why bother with modern-day CX?

continuing with the modern-day CX project, it is time for the question that’s in everybody’s (who cares about doing CX right) mind: why do i care? why should i change what i am doing with CX? why modern-day versus — say, golden days CX?

i would like to say good question – but it is not. in a world where only 1 out of three brands doing CX found a way to measure it properly to justify it, where only 1/4 can deliver an effective experience across more than one channel, and where only 1/10 can truly personalize an experience — i’d say it is not working for the most part, wouldn’t you?

of course, if you’re the 1-out-of-however-many — kudos, and remember – CX is iterative, so you will have to version-up in the near future, so — keep reading (phew, good save… like i am going to let anyone slip away… yeah)

let us get back to the question at hand then, why?

five reasons (the above show your CX is not working as it should: omnichannel delivery, end-to-end tracking, and easy-to-justify where the bastions of the proposed adoption for your CX initiative; the below are why you can fix it).

data is not what they used to be

platforms are not what they used to be

CX solutions are not what they used to be

business models are not what they used to be

your customers are not what they used to be

notice a common element? other than an amazing use of alliteration and cadence (thanks, i constantly try to write better), the common thread is that nothing is what it used to be — and no, it is not because of the pandemic or the supply chain “issues” or inflation — although those are good examples of changes in the market that you need to address (but they are short term changes, versus the constant of time and evolution) — but because we learned a lot, and you need to embrace that to improve your next iteration (told you you’d have to pay attention even if you were hitting all your goals).

let me address, briefly, the items above.

Digital Transformation

(thanks wordpress for losing my most fantastic section writing in ages, let’s see if i can recreate magic…. sigh)

i am not talking about adding digital to anything (see circa 2000, “adding e- to the beginning of everything does not make it better, makes you less knowledgeable” — which is not an article or post, but a-something that should be written since we all know that by now) as a way to make it “buzzword-compliant”.

i am talking about the actual purpose of digital transformation. no, the pandemic did not accelerate digital transformation or digital adoption, it changed business model to have to address non-traditional channels and interfaces (see messaging apps, in-place apps, commerce-driven operations, etc.) – this is not digital revolution, this is basically a business evolution.

there is a way that digital transformation affects modern-day CX, and i wrote some about this before, and that is the data usage cycle.

the CX data usage cycle impacts two critical promises made by CX: improves personalization and deep profiles (including consent), and improves process optimization and “journey and pathways” matching (the link takes you to my video page where i discuss this with Graham Hill).

when you have those two, you are in a higher level of CX.

Technical Debt Reduction

wait, wait, wait, wait. wait.

i am not going to go deep into discussions of distributed computing, real cloud versus SaaS, private versus hybrid versus public cloud, or hosted versus cloud. or anything about technical stacks. this is not THAT type of place, for crying out loud.

(I mean, if you want to have that discussion – glad to comply, but not in a blog)

we all know we are behind in technology integration between legacy and new tech. i am not going to provide data or venture into discussing that , we all know we are in technical debt (41 percent of IT budgets is spent in technical debt, would you like some of that back?)

if you want to add ai (doesn’t exist, but marketers did a search-and-replace in their content for “find analytics replace with ai”) to your solutions, for example, you will be constrained by some of the data you have existing in places where it is not easily accessible, or being in the right format, etc. most of this is solved by real digital transformation (see above), but that is not the purpose of this paragraph.

you have technical debt, and it is affecting how you do CX.

if you embrace modern day cx – if you attempt to understand how journeys and pathways intersect, how data usage affects experiences, how personalized interactions give customers what they are seeking – then you will need to embrace your technical debt and address it.

but you had to do that anyways… virtually all IT and Enterprise Architecture groups have been tasked for the better part of the last 3-5 years with updating their enterprise architecture to take advantage of native cloud, platforms, and ecosystems.

modern-day CX is a great reason to tackle that project – the promises made by CX that could not yet be realized (see intro to this post) are that much closer and possible if you have an ecosystem running through a central platform with a common data model. the why bother with modern-day CX in this case comes down to being able to, finally, move those modernization projects forward by using a real-world scenario as the reason why.

CX coming-of-age

why does modern-day cx matter? because old, ratty CRM solutions cannot deliver what you think they can. paraphrasing the princess bride, i don’t think it does what you think it does.

CRM was great in the mid- to late-1990s. even in the early aughts, when the company saw only one way to do thing, online communities and social media did not exist, and customers were no empowered. do you want to know how to contact us for support? call us and wait n (between 5 and eternity) minutes on hold, don’t get your issue resolved – or do it over many days, and feel like the company don’t care. but we don’t live in that era anymore.

the mid-aughts brought the rise of social media and connections between people (that darn internet and its ubiquitousness), and the late-aughts brought with it a “grand recession” and a reset in the mind of the customer. combine with these two things and you have a new way to do business – outside-in. customer in control, demanding, and with expectations. CRM was not built to address that, it was built to handle only one demanding owner: the company.

as brands venture online and meet customers in their turfs, they see the need to enable experiences, empower customers, give them access to more data and more information. the cost of acquiring new customers shot up from 4-6 times that or retaining one, to magnitudes above that – not because of one single customer, but because they talk to each others. resolution is not longer what the brand thinks it is, it is what the customer wants. the 2010’s brought with them massive change – and digital transformation (see above).

why should you embrace modern day cx? because your customers are leading it, and you need them.

Business Transformation

yeah, yeah, yeah. business is constantly transforming. new technologies, new features, new generations. evolution is a critical part of business. business transformation is not new, nor the reason why you do something — why would this time be any different?

business evolution follows marketplaces and workplaces innovation. the stories of “too early to market” or “too early to adopt” which end in failure are too many to present here. while you can indeed teach an elephant to dance, that is not something that is done continuously – i mean, once it knows how to dance, what do you do? cha-cha to fox-trot? paso doble? tango? no, the concept if not to change the business once, but to embrace continuous innovation to remain and thrive.

and that is something that CRM was unable to do. sure, we launched it in the late 1990s, and it worked for a while. we added “electronic channels” successfully over the following decade, even social inputs in the years after. but that is not a change in the core model. that is fox-trot. and although the elephant could dance, no one of my generation would call what kids do today dancing — and that is the problem.

dancing changed, and business transformation changed. it is no longer a follow-the-market approach, it is a disjointed, flexible, it-doesn’t-look-like-before approach. this is why the “great recession” was critical for the emergence of CX: customers are now in control, businesses no longer have the ability to respond at their pace, they need to embrace this latest wave of business transformation for what it is – a radical change in how business is done, not another layer to put on top of what’s there.

customer experience is not something you build on top of existing CRM, although you will need it as a critical keystone for its success, but something you build per customer expectations. if you want your elephant to continue to dance, it is not about teaching them a new step, it is about teaching them a new reality of what dancing is.

Shifting Customer Expectations

the 1500 or so words above, will see after editing, lead us to this – the most important reason why embracing modern-day CX is necessary. the rest, sure – is needed, but the bottom line on this new evolution of business and technology comes to this.

shifting customer expectations. constantly, ongoing, and without pause – customers know what they want, in that moment, and they expect to get it. and when we tried to fulfill that we failed. we failed to co-create value, instead focusing on the brand need for control and their own benefit. or we swung the pendulum too far to the other end and we failed to generate value for the company. the balance between customer expectations and brand outcomes is key for modern-day CX.

took us a while to understand what customers wanted and what the company needed were not antagonistic. both could win (and unlike harry potter, both can live and thrive) and both could be accomplished, but to get there a different mind-frame, and different set of tools, processes, metrics, governance, and even people was necessary. and a different set of rules and business models.

if nothing of the above resonated with you, this is the biggest why you need to embrace modern-day CX: your customers changed, and you can no longer afford to remain you. and they will continue to change, and you can no longer afford to remain static, inflexible, single-minded.

shifting, perpetually, customer expectations means you have to constantly be dynamic – not only on technology, but on processes (journeys meeting pathways), metrics (expectations meeting outcomes), governance (control meeting chaos), and even ownership (no longer the illusion that we own the customers, we are partnering to co-create value). to reach the new business model of co-owned, flexible, balanced experiences and outcomes for all stakeholders you need a new business model.

and that is modern-day CX.

10,000+ characters, 1800+ words – if this is not sufficient to convince you that you need to embrace modern-day CX, please leave me a comment and tell me what else you need. i will make sure to provide it for you.

and if you don’t think this is a good justification, tell me why and what i missed. going forward in the modern-day CX project, we will look at the how to adopt it, and results.

questions? comments? use below, linked-in, or anywhere good customer blogs are sold.