When It Comes To Customer Experience In 2018, Can We Make Boring The New Cool?

By Adrian Swinscoe, Forbes

As is the norm around this time of year, there is a rise in the number of people thinking about forecasts or predictions about what will happen next year.

You know the sort of thing:

  • What will be hot.
  • What will be cool.
  • What we should be focusing on to take our customer experience to the next level.

Normally, I get to this time of year I often find myself thinking….

Blah, blah. Blah, blah, blah. Blah. Blah.

Why is that, you might ask?

Well, I was talking about this to Oisin Lunny, Chief Evangelist from OpenMarket the other day.

Admittedly, it was a bit of a rant but the point that we landed on, I hope, is an interesting one.

What we found ourselves asking was:

What would happen if rather than focusing on trying to be cool, we flipped things around?

What would happen if companies focused on being boring instead?

Let’s look at the evidence:

Despite heavy investment by organizations to improve their customer experience, customers still complain about inconsistent and unsatisfactory experiences. Moreover, when this is put to leaders and managers of many organizations they often cite lack of collaboration and communication, silo-ed thinking and the disappointing results of their digital and transformation efforts as some of the main reasons behind their their inability to deliver a consistent and delightful customer experience.

In detail:

  • McKinsey’s research shows that over 70% of all transformation projects fail and that almost 50% of all digital investments are generating returns of less than 10%, which for many is less than their cost of capital.
  • Accenture has found that firms need to consider how they re-balance and redefine the balance of technology and human involvement in customer experience as they have placed too much reliance on digital technologies and this has resulted in the development of ‘human-less’ customer services, which has left the majority of customers (70-85% depending on geography) saying that they are frustrated or extremely frustrated with how easy it is to do business with organizations.
  • Dimension Data has found through own research that only 8% of organizations say that they have all of their channels connected and, in fact, as many as 70% say that none or very few of their channels are connected.

KPMG Nunwood in it’s latest Customer Experience Excellence (CEE) research found that the largest majority of UK brands have stalled in their improvement efforts drastically as they struggle to keep pace with rising customer expectations.

So, when we consider all of this, surely we have to ask……what has changed? Have we moved forward? Are things better?

Arguably not.

Therefore, I think we need to consider throttling back on our obsession with what’s next, what’s new and what’s hot and start to focus more on the present.

Don’t you?

Moreover, with the economic environment looking like it is set to get tighter, particularly in the UK, over the coming year, focusing on the present, being brilliant at the basics and delivering better and more consistent outcomes for customers and employees seems like a great option and one that, I hope, we see more of.

So, how about over the coming year we focus on being boring instead of being cool?

Perhaps, we may end up making boring cool.

If nothing else we could end up with a cool hashtag: #boringiscool

How cool would that be.

Adrian Swinscoe is a best-selling author, speaker and consultant on customer experience. You can find him on Twitter @adrianswinscoe and on LinkedIn here. Check out his book called: How To Wow.