Are you Making Big Changes to Avoid the Customer Experience Rut?

Research revealed little to no improvement in customer experience over the course of 2018 [1].  In his recent blog post, Colin Shaw expressed his concern about the precarious fate of CX and hypothesized the reason for the unimpressive statistics. [2] His take? Companies are afraid to make big changes. Shaw argues that in order to see tangible improvements in customer experience, companies must be willing to disrupt the status quo of their organization.

Though often coupled with fear, the willingness to encourage and even seek change is the leading factor that separates a surviving business from a thriving one. Especially with larger organizations, it is tempting to remain static in the way of doing things. So why attempt to fix what isn’t broken? Because it could be better.


While playing it safe may protect your company from large-scale loss, it also prevents you from large-scale success. Big movements do not necessarily need to put your entire company’s health at risk. Many of the most effective changes happen internally, away from the customer’s attention.

Take General Electric for example. In 1995, leader Jack Welch sensed a need for drastic change. He made the decision to adopt Six Sigma. Six Sigma is a methodology that abides by a specific sequence of steps to identify and remove causes of defects while reducing variability in manufacturing processes. GE successfully executed Six Sigma through extensive training, external mentoring from experts, and consistent push from company leaders. This decision appointed GE as a pioneer in their field, as numerous other companies followed suit after witnessing their success. (See table below for data results)

The movement towards Six Sigma at GE took time and money, yet ultimately the investment paid off through proper execution.


Customer needs and expectations constantly evolve as a result of new trends and technology being established. In order to stay afloat in this time of consumerism, your company must be able to progress alongside the customer and their expectations.

The process of keeping up with new customer expectations can be broken down into two steps: (1) understanding what the customer wants, and (2) adjusting accordingly. It seems simple. There is one caveat. First, you need to equip your CX team with the tools that allow them to efficiently deliver what customers demand.

This may mean a total revamp of the way in which your company operates. Customer service employees are the face of the brand, but more often than not there is a break in the connection between executives and front-line employees. This hinders effective communication and weakens the potential for progress. Defining a way for CX employees to contribute their input will create an environment that promotes innovation and progress.

In addition to open communication, a successful CX program calls for research and measurement. You have to know what the customer wants before you can give it to them. Investing time to examine both survey data and general tendencies of consumers will provide you with a direction towards productive change. Furthermore, those whom interact directly with the customer will have a better understanding of the effects of new initiatives. Therefore, it is helpful to establish a cycle of research, initiation, and employee feedback.


Too often companies look for an immediate solution that will yield instant results. A major change requires time to trickle down through the different levels of an organization and to internalize within each department. There is no simple formula for innovative success. Looking again at GE, their decision to implement Six Sigma first resulted in merely average savings. Pulling from research conducted by Michael Cryger, the following data illustrates the results over the course of a few years. [3]

Year                        Revenue ($B)            Invested ($B)            Savings ($B)           % Revenue Savings

1996                                 79.2                                   0.2                                  0.2                                          0.2

1997                                 90.8                                   0.4                                  1.0                                          1.1

1998                                100.5                                  0.5                                  1.3                                          1.2

1999                                 111.6                                  0.6                                  2.0                                          1.8

1996-1999                      382.1                                  1.6                                  4.4                                          1.2

Note: numbers are rounded to the nearest tenth

Evidently, the number of savings in the first year is far from extraordinary. Yet as the company gained more experience with the methodology, savings began to increase steadily. By the end of 1999, GE had saved about 4.4 billion dollars from implementing Six Sigma.


Drastic change can be a point of fear for many organizations, but ultimately it is what establishes the leaders in an industry. Taking a hard look at the efficiency and effectiveness of your CX will reveal areas that will benefit from change. While the rut of CX may reflect a lack of progress across industries, it also presents an opportunity for innovation. Interpret the standstill as a time for intentional evaluation and movement towards bold organizational change.




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We adeptly design and manage mystery shopping, compliance, engagement and voice of customer solutions grounded in strategic relevance, program integrity and actionable insights. Our solutions are developed on the basis of solid research and statistical science. We achieve success through a relentless focus on quality and innovation, consultative relationships and a talented team of professional associates.


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