MUSINGS ON EXPERIENCE, TRANSFORMATION, STRATEGY AND MORE
The following paragraph found by Ros Gray really intrigued me.
“Five essential actions to make our transformation successful are to build a portfolio innovation strategy across the entire value chain; a disciplined strategic approach to innovation; speed to value; internal capability to make innovation everyone's job; and use ecosystems to constantly sense the market and see what's on the edge. We need integrated agile approaches with waterfall management - because that’s where the rubber hits the road.”
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably got the memo that AI is going to impact the way we do business. By now, you have probably also played with ChatGTP, Bing, Midjourney or the hundred of tools out there.
But while it’s fun to put the Mona Lisa on a surfboard or rewrite an email in the words of William Shakespeare, AI is above all a tool. And I want to learn how it affects my trade of customer-centricity.
In my recent personal newsletter, Thoughts & Tidbits, I made the case that organisations should match their digital transformation investments with a ‘human touch’ for everything they do.
Tactically, because any digital edge will eventually be copied by the competition. Strategically because, until further notice, humans still pay the bills and we like a side serving of humanity.
Still, we live in a time where nothing is as it was before.
The other day I saw a customer experience checklist that said a business had to be Easy, Fast, Convenient, Trackable, Personalised and Predictive ... OR ELSE, the relationship with its customers would fall apart.
In my head, it makes sense. In my heart, I have my doubts.
Especially when looking at my top 'real life' relationship: that with my wife.
We are living in an age of corporate transformation.
Every business wants to be more agile, customer-centric, digital, diverse, sustainable, inclusive, and more. In fact, some large companies are running so many change initiatives that merely mentioning the T-word makes people groan.
Still, most transformations are a waste of time.
Depending on your source, 70-84% of programmes fail. So every time organisations press the T-button, leaders gamble resources, pain and late nights for a lottery chance of success.
Last week, I got home without remembering how I got there
No, I wasn’t under the influence. Also, as far as I could tell, my brain was still quite functional.
I blanked because I knew the road so well that I walked it on autopilot. All I remembered of my journey was the podcast I was listening to. And the cyclist who nearly ran me over.
To me, customer experience management has always been about making a difference.
Literally, by helping the companies I worked for differentiate.
Metaphorically, by enriching their customers’ lives.
Every exponential curve eventually takes you by surprise. Even if you’re watching.
In generative artificial intelligence, for me, that moment was last week.
I’ve played with it since 2017. But I looked at it as a toddler writing or drawing. The effort and creativity were endearing. Though I felt it had a long way to go.
Earlier this year, my views started changing.
Over the years, I’ve worked on quite a few ‘corporate transformation’ programmes. Some were highly successful. Others we don’t talk about.
Typically, success and failure depended on the behaviour of the people in charge. Including my own.
Though looking at each experience as a learning opportunity, I have identified a few behaviours of which I remind myself every time I work on a new project or with a new team. They typically live as a reminder in my (digital) drawer. So I cleaned them up a bit, to share in this article.
I had it coming
During a recent presentation, someone pointed out that I regularly mentioned the need to ‘level up’ the customer experience, but I never really described what that next level should look like.
It was a fair point.
Because yes, my point about levelling up is contextual, so my answer is always: "it depends". But that shouldn't prevent a clear opinion on where I think the CX profession should go next.
The answer I gave on the spot was a start.
Alain Thys is an experience architect who helps organisations drive profit and transformation through experience.