Opinion: CX Field Masks Failure of Many CEOs to Focus on Stakeholders
In the 1980s, US industry faced one of the biggest competitive challenges in its history: the Japanese and South Korean countries whose businesses had embraced the practices of total quality management and continuous improvement (kaizen), not just in practice, but in spirit. Starting with the CEO, many of these country’s leading brands applied this strategic and systematic approach to aligning the interests of all stakeholders on the needs of external and internal customers to carve huge chunks of market share from US companies in automobiles, consumer electronics, appliances, industrial equipment, and more. In general, the Japanese approach focused not only on processes but people and culture to ensure that each organization’s eco-system of tactics supported the over-arching brand, values, and goals.
To fight back against the Japanese and South Koreans, US industry leaders embraced quality management principles in the 1990s. With the help of ISO 9000 quality management standards, US industry made an enormous comeback in quality through the application of a strategic and systematic approach as opposed to the reactive, ad hoc approach prevalent at the time. Numerous efficiency systems came out of this period of quality management innovation besides ISO standards, but, unlike in Japan, most focused more on process than on the human factor.
Trillions Wasted on Marketing and Engagement
The next question is: what does this have to do with CX or EX? Everything. The well-known fact is that organizations spend billions on surveys and analytics about customer experience; yet, little is done with the information at most organizations because the CEO isn’t driving action. Many of the largest companies get failing grades on the most basic elements of customer experience. See: ESM: LivingLens Powers Video to Enrich Customer and Employee Feedback.
Failing Grades Despites Billions Spent on Marketing and CX
Many companies in fact do not consistently keep their promises. Many spend millions on advertising that deliberately uses fine print to confuse customers or make pricing and terms deliberately confusing, only to create unhappiness and disappointment later.
The return on investment of this strategic and systematic approach is happier customers who tell others of their positive experiences. Such organizations benefit from a much lower incidence of product returns, complaints or lawsuits; more word-of- mouth referrals for customers or talent, and more supportive distribution partners, vendors and communities, meaning reduced reliance on bright shiny CX (or EX) objects attempting to cover up fundamental flaws in the brand and culture.
Without a CEO passionately committed to the customer or employee experience, all the talk about different strategies and tactics is just that: talk.
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