2020 – A global crisis or a valuable lesson? 2020 has been a tough year so far, but at the same time, it should be considered as a year of wisdom for professionals who choose to focus on the sociological side of their business and work closely on the consequences and the implications of the pandemic crisis.

CX Professionals are traditionally those who design strategy by analysing sociological behaviours, aiming at optimising business for customers and intensifying positive feelings. Now, more than ever, they should lead their management teams in this direction.

Focus on processes?

Organisations have experienced very difficult moments in this crisis; many saw their revenues go into a tailspin and eventually were drifted away to a rather myopic view of the problem.

Although “caring” is the ultimate stance for businesses to prove their customer centricity, many of them – both in times of normality and when in uncertainty – fail to thrive. What they tend to forget, is that their success doesn’t depend solely on what interactions customers have with them, but rather on how customers feel about their brands, the perception of which largely drives buying behaviours.

Customers are human beings, strongly emotional driven human beings, to be precise. So how come that many organisations deal with the need for change or adaption with the shallow belief that something perceived as a “perfect process” is enough to help them overcome challenges in such weird times? “Perfect” by the way, comes along with so many questions…

  • Is perfectionism in processes, a realistic approach?
  • Are our perfect processes actually perfect?
  • For whom? (Us but not our customers? This one really makes you think.)

Where do our employees stand in all this? Remember employees are human beings too.

Despite all the questioning, organisations are still more likely to focus on process optimisation, rather than focus on people in order to implement a CX program or a CX Strategy, especially during crises, and this doesn’t come without explanation.

It looks easier, more practical, maybe with a more tangible and immediate implementation flow to work with processes. When you are ready to apply a redesigned or optimised process for reinforcing CX, you are able to ask for data even the very next day for evaluating the effectiveness of optimisation. You are able to present it so every single employee in the organisation knows about it, and you can be proud of presenting your project to your boss.

Or focus on people?

Unfortunately, not all redesigns lead to a better result. So if you fail for example to succeed the NPS increase you were aiming at in your digital channels – very popular nowadays – you need to start scratching the surface to find out what went wrong.

This is the point where mature and originally customer centric companies start to help their people to understand why they failed, while others, not so mature and not so customer centric as claimed, will look for a new project management tool or a new provider for better results.  

If we want to be honest when we claim that our customers and the excellence of their experience come first, all we need to do is prove it. The only proof and the strongest one is our people.

Our people are as vulnerable as our customers. They have families and needs. They need security and care. Organisations need to focus on their people before they reach out to their customers.

Processes exist for people to follow them. There is no secure mechanism to ensure that all people will do their best to follow our “best ever” process. Especially when they:

  1. Feel intense uncertainty about their future and the future of their loving ones
  2. Don’t understand the implementation value both for customers and  the organisation and even themselves
  3. Don’t know why this is important, or have doubts about its importance

So here comes the oldie but goldie “[CX] CULTURE EATS [CX] STRATEGY FOR BREAKFAST” (apologies for the CX addition).

Our people should not only be informed on how important CX is for organisation’s viability and customers’ loyalty, but they should be actively involved in defining CX for the organisation, experiencing it as EX first.  The level of employees’ involvement and commitment to the organisation is ultimately defining how strong the foundations of CX Culture are.

The Era of Human Experience

Starting with culture and EX is not a choice as fast paced as the process oriented way may be and not so data related from day one.

It is hard to design, and maybe even harder to convince your boss to go for it. But when you make it, your strategy will be well established! Every change will be easier adapted, the people will not only know what to do but why they do it, the benefits will be clear for everybody, the DNA of the organisation will be a catalyst in every touchpoint with the customer and last but not least your organisation will have managed to create its own way of offering experience. Its own way of surviving!

So, people come first. Our people and then our customers. ΕΧ and CX are strongly connected. Many accept that as a fact, but very few actually choose this way to excellence. The way to HX.

2020 is maybe introducing a new era for organisations to be sustainable. If they fail to be human centric, they will put their existence in danger.

Customers need to feel that they have to do with brands which respect their people first. Brands which rely on their people and are able to support them. Customers are looking for genuine care. When you offer it to your people, it’s impossible not to be felt by your customer too.

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