23 Thoughts for Customer Experience in 2013

Customer Experience
Customer Experience
13 customer experience trends to watch and 10 common mistakes to avoid in 2013

Welcome to 2013! I'm looking forward to seeing a lot of excellent customer experience efforts this year. To help kick off the year, I've assembled 13 CX trends to watch and 10 CX mistakes to avoid.

CX management is maturing, having recently entered what we've labeled the Era of CX Professionalism. During this stage of evolution CX changes are cutting across organizational silos and best practices are becoming codified. Given this environment, I've identified 13 Customer Experience Trends to Watch in 2013:

1.Decline of surveys. Companies will rely less on multiple choice questions as a source of customer feedback.

2.Rise of text analytics. More insights will come from unstructured content like comments on surveys, calls into the contact center, social media conversations, and chat sessions with agents.

3. "Big data" predictive insights. Customer feedback will be combined with troves of other operational and customer data to predict customer attitudes and behaviors.

4.Anticipatory service. Service issues will be resolved before customers complain.

5.Experience-infused product development. Customer experience requirements will get embedded throughout entire product development processes.

6.Design-based process improvement. Quality, customer experience, and design thinking will come together in powerful organizational change efforts.

7.Loyalty-focused contact centers. The focus on long-term loyalty versus short-term costs will result in the on-shoring of previously off-shored contact center interactions.

8.Appreciation of employee assets. Employee engagement will become a key corporate priority.

9.Mobile, mobile, mobile. Interactions will be designed that combine smart phones with other channels.

10. Software as an Experience. Cloud-based software will begin a customer-centric transformation.

11.Resurgence of values. Organizations will articulate and recommit to a core set of values.

12.Rethinking risk-experience trade-offs. There will be more push-back on and elimination of conservative legal and compliance rules that create poor customer experience.

13.Continuing CX education. MBA programs and corporate training departments will create and teach more customer experience content.

Does this mean that we'll see all 13 of these trends show up across all companies? No. As a matter of fact, many companies won't see any of these trends. More than one-third of companies are still in the lowest stage of CX maturity. These trends will, however, appear in organizations that are further along their CX journeys, such as the finalists in our 2012 CX Excellence Award.

As you put together your CX plans for 2013, whether you're beginning the journey or well along the way, make sure to avoid these 10 common CX mistakes:

1. Faking executive commitment. It's very easy for an executive to say that he or she is committed to customer experience, but it takes much more than words to drive sustainable change across an organization.

2. Over-relying on customer surveys. Asking a barrage of multiple choice questions to customers might have made sense five years ago, but it's an ineffective use of a key asset, customer feedback.

3. Neglecting experience design. Companies focus on the basic requirements of an interaction but ignore the elements of design that can make the difference between customer anger and customer delight.

4. Treating all customers the same. Customers have different needs, interests, and familiarity with offerings, but companies often turn their backs on these differences. While it may sound appealing to deliver a great experience to everyone, it's an impractical goal for most companies.

5. Un-engaging new customers. Companies work very hard to get new customers, but they often ignore them after they write their first check.

6. Ignoring employees. Not surprisingly, customer experience programs focus on customers. But they often don't spend enough time cultivating one of their most important CX assets: employees.

7. Obsessing about detractors. Customer experience programs often focus mostly on fixing problems so that customers won't dislike the company, but they don't spend enough time figuring out how to make customers love them.

8. Forgetting to celebrate success. Customer experience leaders spend so much energy focusing on what needs to be improved that they often forget to appreciate the progress that has already been made.

9. Falling in love with a metric. Companies often get enamored with a metric like Net Promoter Score (NPS) and lose sight of what's really important: making improvements.

10. Mapping internal touchpoints. Companies often confuse internally focused touchpoint mapping with externally-focused customer journey mapping.

With so much going on, 2013 should be a fun year to be a CX professional.