Sunday, April 20, 2014

Your Organization’s Customer Experience Maturity

In their highly recommended book, Outside In, Kerry Bodine and Harley Manning introduce the concept of identifying a company’s level of customer experience development or maturity.  The idea is a simple one, with maturity proceeding along a vertical axis from Improve to Transform and finally to Sustain.  Over time, the company advances from one stage of maturity to the next, with each passing stage being substantively different from its predecessor. 

In the first several posts of this blog, we’ve completed an initial qualitative and quantitative based initial assessment of your company’s CX activities.  Based on this evaluation, you should now be able to plot where your organization stands on the maturity spectrum.  Here’s a brief summary of Bodine and Manning’s idea as taken from Outside In...

Stage 1 - Improve
“In this first phase, organizations focus on finding and fixing customer experience problems.  Done right, the Improve phase is a great starting point because it produces steady, incremental advances to the experience over time.  This progression creates economic benefits like cost savings and increased customer loyalty.”

For this blog, we’re going to assume that your company is currently in the Improve phase, and we’ll devote the next several posts to developing a rigorous find and fix methodology that will serve as the foundation to your organization’s CX initiative.  This idea of a find and fix methodology can’t be emphasized enough, as without it, any other CX efforts risk being less than optimal.
For now, have a look at your assessment notes and ask, “ the company in the Improve stage where problems are being found and fixed, or is CX advanced beyond this phase?”  You may also want to consider whether your company is even at Stage 1 the organization in fact routinely identifying and resolving persistent customer issues?

Stage 2 - Transform
In the Transform phase, Manning and Bodine write, “...companies focus on adopting the six disciplines of customer experience (Strategy, Customer Understanding, Design, Measurement, Governance, and Culture).  Their goal is to stamp out the root causes of customer experience problems by changing the way they operate.”  They go on to say...”the point of the Transform phase is to create an environment in which mistakes don’t happen in the first place.” 

Again, thinking about your initial assessment, can you comfortably say that your company is routinely practicing Bodine and Manning’s six CX disciplines?  After a series of Improve posts, we’ll turn our attention to the all important Transform phase.

Stage 3 - Sustain
To again quote from Outside In, “When you routinely perform the practices in the six disciplines, you’ll consistently deliver the customer experience that you want to deliver.”  In addition, “...the obvious benefits of the Sustain phase...include reduced customer service costs because customers will have fewer problems to resolve.”

In the next post, we’ll begin “at the beginning” and assume your company is just starting off in the Improve phase.  We’ll start with a discussion on designing and establishing a closed-loop find and fix system that will serve as your organization’s CX foundation.

Outside-In, by Kerry Bodine and Harley Manning

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