Recently I came across a conversation in one of the customer portals. The article discussed the need to link customer satisfaction metrics to compensation in order to obtain real commitment. One of the so-called gurus took the time to post a comment that basically boiled down to, “This is old news—we’re in co-creation world now.” I was pissed and I gave him a piece of my mind.
In June 2000, I launched the first customer experience management (CEM) solution—it was a visible launch and a Datamonitor report the following month credited me with coining the CEM phrase. I’ve been evangelizing customer experience ever since.
There were many other evangelists who supported the CEM concept, of course, and we’ve all, in our own ways, worked diligently from one seminar to another, from one conference to another, to get the message out. It’s now 10 years later, and we’re only just starting to see some form of commitment or critical mass around the CEM concept. My point is that these revolutions take time to take root.
Yes, co-creation might be the next big thing. But how many companies are actually implementing co-creation in a meaningful and widespread way? No more than a handful. So why knock an organization that’s willing to link customer judgment (or “feedback”) to compensation and increase employees’ commitment? Why sacrifice progress today in favor of the mere promise of “possible progress” tomorrow?
Change takes time and different organizations go through change at their own pace, based on their own DNA. As evangelists of customer centricity (whether as external consultants or internal practitioners), we ought to be responsible and lead people to execution. While new concepts and ideas evolve, our responsibility is to assist our organizations in building the capacity to make things happen and create real improvement for customers as well as companies.
So the next time you feel the urge to create another buzzword or twitter about the latest concept you’ve lifted from another ivory-tower academic—don’t! Enough with the buzzwords. We have more than enough of them on hand already.
We have a powerful agenda for the next several years: innovation that benefits customers and inspiration that drives employees to excel. That agenda demands that we focus not on another fancy diagram but on creating measurable results. Now.
Unfortunately, this is exactly where great ideas often fail. Just take a look at discussion forums on LinkedIn or similar sites, where the dominant issue of the day is, “How do I demonstrate value and deliver financial impact?” CEOs and corporations aren’t looking for another buzzword. They’re looking for the capacity to execute on the ideas that are already there. They’re saying “show me the money.” Let’s not litter our world with more buzzwords. It’s execution time. Let the best execution organization win.
Lior Arussy (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the founder and president of Strativity Group, a global customer experience research and consulting firm. He is the author of several books, including Excellence Every Day (Information Today, Inc., 2008) and Customer Experience Strategy (2010), an excerpt of which appeared in the May 2010 issue of CRM. To learn more about customer strategies, sign up for his newsletter at www.strativity.com.