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The Darwinism of Customer Experience

The Darwinism of Customer Experience

Five Questions to Determine Which Phase of the Customer Experience (CX) Evolution You are in

Before companies and institutions start worrying about customer experience, they are in phase one of the CX Darwinist evolution – the phase of doing the profitable things.

In this phase the mantra is to expand sales and market share at all cost. Lack of values in leadership and ignorance for customer needs are symptoms of phase one. The fact that you are reading this tells us that you are probably already beyond phase one.

In phase two companies start doing the easy things by creating a CX team with limited staff, limited budget and often very limited influence within the organization.

Here, the newly created CX team usually maps the customer journey, analyzes and prioritizes customer pain points and starts to address the low hanging fruit while attempting to improve the customer experience. Usually – as a result of these efforts – CX metrics first improve quite nicely and then stagnate as if hitting a glass ceiling that is impossible to break through.

Phase three is where companies start doing the right things! Leadership at all levels of the company understand that stellar CX can only be achieved if a sustainably great employee experience is present. The purpose of the company is well aligned with the employees’ values. This is where magic happens!

Where do you stand – five simple questions will give you the answer!

Which KPIs do you use to measure success?

  1. Mainly financial indicators such as revenue, market share, profit or size of the customer base. (1)
  2. We also collect data about customer satisfaction, but don’t do much with it other than looking at it every now and then. (3)
  3. We measure our customer satisfaction at multiple touch points such as in customer service, throughout our website or through targeted customer surveys. The data is analyzed in detail, and we understand exactly how customer satisfaction translates into loyalty and how loyalty affects the company’s success. (5)

Do you have a customer experience (CX) team?

  1. No, it is sales’ and customer service’s job to make customers happy. (1)
  2. Yes, we have someone who is responsible for CX. The person has a small or no team and not much budget or influence. We don’t hear or see much from that group or person. (3)
  3. Yes, the person or team works closely with management and has a major influence on what happens within the company. The team is also quite visible and has good success stories to tell. (5)

What about employees’ values and the company’s mission?

  1. Our company is primarily about commercial success. I don’t perceive any particular value orientation such as sustainability, social responsibility, or the like. (1)
  2. We communicated values ​​within the company. There were newsletters, posters and presentations. I don’t know much about how my colleagues think about this. (3)
  3. I pretty much know what our company stands for – other than commercial success. This is quite important to us, since most of the employees have pretty strong values themselves. (5)

Who is important within your company?

  1. I have the impression that only management and the shareholders count in our company. Bonuses, dividends and profits seem to be the main focus. (1)
  2. We have a strong focus on our customers and their needs. (3)
  3. In addition to a focus on our customers, employees are another top priority. (5)

How do you handle the main CX challenges in your company (e.g. inadequate infrastructure, incomplete view of customer data, horrible processes, etc.)?

  1. These issues are well known, but almost never addressed. (1)
  2. We have created an inventory of issues, but currently only address the simpler problems. (3)
  3. We have a good roadmap to address these issues. (5)


Add up the points behind the answers you selected.

5-9 points – Your company is still in the middle of phase 1 of the CX evolution – with a focus on rapid commercial success. For your business to still thrive five years from now, it’s time to change something! A pragmatic and timely introduction of a customer experience function is the first step. From here you start your journey towards more customer focus. Don’t wait any longer – your competitors don’t either!

10-19 points – You’ve come a long way and have made it into phase 2 of the customer evolution – with a focus on the first, simple improvements of your customer experience. You probably hoped for more, though and wonder why your efforts are stalling. Expanding your focus towards employee experience will help you break through that glass ceiling. Remember: only satisfied and motivated employees create loyal customers!

20-25 points – Everyone would love to be your customer! You have reached phase 3 of the CX evolution – with a focus on doing the right things for your customers. Now is a good time to review your existing programs and initiatives and re-prioritize them. After all that time, you will most likely find that it is time to replace some of them with more efficient innovative approaches.

About experience5:

experience5  is a consultancy for customer and employee experience as well as value‐based leadership. The firm supports clients in North America and EMEA on their journey through the evolution of Customer Experience.