Over the past years we have seen the coming of age of the eXperience market. In order to avoid the ‘chicken and egg’ discussion around the precedence of either Customer Experience or Employee Experience, I use the word eXperience to refer to both. After all, the one can’t exist without the other and both depend strongly on the availability of relevant insights in order to prosper.
This first blog in a series of ten, looks at the ‘rise of eXperience’, the resulting changed demand for ‘insight’ and introduces the ‘insights architect’ in response to this change . In this series I will look at all the different aspects of designing and implementing a good ‘insights architecture’ that will support and uphold the CX Strategy.
The strategic importance of eXperience
Not that long ago ‘satisfaction’ and ‘loyalty’ were the key words, now eXperience (don’t forget the obligatory capital X) is what makes people sit up straight. This is not surprising considering the speed with which this phenomenon has secured itself a fixed seat in the board room. Everyone I speak to, agrees that eXperience has quickly gained a far more strategic position than ‘satisfaction’ ever did. This is, of course, a good thing! eXperience is the other, much more tactile side of a coin named ‘Brand’. It is the side that customers run into when they connect with your brand and if the two are not in line – if the experience you offer does not live up to the brand promise you make – your brand image will suffer. These days, managing eXperience IS managing brand!
Bring down the walls!
One of the most interesting and challenging consequences of managing eXperience (as many X Managers will know to their detriment) is that it requires a complete reshuffling of ‘organizational walls’. Customers don’t care in what process or department their eXperience was created. They just want it to be excellent. This is why organizations scoring high in any of the CX maturity scans, often have a very different organizational structure than those still climbing the ladder.
The quick growth of eXperience has also had a large impact on the demand for insight in the broadest sense of the word. If you want to manage the eXperience you offer, you need to understand how customers feel after interacting with the organization. Also, at least as important, if your employees are actually willing and capable to live up to the brand promises made. Without a consistent flow of actionable insight at different levels, managing eXperience is like steering a boat without a rudder.
eXperience requires an holistic approach to insight
In the same way that organizational walls are coming down, traditional ‘walls’ around data gathering, storing and reporting are also collapsing. Business Intelligence, Customer Relationship Management, Customer satisfaction, Employee Engagement; they all used to be individual trades, each delivering its own set of data, reports and more recently dashboards.
In the much more holistic approach of eXperience Management this can no longer be the case. In order to produce the much desired “consistent stream of relevant actionable insights”, data from different internal an external sources must be merged, cleaned, processed, analysed and reported in relation to each other, preferably on a daily basis.
This requires a structured, cohesive and architectural approach to ‘insight creation’. This is an approach that tends to be ‘out of scope’ for the individual departments responsible for the different information sources. Strategic research, customer and employee feedback and existing CRM and BI data mostly exist in parallel universes, even if results are all presented together in one BI environment. Sticking it all in one dashboard does not necessarily result in ‘actionable insight’. This requires alignment, integration and a thorough understanding of what makes insight ‘actionable’.
Conclusion: Actionable insight does not need more data, it needs an Architect
The time is right to add a new profession to the widening list of CX related titles; that of “eXperience Insights Architect”. The main focus of the job is to bridge the gap between the every growing amount of available data and the simultaneously growing need for relevant insights. Insights that can actually be used for what they are created for: the improvement of the customer experience.
In the next blog I will discuss why looking at insight as a goal in itself rather than as a means to an end, often results in ‘dead-ends reports’.