things to life. Through a combination of theory, case studies and practical exercises, this highly interactive and grounded course can boost your skills and career – so get in touch today to secure your place at the next available event.

Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthMay 30, 2018


As summer heats up, so too does your ability to hone skills in a wide range of areas thanks to Masterclasses offered by CXM.

Throughout the second half of 2018, expert-led Masterclasses will train participants to perfect abilities in delivering Customer Experience, Employee Experience, and effective event management.

What makes these events unique is the sheer talent overseeing the classes. These include one of the world’s foremost experts on Customer Experience, Ian Golding, and ‘Mr Employee Experience’ himself, Ben Whitter.

Customer Experience

Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP) Ian, who is the CEO and Founder of Customer Experience Consultancy, will lead participants in the next Customer Experience Masterclass on July 2-3, before hosting a CCXP Exam Preparation Workshop on July 4.

Taking place at the Business & Technology Centre in Stevenage, the Masterclass will provide students with case studies, exercises, and stories to sharpen the skills required to succeed as a CX professional. This is a highly popular course and a chance to learn from the UK’s top CX personality, who is currently riding a wave of success thanks to his new book, Customer What? The Honest and Practical Guide to Customer Experience.

Attendees can expect to focus on all core CX competencies, including strategy and brand proposition; the role of employees in delivering said strategy; customer journey mapping; establishing a customer-centric culture; and much more.

Meanwhile, the one-day CCXP workshop will see Ian offer the best preparation possible for those seeking CCXP accreditation and aiming to pass the exam first time.
Ian was the first person in the world authorised by the CXPA to teach CCXP accreditation skills and is responsible for helping create around a quarter of the world’s qualified CCXPs.

Another two-day Customer Experience Masterclass led by Ian will be held on October 22-23, and a CCXP Workshop on October 24.

Also, an exciting new CX Masterclass is on the horizon, led by multi-award winning CCXP business leader and founder of CXellence, Manuela Pifani.

The 2015 UK CX Professional of the Year will oversee the Customer Strategy & Design Thinking two-day course, that will enable participants to get to grips with different strategy and design methodologies, and teach how to align organisations behind the delivery of a consistent Customer Experience.

The course will feature case studies and exercises that will aid participants in designing their own customer strategy, and successfully embed it within their own business.
The dates for this Masterclass will be revealed soon, so please keep an eye on Customer Experience Magazine for details.

Employee Experience

Meanwhile, the CEO and Founder of the World Employee Experience Institute, Ben Whitter, will lead the Employee Experience Masterclass at the Park Plaza Riverbank in London on September 10 and again on November 12.

Participants will learn the tricks of the EX trade from Ben, who is known in the industry as ‘Mr Employee Experience’ – and deservedly so – for his ability to help bring out the best in businesses when it comes to hiring and retaining staff.

Over the course of the day, participants will discover how to build outstanding employee experiences that contribute to key business metrics and deliver invaluable results.
Everything from pre-hire to retire is covered and the training has already been successfully delivered to hundreds of delegates worldwide.

Event management

Sarah Halfpenny is the face of Sarah Halfpenny Events and one of the UK’s most sought-after event management experts.

She is now heading up two exciting Masterclasses. The first is Event Strategy and Planning, that will cover meaningful event objectives, understanding audiences, forging partnerships, and content creation.


Her second Masterclass, Event Project Management, covers the fundamental elements required to project manage an event from concept to completion. Participants will learn all aspects of event management, from constructing an event brief and developing a project plan and schedule, to delivering it on time, in budget, and on-brand.
Both classes will be held at the Business and Technology Centre in Stevenage.
Event Strategy and Planning will be held on July 3, with Event Project Management on July 4. The classes will also be held on September 25-26, and on November 7-8.

Meanwhile, CXM Masterclasses are also available as in-house training sessions, that can bring the experts to your place of business. To learn more about in-house training availability, and to make bookings, email, or call 0207 1937 483.

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A free way to improve your business.

Customer Experience Magazine is the online magazine packed full of industry news, blogs, features, reports, case studies, video bites and international stories all focusing on customer experience.



Contact Information

For article submissions:
Paul Ainsworth

For general inquiries, advertising and partnership information:
Tel: 0207 1932 428

For Masterclass enquiries:
Tel: +44 20 86385584

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