Aaaarrrrgggghhhh!! Why is it so difficult to understand the importance of customer experience?

There is one thing I can guarantee that everyone reading this blog can agree with – we all know what it feels like to be a customer. We are all consumers. We all interact with different organisations every day – utility companies; the post office; telecoms companies; retailers; restaurants; hotels; petrol stations; dry cleaners – we are customers of all of them. We all have huge ‘libraries’ of experiences built up over the years we have interacted with them. Some of those experiences are fantastic. Some of those experiences are not so fantastic. We have all been customers for years (some of us admittedly longer than others!!). It is when you start to think about the fact that you have been having customer experiences for so long, that it becomes startlingly clear why recognising the importance of the customer is so obvious!

So why is it not obvious? Why do some companies just ‘not get it’? Why do business leaders seem to focus on everything and anything but doing the right thing for the customer? The men in suits that only seem to understand spread sheets and balance sheets are no different to you and I. They are all customers too! They have the same day-to-day interactions with companies as customers as we do.

I have had many conversations with senior leaders about their own customer experiences – experiences they have in their day-to-day lives. Experiences that are very personal to them. When you start to talk to people who run businesses about experiences personal to them, they often get very animated – as we all do. It is the perfect way to get the ‘lightbulb’ lit, so to speak. Encouraging people to talk about the customer experience from their own perspective is a very simple, yet extremely effective way to allow everyone to understand what you are trying to achieve.

You often do not need to tell the business leader, who has just described in minute detail the horrors of dealing with his Telecoms company, that the experience he has just described is bizarrely similar to the experience his own customers are having. If you are lucky, the business leader will twig this fact hallway through their ‘rant’! We will all have strategies for trying to influence organisations to focus on the customer. This is one way of doing it. Obviously, getting business leaders to experience the same customer journey as their customers is another, simple yet effective strategy.

So the next time you are sitting in a room of ‘men and women in suits’ and you are thinking ‘aaarrrggghhhhh!!! why do they just not get it’ – remind them that they are all customers themselves. Get them to talk about experiences as a customer – good and bad. Get them to recount stories of being let down – and the actions they took as a result. None of this will guarantee success – but when people remember that they are customers themselves, it often gets them to think differently.

Your comments on this or any of my blogs are most welcome.

2 thoughts on “Aaaarrrrgggghhhh!! Why is it so difficult to understand the importance of customer experience?

  1. Ian, l like this post! Influencing and convincing executives is a key skill for CX professionals. Human, personal stories – your own or real ones from the organisation move CX from conceptual to real. Another technique I like to use for the “men in suits” is an old advertising mantra – Don’t try to change beliefs, appeal to desires. And for this audience that means “Show me the Money” – the business case. You can see more on this on my own post. Interested to hear of other techniques people use – could make quite a nice collection!


  2. Good point well made. I think senior leaders can deliver a simple clear message to those at the sharp end of delivering customer services, treat the customer as you would want to be treated yourself. This makes their job easier and empowers them to make common sense decisions to the long term benefit of the company.


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