A few years back, FedEx learned that "the leaning tower of packages" at its retail locations was making many customers uneasy. Store employees would take a customer's package, and place it on the messy pile. Based on that simple visual cue, these customers worried that their package might very well get lost in their seemingly haphazard shipping process. FedEx had run into a problem that plagues many companies, and that is the subject of my latest report for Forrester, co-written with Tony Costa: CX Pros Are Blind to the Line of Visibility.
Most companies don't understand all of the complex interdependencies that shape their customer experience outcomes. Forrester surveyed CX professionals last year and found that while nearly two-thirds of them use customer journey maps to understand their customer experience, only one in five maps the CX ecosystem. So most CX pros do not understand how employees, business processes, technology systems, partners, and the operating environment come together to enable their customer experience.
And to make matters worse, this lack of understanding blinds them to what elements in their experience are visible or invisible to customers as they interact with the brand. This lack of visibility can lead to problems such as companies unintentionally exposing undesirable ecosystem elements to customers, hiding elements that could add value, or corrupting the experience through counterproductive policies and processes.
Moving forward, companies must design experiences to take into account the line of visibility. That means enlightening customers when they are in the dark by revealing more of their ecosystem, taking pains to hide what should be hidden, and celebrating aspects of the experience that can't be hidden. By doing this, CX pros can approach the line of visibility and the design of their experiences in a more intentional way that enhances the overall customer experience.
For more examples and recommendations about how to prevent avoidable customer experience mistakes by rethinking your ecosystem's line of visibility, head over to Forrester's website to read our report.
And please share your best line of visibility examples in the comments below.
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About the Author: Sam Stern is a Senior Analyst at Forrester Research serving Customer Experience professionals, serving Customer Experience professionals. Learn more about Forrester's customer experience practice at forrester.com/customerexperience.