Isn’t it time to start investing in your customers? After all, you expect them to invest in you

CX appears to be in something of a crisis. With Forrester and others predicting that customer experience is on the decline and a host of articles being published about whether CX really adds value, many organisations are starting to question the return they are seeing for their CX investment.

Organisations are finding that their CX programmes are either not delivering the ROI they expected, or they are not able to attribute ROI directly to the programme and therefore, start to question its worth.

But the reasons for a CX programme failing are often not as black and white as the numbers suggest.

For most organisations, loyal customers are the holy grail. They measure Net Promoter Score, referrals, advocacy, recommendations and repeat purchase levels to determine customers loyalty. And yet their customer churn rate remains high and they find themselves having to top up the ‘leaky bucket’. Quite rightly then, they are asking themselves why their CX programme isn’t delivering on the numbers.

In short, whilst most organisations hope or assume that their customers will return, thereby investing in the company, they fail to show the same level of investment in their customers.  In many cases there is an expectation customers will return either because the company believes they offer a differentiated product or service to the market, or because they believe their customers are too apathetic to look for alternatives. Either way, they are relying upon their customers repeatedly giving both their time and money to them. Despite this, most organisations fail to invest significant time or money in their customers in return.

Organisations repeatedly under invest in their CX programmes, picking off the low hanging fruit and “quick wins” in the hope that they will see some return in a short space of time, with minimal outlay. The reality is, that building sustainable relationships with customers takes time, effort and money. Whilst the quick wins might deliver a short-term peak in customer’s experiences, it will quickly be trumped by competitors, new entrants, or just by customer’s increasing expectations.

Customers assume an organisation will use the information they have about them to provide an enhanced experience. However, many organisations fail to use their data effectively to build deep and meaningful relationships because it requires an investment in systems and data management that they are not willing to make. Creating a powerful customer data strategy takes time, resources and investment that many organisations are not willing to commit to, because they can see no immediate return. Instead, they use their customer’s data to relentlessly ask for feedback, expecting the customer to invest even more time, just so they can measure performance against a meaningless metric.

Whilst many organisations have introduced customer experience programmes, typically built around journey mapping and CX metrics, their focus often remains on operational targets, profitability and shareholder value. As long as this is the case, there will always be a struggle to implement longer-term strategic customer experience programmes that take time to develop and require conviction in their ultimate value and contribution.

The reality is that many organisations apply minimal effort to improving their customers experiences and yet expect a high level of return. In business, like in life, you typically only get out, what you put in. If an organisation is not willing to make a long-term and committed investment in creating real value for their customers, then they are unlikely to see much of a return from what really remains a superficial CX programme. They should also not expect their customers to show any significant loyalty to them, when they are not willing to repay this investment.