The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of CX 


The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of CX 

Is it just me or has CX entered the land of the Wild Wild West? Frequently labelled a ‘frivolous’ concept by the uninformed, Customer Experience actually has little to do with ‘warm and fuzzy’ and more to do with core fundamental business principles. It relies heavily on due diligence, governance, and most importantly, strategy. The pandemic has forced companies to innovate and wake up to CX which has been a huge win for the customer (the good), but oftentimes businesses don’t have a real strategy in place (the bad). This is when we start to see lawlessness taking over and the CX cracks begin to show (the ugly).


Shooting from the hip

Hurry up and automate, hurry up and digitise, hurry up and offer your service online. Sound familiar? Chances are you’re experiencing this panic in your own organisation, and rightly so. You do need to innovate and move with the times; you can’t afford to get left behind. But doing so with haste and impulse will not be of service to the customer in the long term. There are a lot of boxes that need to be ticked before implementing a digital CX strategy. What many companies are doing is relying on external tech vendors to magically solve their problems, without any real immersion into the process or genuine customisation. On top of this, they don’t have any metrics in place to measure the performance of a new system, or they haven’t a clue what to do with the customer data. This all comes down to not taking the necessary time to develop a proper plan. I can think of a few examples where, as a customer I’ve been excited about the automation of a service, only to be let down by its execution or functionality. The ‘Mobile Experience’ is a prime example. Banking apps can make things super complicated, and I’d be here all day if I had to list my woes with the local grocer app. Answer me this, why can I never find what I’m looking for in the search bar, but yet the item is theoretically on the ‘digital shelf?’ My worst is when an online system won’t recognise my login and password when it’s worked previously. Yes, subscription sites, I’m looking at you!

I wish more companies knew that rushing their innovation ‘plans’ is just plain reckless. You have to deliver a customer’s experience on the customer’s terms, not yours. All I hear around boardroom tables is the word DEADLINE. While deadlines are important, they hold us accountable, I think we sometimes allow them to compromise the integrity of a project.

You should never be chasing a deadline to please the higher-ups in the organisation or certain stakeholders if the customer will suffer as a result. This is short-sighted and the sales chart will reflect it.


Getting back in the saddle

So, let’s get back to those CX principles I was talking about. Really good CX strategies live by the basics. They are goal-orientated, structured, and revolve 100% around the customer’s journey at EVERY touchpoint.

Not every good idea is a good idea. All proposed CX improvement needs to be dissected, put back together, and then dissected again.  Ultimately what you want to achieve is a more consistent approach to your CX strategy. This can be slower at times but will yield more effective results.

I will be unpacking fundamental CX principles in detail at our upcoming CX Masterclass. Join us on 21 & 22 October (2021) at the CTICC and learn how to build a solid CX framework. We teach you how to really get under the skin of your customer and provide practical CX tools that you can start using right away.

See here for more information:

True or false: If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it?

The quote in the title of this blog was allegedly made famous by management consultant, Peter Drucker. I say allegedly because some of the internet trolls will tell you that it actually wasn’t Mr. Drucker, but another mystical business economist. There’s also an ongoing debate about if it was indeed quality and process control guru W. Edwards Deming who challenged Mr. Drucker by saying “It is wrong to suppose that if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it – a costly myth.” On both sides, you will find streams of arguments that are either in support of Mr. Drucker’s quote or aim to debunk it.

I stand firmly by this quote, and not just because I’ve spent 16 years building a CX company that is underpinned by the measurement philosophy, but because it just makes sense! How can you improve on an offering if its success cannot be tracked? If you don’t have a clear metric in place to measure your progress, all you have is guesswork and we all know that assumption is the mother of.

A lot of business leaders we chat to, who still aren’t yet sold on the power of CX (wakey wakey), will tell us that if sales are looking good, there’s no reason to invest in ‘costly’ metrics and deeper insights. Yes, this is what we have been told, in the age of data and tech, we STILL get businesses telling us that measurement is not a financial priority right now. The real issue, however, is not the investment in the metrics, it’s managing the data. They aren’t quite sure what to do with it. So, our job then becomes one of educating businesses on what managing the data actually looks like and highlighting the return on this investment.

If you’re one of these businesses that are on the measurement fence, here’s a little crash course in what measurement can do for you:

Track client satisfaction – figures on the sales chart only give you half the picture. Just because your new product is currently moving, this does not guarantee repeat or long-term business. Customers can be fickle. It doesn’t take a lot to turn their heads and move on to the next supplier. Those handsome sales figures can start to look very different in only a few months. Understanding what makes your clients tick will go a long way in gaining their trust and loyalty. This will not only assist client retention but help with acquisition too.

Incentivise clients to use your product or service –by measuring the success of your product or service, you can structure a rewards programme that adds continuous value to the lives of your customer. By this, I mean finding the win-win. Let me use the Discovery Insure programme as an example. By tracking their client’s driving behaviour, they can improve on their rewards programme in a way that incentivises customers to keep driving with the tracker. Drive well and get a free set of tyres (customer win). Good tyres and responsible driving habits equal lower insurance claims (business win).

Hold employees accountable – by tracking data and measuring client satisfaction, a business can identify where the cracks are in the system. This can then be looped back to employee performance and KPIs.

Lower your operational costs – insights into what’s working and what’s not enable you to change your approach. If you discover that an expensive digital system you’ve put in place is actually not serving your customer, you can re-assess. We’ve had clients that have used customer insights to cut operational costs dramatically, just by being able to identify unnecessary process or systems in their business. Customers can be amazing ‘tools’ for business growth, you just have to listen to them.

Ongoing value offering through agility – a well-oiled machine is what you’re after. If you can commit to regular measurement and tracking of progress, you can become agile. Today’s customer insights are not going to serve you in 12 months’ time. It’s an ongoing process and one that keeps you adaptable and ahead of your competitors. All because you consistently add value to your customer.


5 components that drive customer loyalty

5 components that drive customer loyalty

Attracting customers is probably the hardest part of business. Retaining them is even harder. Throw into the mix a tough economic climate, and an ever-changing customer, and you’ve got your work cut out for you. 

But this is where I get excited, because the more difficult it has become to attract customers, the simpler it’s become too. You see, in the good old days, businesses concerned themselves merely with offering their product or service, but today that will only get you so far. With all the choice customers now have, they are more likely to stick with a business that goes beyond the product or service. This is where the ‘simpler’ part comes in because it doesn’t cost anything. All that’s required is a bit of integrity. 

Conducting business with integrity is now a critical part of the customer experience. It builds loyalty and trust, which are key factors in purchasing decisions. As a business differentiator, it’s really a no-brainer, and it baffles me that so many companies still don’t get it. According to the 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer Report, 81% of consumers said that they need to be able to trust a brand in order to buy from them. In another report, 86% surveyed said that authenticity is a key factor in deciding which companies to support. These figures are representative too of the B2B purchaser. In fact, trust plays an even bigger role in B2B since in most cases, customers are locked into long-term contracts. 

The best way, I believe, to approach earning customer trust and working with integrity is to remember that customers are people. Just like you, they have pain points and emotional needs. Every customer interaction is an opportunity for your company to act with purpose and deliver value that resonates on a human level. Get this right, and you’ll be rewarded with customer loyalty for years to come. 

Below I’ve shared five components that a business should encompass to help drive customer loyalty: 

  1. Honesty – this one seems obvious, but you’d be surprised how many companies either outright lie to a customer or bend the truth. There really is no coming back from this. Your customer won’t accept dishonesty because it feels personal. Be honest in all interactions, and don’t be afraid to say you don’t have the answer. 
  2. Transparency – laying your cards out on the table establishes trust and goodwill between business and customer. Some examples of transparency include divulging future company plans, sharing past failures, hiring policies, diversity stats, and overall profit. By allowing customers a peek through the ‘glass window’ of your business, companies are then more motivated to continuously earn their customer’s trust and work to improve on their offering.
  3. Ethics – this speaks to the core values of your business. It acts as a guideline on how a business conducts itself. Companies that operate with morality and consider right from wrong, have more longevity with a customer. Ethical practice also shows customers what your business is passionate about and how this passion is carried through in all customer interactions.  
  4. Accountability – Customers are human beings so they understand that mistakes happen. They are actually a lot more forgiving than businesses give them credit for. It’s when companies don’t take accountability for their actions that they risk sending customers out the door. Acknowledge where you’ve gone wrong and take corrective steps to get back on track. It can also be a chance to turn a bad experience into a really good one. 
  5. Partnership – we all crave a sense of belonging, and an alliance mentality or attitude can create this for a customer. If you approach your customer relationship as a ‘long-term’ partnership rather than a transactional one, they will feel safer doing business with you. It’s a “we have your back” philosophy.

You can’t fake care

You can’t fake care

Living through a global health crisis gets you thinking, especially when it comes to medical care. Why are we surprised by good healthcare service? Surely good service in the healthcare sector is a natural by-product of the job, I mean healthcare workers get paid to ‘care’ and to be of service, right? Well, what I’ve come to realise is that it’s a little more complicated than that. Healthcare is an extremely demanding sector, and even more so now that we are in the middle of a pandemic. The high-stress levels, fear of contracting covid-19, the long hours, and in some instances, questionable pay, lead to frequent burnout and job dissatisfaction. This makes it all the more impressive when you are faced with workers in health facilities who are serving with smiles on their faces (particularly at this difficult time). These are the workers who are genuinely devoted to what they do, and make one see that at the end of the day, you really can’t fake care. 

Job vs Responsibility 

Authentic care will strike a chord with a person. It will resonate emotionally, and when an experience makes an impact on an emotional level, people will talk about it. Take, for example, the abundance of complimentary posts recently made by South Africans on social media, praising the service they have received at covid-19 vaccination sites across the country. In one post I read, a gentleman said he’d never experienced such care and seamless service at a health facility before. He said he felt like the health workers were with him every step of the way.  

And if I can shamelessly use this opportunity to name drop one of our clients (enter perks of having your own blog here 😊), the Cape Town Convention Centre (CTICC) has done a formidable job in offering Capetonians a reliable vaccination facility, receiving first-rate reviews from the public. This level of care and service excellence, I think, comes down to workers feeling like they are a part of something bigger than their daily duties, that they are a part of something they can believe in. This is the kind of care that is infectious and shines through in every part of the worker’s job. 

If I think back to January this year when I was hospitalised for COVID-induced breathing complications, I’m still in awe of the Kingsbury Hospital staff, and how they treated their patients. This was not just a job for them, it was a responsibility, and one they took on with passion, valour, and devotion. In addition to daily patient monitoring, administering of medication, changing drips, etc., I watched the nursing staff take on an endless list of tasks with pure compassion. They washed patients, clipped toenails, did their hair, helped them face-time their loved ones, and even fed those who couldn’t feed themselves. All of this was done with such genuine care and friendliness.

Willingness vs Capacity

I could go on sharing inspiring stories but let me get to the crux of the real message I want to leave you with today. The difference between service that is delivered with authentic care and service that lacks thought can be boiled down to ‘willingness’ vs ‘capacity.’ Some staff have the willingness to provide a good customer experience, but they are not empowered. They may have all the right intrinsic ingredients for the job, only to be let down by the companies’ systems or processes. On the other side of the coin, there are staff that has the capacity, but not the willingness. These are usually people who are not the correct fit for a role or for various reasons have ‘checked out.’ To deliver real care and a world-class customer experience, companies and their staff need to have both willingness and capacity. It’s the marriage of seamless processes and the right employees that will leave a lasting impression on a customer. 

In healthcare, this is sometimes easier said than done, as there is often so much working against medical workers. This is when care should go both ways. I’m sure you’ve all experienced a complete turnaround in service when you’ve demonstrated empathy and understanding of an employee’s circumstance. We’re all human after all. 

To end off, let’s give a virtual round of applause to the brave medical staff who are working tirelessly with passion and care to help save lives. 

A quick guide to modernising your CX


A quick guide to modernising your CX

Blogpost by Nathalie Schooling

Don’t worry, I’m not going to harp on about how you need to use technology to improve your CX. You already know that technology has an important role to play in a modern CX strategy. Instead, what I want to highlight is how to build your CX strategy around the modern customer.

In our work as CX specialists, it’s alarmingly evident that many companies are falling behind in adapting to where their customers are at today. They appear to be preoccupied with ‘modernising’ their CX strategy by way of digital advancements or improvements only. While this is important, I urge companies to make sure they aren’t putting the cart before the horse.

To truly deliver on an exceptional customer experience, you need to speak to your customer’s values. This comes down to having deep client insights. Where companies sometimes go wrong is when they try to retrofit their updated processes or digital systems to the customer’s needs, when in fact, it needs to work the other way around. To quote Steve Jobs “You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology.”

Here is my quick guide to modernise your CX strategy with a customer-first approach:

  1. Expect the unexpected– client expectations are constantly changing, and at times they can be surprising. If you’re going to invest in digital advancements, be sure the tech is scalable. You need to be able to ramp up or reign things in at any time, depending on what your client needs are in real-time. The more flexible and agile you can be, the better.
  2. Stay connected–even as B2B buyers become more reliant on digital tools, research has shown that they crave human connection and empathetic interactions. Ask yourself if your ‘modern’ system leaves room for personal connection, or is it an isolating experience?
  3. Be ‘woke’ – Conscious business is not just for the hip youth start-ups. A Nielsen study shows that 2 in 3 consumers will spend more with companies that show a commitment to positive social change or issues. The modern customer is interested in purpose-led business. See how their journey with you can make them feel a part of something bigger.
  4. Get personal – if you aren’t personalising your CX by now, chances are you’re getting left behind. Today’s customers are busy, stressed, overworked (the list goes on). If you can think for them by anticipating their needs and personalising their experience, you will be welcomed with open arms. Better yet, you’ll get repeat business, because personalisation done right is the key to customer loyalty.
  5. Tech you later alligator– leave the tech for last. Don’t start with the technology in the hopes that it will work for the customer. If you focus on getting the steps above right first, you can then customise the tech to suit, and everybody wins.


Read my previous blog ‘ Data Rich, Insight Poor?, where I discuss how to use data correctly to better understand your clients changing needs.


3 easy steps to determine ROI on CX

Making the case for CX to the higher-ups has been one of the biggest bugbears for a lot of our clients. Believe me, we feel your pain. You are measured against KPI’s that require robust growth plans and client retention strategies. You put so much work into building solid action plans to meet your goals, and a big part of that plan is improving the experience of the customer. The problem is, you’re told that there is no money for CX, that it’s not a priority right now. But you’re accountable for growth? It can sometimes feel like you’re being set up to fail.

Since CX has become the number one differentiator over price and product, companies cannot afford to ignore its role in achieving growth. For a sales team to meet target, or a client retention manager to increase loyalty and retain business, in today’s competitive climate, investing in CX is the only way to reach that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Think about it, as a customer yourself, do you put money or time behind a product or service if you’re not getting a good experience? It doesn’t make any sense, and the research is telling.

Let’s just chew on some stats for a second:

So why are the higher-ups still not sold on CX?  Well, it’s easy for CX to be seen as a ‘soft’ sell since the ROI is not always clear to CEOs. You are fighting a particularly hard battle if you’re expected to report on the ROI of CX overnight because it’s not always a short-term fix. In the words of Steve Jobs, ‘If you look really closely, overnight success took a long time.” This is not to say that your CX Strategy will start smelling bad and grow mold before you start seeing results, in fact, you can cut the time it takes to see results by more than half if you just take the right approach and consider your metrics.

Below I’ve shared three starting points on how to go about calculating the desired ROI on a solid CX strategy:

  1. Acknowledge where you are at – look at the ‘awful truth’ of where your baseline currently sits. Objectively look at your ‘averages’ and allocate an accurate starting point from which you can build on. If you know where you were, you can see how far you’ve come
  2. Pin down the numbers–e.g., reduced customer churn, revenue growth, increased cross-sales, and reduced cost to serve over a period of time. Did you know that offering a high-quality customer experience can lower the cost to serve customers by up to 33%? Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Mr. CEO.
  3. Use the results from CX metrics to drive further research and future decisions– don’t stop at a Client Satisfaction Score (CSS) or Net Promoter Score (if you’ve followed my vlog, you’ll know how much I disklike NPS), instead use this data as a guide to uncover even deeper insights into your customers – and link these insights directly back to your business KPIs, e.g., average time for conversion (not just looking at the numbers but tapping into the WHY)

When it’s done right and is considered a priority, CX yields a strong return on investment.  Growth is the result of increased market share, which can easily be gained at the expense of competitors unable to match a great customer experience.  If you can solidify your approach to measuring the return as outlined above, make the necessary changes, and keep to your word, you’re on your way to proving the power of great CX and reaping the rewards.


The dark side of digitisation in CX

May the 4th (IR) be with you this Star Wars day!


As May 4th marks Star Wars day, I find myself thinking about the films somewhat anti-technology viewpoint, or rather, its message of not letting technology override human intuition, or ‘the force.

This got me pondering about how the digitisation of our world has changed so much about how we interact, or no longer interact, and I wondered if anyone else out there is craving good old- fashioned human contact?

I think that I may have just reached that stage. We shop online, we ‘socialise’ online, we don’t even need to talk to anyone to order a taxi anymore. Then there’s that watch. You know the sort: the one connected to your phone. It seems to know more about one’s health than even your doctor does.

So yes, we may have chosen to surround ourselves with technology and embrace digitisation, but does that mean that we want for nothing more? The next time I pick up the phone and use it to make a phone call (I think phones are still capable of that?), wouldn’t it be nice to connect with a human being? But alas, that never seems to be the case as far as the customer experience (CX) is concerned.  Does that mean we’re all doomed and fated for a lonely existence? Are we to be cast into oblivion, or will the Empire strike back?

“I’m only a droid” – 3-CPO

Perhaps you’re not overly concerned with my personal experience on the matter, after all, we’ve all lost that personal touch, but I’m going to tell you anyway. Today was the day that my dishwasher decided it was done. Error code after error code and noises that wouldn’t sound out of place during an intergalactic battle. I reached out for help. First off, I thought I could find a telephone number, but oh no, it was never going to be that easy. I spent a good 20 minutes trying to persuade a chatbot that I needed to actually speak to someone. I’m not sure if a chatbot recognises writing in capitals as aggressive and angry but I threw plenty of exclamation marks in for good measure. Finally, with a phone number at hand, I was ready to talk to someone and I thought that would be my issues resolved.  This is when I realised that I would have been better off as the glass-half-empty kind of gal. Would you believe I spent 35 minutes on the phone? 35 minutes stuck with a God-awful automated system that had no clue what I needed. Is it just me, or does anyone detest these darn creations?

“Do. Or do not. There is no try.” – Yoda

I’d reached the stage where I’d had enough and wanted no more to do with this company that couldn’t even answer my phone call. It appears that perhaps it’s not just me that has these feelings and frustrations around AI and digitisation. Research suggests that a whopping 86% of people just like me would rather speak to a human than an automated system. And 71% claim that the lack of human interaction could turn them away from a brand altogether.

The thing is you see, digitisation is great. If it weren’t for technology, you wouldn’t even be reading this (and I have no doubt you’ll be reading to the end!), but we are social creatures and we all need a degree of interaction. If tech makes my life easier and the customer experience more straightforward forward then of course I’m all for it, but it seems that certain companies use tech for the sake of using tech, claiming that it improves their CX. The truth, however, is that there is no consideration given to the end-user experience.

“May the force be with you” – Obi-Wan Kenobi

I am keen to stress that I am not a Luddite. I have no desire to start a rebellion, in fact I’m a bit of an Ewoks fan and they were more tech-obsessed than a certain Mr. Musk. Speaking of Mr. Musk, and just how dark things can get,  who can ignore Tesla making headlines recently when two men lost their lives while using the auto-pilot feature in one of their electric cars.

My issue is that it’s all gone too far. If companies would take a moment to listen, perhaps they would see that we’re not impressed by the fancy system that they’ve just paid millions to install. Was it for us, the customer? Was to improve their CX? No, it benefited them and them alone.

As we venture through the darkness brought by this technological rain cloud, stay strong my friends. No doubt change will come, but until then, May the 4th be with you!

For more insights on digitisation and CX, read my previous blog on Empathy and the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Why an effective continuous improvement program is essential to good CX

continuous improvement

We live in a world of increasing customer expectations.

As a result, businesses are spending more than ever before on customer experience. Between 2012 and 2017, global spending increased threefold. Last year, companies spent a whopping $508 billion on CX. This is projected to increase to $641 billion by 2022.

Much of these funds major CX initiatives. Overhauling online interfaces, introducing customer-friendly in-store technologies, and the like.

While these can offer a solid return on investment (ROI) if done properly, what’s even more important is developing a culture of continuous improvement when it comes to CX. Here, the focus isn’t on grand schemes, but ongoing incremental change to existing systems and processes.

While perhaps less sexy than a major overhaul, an effective continuous improvement program typically offers better ROI, especially over the longterm. It also involves the kind of cultural change I’ve been advocating in recent blogs (see here). In a world of increasing customer expectations, this is the only sure way to maintain an edge over competitors.

The core principles of continuous improvement

The thinking behind continuous improvement in an organisational context emerged out of the world-beating Japanese manufacturing industry of the 1980’s.

There are a number of different continuous improvement methodologies – for marketing geeks, names like Lean, Kaizen, and Six Sigma will ring a bell. I’ll spare you the details, but needless to say, they all share the same core elements.

Each involves a cycle, running through stages from identifying opportunities to planning for and implementing change, measuring its impact, and making adjustments accordingly.

It’s important to emphasise the cyclical nature of the process. Once initiated, the intention is that it will continue indefinitely, such that businesses are constantly looking for things they can do better, planning and implementing reforms, assessing the results, and tweaking where necessary.

How to continually improve customer experiences

Customer experience gurus Comm100 have devised a continuous improvement strategy for CX based on the Six Sigma methodology.

Their framework is broken down into the following stages:

The first stage requires insights into how customers feel about their interactions with your business. Customer journey mapping is useful here, helping to define each customer touch-point.

When it comes to finding out how customers feel about these touch-points, there’s only one place to start – ask your customers!

Ideally, you need a combination of quantitative and qualitative data. The former can be gathered using metrics such as the Customer Satisfaction Score or the Net Promoter Score (NPS). I recently wrote a blog about the NPS, where I discussed its limitations and the need to complement it with in-depth, qualitative research. This can be done through surveys, questionnaires, or focus groups. Alternatively, rich insights can often be acquired by mining your social media accounts.

Once any pain points in the customer journey are identified, the next step is to address them.

Never underestimate the capacity for small adjustments to have a big impact. Amazon’s introduction of 1-click ordering on its website – a direct response to customer feedback – is thought to have generated billions in extra sales.

After carefully planning for change, the next stage is implementation. Too many good ideas fail at this point due to poor execution. To succeed, it’s critical to have buy-in from responsible departments and stakeholders.

The same tools that provided your insights at the planning stage are then re-applied in evaluating the change. A comparison between client satisfaction scores before and after will be useful, but again, qualitative data is essential for a deep understanding. Particularly when it comes to tweaking the change for further improvement.

Happily, the endpoints of CX and continuous improvement strategies are perfectly aligned. Both aim to achieve permanent cultural change. Once this is achieved, the cycle of constantly identifying customer pain points before tweaking systems and processes to bring about improvements becomes self-sustaining.

For the customer, this means constantly improving service, for businesses, an invaluable competitive edge.

Boost sales by up to 30%

At nlighten, we’ve developed an effective, tried, and tested voice of customer methodology, which we’ve called ‘insights’. It’s proved to be highly effective – we’ve seen clients report sales increases by up to 30% thanks to insights. Our services are all about taking the guesswork out of managing and meeting your customers’ expectations. nlighten researchers work hard to source valuable feedback by personally connecting with your customers and asking questions designed to generate useful responses that you can act upon.


Get Help from nlighten!

We offer an array of services to develop effective customer journeys and improve your CX strategy. To hear more about how we can help highlight your value to customers and enhance their experiences,  contact us today!

Why breaking down silos is essential to great CX and how to do it

breaking down silos

In all but the smallest organisations, there’s a tendency for silos to develop.

This isn’t entirely a bad thing. After all, most companies rely on specialist teams to carry out key functions. Necessarily, this entails higher levels of communication within teams than between them.

While this kind of compartmentalisation is fine, all too often, it leads to a situation where teams, or different levels in a businesses hierarchy, stop communicating effectively with other parts of the business.

That’s when you have a serious problem.

The problem with silos and why they are bad for customer experience

By definition, siloing involves a failure to freely share information and ideas throughout an organisation.

This seriously hinders innovation. It also prevents management from gaining insights into the challenges facing a business and therefore, managing these effectively.

Silos are deeply incompatible with a successful CX strategy. The reason for this is that ensuring great experiences for customers at every touchpoint requires a shared, customer-centric culture across an organisation.

Looking at it from the customer or client’s perspective (as we always should), dealing with a business with entrenched silos is a total nightmare. We’ve all been there – having to explain the same issue again and again to different departments that give the distinct impression of being worlds unto themselves.

There are few things that annoy customers more.

How to break down silos once they have developed

Breaking down silos isn’t about restructuring. The key is communication.

Without a plan for ensuring information is shared between different parts of a business, a restructure will simply replace one set of silos with another.

The focus needs to be on developing a culture where every team and every level of the business, from the CEO down, works together to realise a common vision.

In my earlier blog on how to inspire the kind of cultural change needed for CX success, I suggested creating a senior position with responsibility for customer experience initiatives and improvements. Happily (and not at all coincidently), this is also a great way to break down silos.

A key responsibility of the role I’m envisaging  – ‘Customer Experience Officer’, if you will – is to champion the voice of the customer throughout the organisation. This means ensuring that every employee, no matter what their department or role, is focused on the end game of creating great experiences for customers or clients. It also involves making sure different teams are sharing information and data, and collaborating wherever possible.

Journey maps are another useful tool that can help break down silos. As well as providing invaluable insights into the way customers or clients interact with a business, they enable these insights to be shared across teams and hierarchies. This helps ensure all areas of the business, no matter how specialised, is focused on the bigger picture.

US customer service specialists CSP recommend having staff spend half a day in different teams as a way of breaking down silos. Apart from helping people get to know each other, this enables insights into what other departments really do and how their work impacts different parts of the business. Gaining a better understanding of how other areas of the business function helps staff view their own roles more holistically, encouraging a “one company” culture.

Finally, a set of authentic company values as well clearly articulated understanding of why customers or clients should buy from you, can be a terrific way to instill a sense of common purpose. It goes without saying that ‘put the customer first in everything you do’ should be at the top of the list.

Boost sales by up to 30%

At nlighten, we’ve developed an effective, tried and tested voice of customer methodology, which we’ve called ‘insights’. It’s proved to be highly effective – we’ve seen clients report sales increases by up to 30% thanks to insights. Our services are all about taking the guesswork out of managing and meeting your customers’ expectations. nlighten researchers work hard to source valuable feedback by personally connecting with your customers and asking questions designed to generate useful responses that you can act upon.

A number won’t tell you “the why?” Replace vague scores with detailed insights

infomercial blog


Are you deriving as much value from your customer or client feedback as you could be? Far too many companies from various industries fail to act on the feedback they receive or to interpret it efficiently, which can make the whole process seem somewhat futile.  In my experience it’s a tick box, a metric for “internal use only”!

The problem with scores

Without any real understanding of what your scores mean, it’s tough to make any real improvements to the way that you operate. By obtaining more valuable, laser focused and detailed feedback (customer/client verbatim), you can gain a hugely valuable insight into the way your business is seen through the eyes of your customer/client and make real changes that will massively boost your performance and reputation. These insights can help you improve client churn and identify a host of new opportunities for increasing sales.

What do they really think?

If you’re not sure what the score means, or why it was given, you will struggle to identify and implement the right changes. For instance, 70% may seem like a satisfactory score to some yet a mediocre rating to others. If you have scored around 70%, how do you know what steps to take to improve this? Things can be particularly difficult if your clients and customers have provided no real reasons for their scores. It can be very hard to get the in-depth analysis you need via traditional surveying methods. If you send out an online survey, chances are people will provide you with rating but only brief details about how they came to the score if any at all.

We would appreciate your insights !

Please let us know if this is the reality in your organisation?

What do you do with the feedback you receive from your customers or clients?


Boost sales by up to 30%

At nlighten, we’ve developed an effective, tried and tested voice of customer methodology, which we’ve called ‘insights’. It’s proved to be highly effective – we’ve seen clients report sales increases by up to 30% thanks to insights. Our services are all about taking the guesswork out of managing and meeting your customers’ expectations. nlighten researchers work hard to source valuable feedback by personally connecting with your customers and asking questions designed to generate useful responses that you can act upon.


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