Customer experience management is necessary, yet insufficient. Traditionally, organizations have managed customer experience with a mindset of how the company is doing, in order to grow revenue. Consequently, surveys tend to ask more about the company than about the buyer, and customer programs typically emphasize excitement and urgency for new purchases and positive word-of-mouth. While attempting to be customer-centric, this mindset is generally centered more on the company's, rather than the buyer's, well-being.
What’s the difference between the way customers volunteer feedback versus the way they’re requested to give feedback? One revolves around outcomes in the customer’s world, whereas the other revolves around customer satisfaction enablers in the company’s world. True customer-centricity requires primary focus and decision motivations be centered on the customer’s world, rather than the company’s.
What Are “Outcomes” in the Customer’s World?
The concept of customers’ desired outcomes throughout the customer experience originated in innovation literature when Clayton Christensen wrote his book, The Innovator’s Dilemma, explaining that customers “hire” a product or service to get something done for them. When we understand the circumstances motivating the customer to hire a product or service, then we gain insight into the customer’s jobs-to-be-done.
It's easy to be ethnocentric about customer-centricity! Ethnocentrism is the tendency to look at the world primarily from the perspective of one’s own culture. How often do we view customer experience, loyalty, word-of-mouth marketing, and customer care from the perspective of our own company culture? I'd venture to say "too often"!
In the name of customer advocacy, we tend to have a number of exciting customer relationship-building programs in place: advisory boards, user groups, reference programs, satisfaction surveys, experiential marketing, personalized customer communications, and much more. These are indeed useful efforts — but their usefulness is exponential when we put aside ethnocentrism for true customer-centrism. The key is in examining our motives.