Which ever way you look at it, customer success is about leadership.
I’ve experienced this firsthand. Whenever working on a business where the CEO or key senior leaders had the customer in their heart, transformation programmes were easy. Budget was available. Goal posts moved. Stuff got done.
But, to be fair, it’s not always easy to be a customer-centric leader.
A Japanese word the internet inadequately translates as “hospitality”, or “service with a spirit of wholeheartedness”.
They say you cannot win an ice hockey match by chasing the puck. You need to skate where it will be.
I increasingly think of this expression when reviewing and discussing customer strategies.
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.
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.
For a few years, Forrester has been tolling the death bell for non-performing customer experience programmes. But in their latest European Predictions 2023, they deliver their harshest verdict yet. To paraphrase:
Tighter markets mean next year is 'sink or
swim' time for CX leaders, in which up to 20%
of programmes may disappear.
At the risk of being unpopular, I can see the logic of CEOs getting critical about CX.
As a profession, many of us confuse the tools and the tech with the financial, competitive and customer value results we are supposed to deliver.
Alain Thys is an experience architect who helps organisations drive profit and transformation through experience.