Some time ago, Emplifi released a whitepaper with quite an amusing finding. Apparently, a staggering 87 per cent of companies believed they were delivering exceptional customer experience (CX), yet only 11 per cent of customers agreed. Talk about being completely out of touch with reality!
This self-delusion tends to happen when business executives become entangled in their beliefs without facing any challenges. I've witnessed this phenomenon countless times in meetings, but one incident left a lasting impression. Picture a large boardroom gathering where a former CEO of a renowned UK luxury car manufacturer boldly proclaimed, "But that's not how people buy cars!" I couldn't resist asking, "And when did you last purchase a car, sir?" The room fell silent, everyone holding their breath, and I pondered the likely demise of the project. After what felt like an eternity, he finally responded, "Yes, you're right. It was over 30 years ago."
If you are one of these executives, it's time to challenge yourself. Sure, you've spent 38 long years in the company, gaining expertise in the automotive business and understanding your customers. But have you ever placed an order through your own website? Have you dialled your helpdesk during unconventional hours or attempted to engage with the chatbot or live chat? Have you configured a car, booked a test drive, or scheduled a service? And when was the last time you set foot in your dealership, mingling with customers in person? Have you observed their body language and expressions while making payments or expressing dissatisfaction? Have you witnessed their interactions with your staff or their initial greetings?
If your answer is "never" or "ages ago," how can you accurately evaluate firsthand whether your CX is up to par?
Don't merely take someone's word for it; spare yourself the fortune spent on "mystery shopping."
Start with yourself. If you genuinely experience the same challenges as your customers or engage in direct conversations with those who have, the importance of CX will skyrocket to the top of your funding priorities, and things will improve overnight.
And one more thing. Your frontline staff, including those from your contact centre, must also become customers for a day or two. Let them walk in the shoes of a customer, going through every step of the process they ask others to complete. Allow them to experience everything firsthand.
I can guarantee that significant changes will ensue as a result. As an executive, you'll make better-informed decisions that shape the future of the business, and your staff will genuinely revolutionise the customer experience overnight.
So go ahead and give it a shot. Eat your dog food. It's the only way to transform the sawdust into a feast that even the most indulged dog would adore!