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Explaining CX To My Dad

Bibi Sofowote, CCXP

When you tell people that you work in Customer Experience, they probably have loads of follow-up questions that they feel awkward about asking.

Let’s talk about it.

You know, I’d say I think my dad’s proud of me. He knows I do important work. But I’m also pretty certain he has no idea what it is I actually do. I mean, don’t get me wrong - for a man in his 80’s, he is pretty up-to-date. In fact, we’ve recently had to have a little family intervention to get him to use his computer… less. He does his writing and a lot of his other creative work on there. Hardly a weekend goes by that we don’t do a video call so he can play with his grand-baby. The geographical divide between Germany and Canada was never going to be enough to stop him from being a part of her life. He’s all about that tech.

And every week, he asks how work is going, and seems satisfied with the response. But I just know this man doesn’t know what it is that I do. If that is you too, this kick-off article is for you.

Customer Experience or CX, is a fancy new-ish buzz-word that everyone in corporate spaces seems to have heard, but that very few seem to be able to confidently define. At various times, I have heard it used interchangeably with Customer Success, Customer Support or even… Contact Center. Yeah, I know.

It therefore strikes me as important to provide a definition that anyone can understand, regardless of their prior level of familiarity with the concept. Bearing in mind that I am far from the first person attempt this feat, I say, here goes nothing:

Customer Experience is the business discipline that ensures that you are always delivering for your customer exactly what they need from you for their purposes.

That’s it. Strip away everything else, and that’s really what you’re left with: An obsession with making sure that no one else is doing better than you, the things that your customers expect from you. The execution of that obsession, through your people, processes and tools, driven by deep customer insights and a corporate culture to match - that’s the focus of the Customer Experience profession.

One company that has made great CX the core of its identity is Zappos. Zappos is an online shoe and clothing store based in Nevada. It is known for its outstanding customer experience. The company’s essential philosophy is based on the idea of "wowing" the customer. They want to make sure that every customer has a positive experience, even if it means going above and beyond what is expected. For example, Zappos employees are encouraged to give refunds even if the customer is not technically entitled to one. They also have a policy of letting customers return items for any reason, no questions asked.

This may sound crazy and unsustainable, and to be honest, not every organization is ready for that level of CX obsession. But here’s what Zappos knows, that more of you should: you cannot go wrong when you take care of your customers. You build loyalty when your customers know that they can always count on you to provide a positive and memorable experience. Zappos is a great example of this. Their commitment to great CX has helped them build a loyal customer base and become one of the most successful online retailers in the world.

But it’s important to know: this doesn’t just happen by magic, or willpower. The magic that you create for customers is powered by discipline, focus, execution and leadership on the back-end; fueled by validated customer data-turned-insights - your compass for ensuring that your CX efforts are actually aligned with the things that your customers care about.

And just in case this wasn’t already painfully obvious, the reason you do this, is because in an increasingly-competitive business landscape, you want to be the best at delivering value for your customer, so you can retain, renew and grow their business with you.

So that’s it! A highly-condensed introduction to Customer Experience and this series! And Dad, if for some strange reason, you're reading this, I hope it helps. You can finally explain to people what I do. I’ll talk to you on the weekend.

Thanks for reading this article. How will you use this information to make your customer experience better today? What have you observed in your environment Reach out. Connect. I’ll be reading and responding. And learning.

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