CX is an Art, Not a Science to Gain Deeper Understanding of Customers
by Leigh Hamer | Last Updated: Sep 14, 2022
Customer Experience is about building a customer-centric operation that delights customers at every step of their journey. CX playbooks describe customer account plans that increase NRR (net revenue retention – what CX lives and dies by), churn out consistent customer success case studies, and how to build incredibly loyal brand advocates.When in reality, it’s more like the board game Chutes and Ladders.CX is an art, not a science.Some days you’re climbing the ladder with a client, growing their contract value and keeping them very happy. Then like a roll of the dice, you’re sliding down due to some unforeseen change. Maybe your main point of contact left. Maybe a pandemic hit, and the world turned upside down.Our roles revolve around people, their needs, and their expectations. These are not predictable things. I’ve even heard tales of them not being entirely rational. To excel at customer relations is to understand people. But this blog post isn’t for the CX leaders or CSMs. It’s for the customers. So I’d like you to consider a few questions:
What vendors understand you and your needs?
What vendors should understand you and your needs?
What vendors have been given the opportunity to understand you and your needs?
Do you like your vendor relationships?
I hate the term vendor relationships. At the level of loathe and despise. I want partnerships. I want business relationships surrounding me and my team that aid us in our goals. It’s a happier place to be and a more fruitful one from my experience.So here’s the candid truth: Want better customer service? Be a better customer. Or better yet, don’t be just a customer. Instead, transcend the quid-pro-quo of customer-vendor relationships and form a partnership.CX is the internal customer advocate. We’re the messenger bearing candid feedback, frustrations, and wish-list items back to our team. We can only share what we understand. Let us in.To my fellow CX colleagues, remember that this means we must also advocate to the customer for what’s in their best interest. It’s not always the most comfortable conversation, but done adeptly, it yields amazing results. I find that a simple line of questioning either gets the discussion rolling or kills it on the spot. Either way, you know whether this customer is a customer or a partner.Types of questions to ask your customers:
Here’s what I don’t understand about your company’s processes. Can you help me fill in the blanks?
Based on the last project, it seems [customer name] ultimately made all the final decisions even though they aren’t the department boss. I’d like to understand how decisions are really made on your team and how I can help you with the next project.
In this last project, how could our team have done a better job anticipating some needs and improving communication?
These answers will help uncover insights to create successful customer partnerships. Anyone in customer experience understands that the concept of becoming a “trusted partner” is difficult to achieve. At the end of the day, the key to growth isn’t found in being all things to all people but in developing purposeful strategic customer partnerships.