It’s Time to Reimagine Customer Experience

Business has evolved dramatically over the past two decades, yet somehow customer and patient experience (CX and PX) are stuck using outdated methods and approaches that don’t tell the complete story.

In the mid 2000s, when CX became the battleground for market share, companies created teams of individuals who were responsible for the customer experience function. During this time, there wasn't a Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA), the CX Awards, or courses on CX, like there are today.

These individuals, these teams, were left to figure out CX independently.

While CX looked different from company to company, there were some common pillars that the profession focused on:

  • Team, Resources, and Structure
  • Data and Insights
  • Communication and Culture
  • Enabling Action and Outcomes

The profession sought some commonality and found it with their measurement approach - specifically Net Promoter Score (NPS). CX professionals became enamored with this measurement because of its simplicity and appeal at the highest levels of the business, not because of its demonstrated impact on the business.

Fast forward almost two decades - the business has evolved – meanwhile, CX is stuck using outdated methods and approaches to guide the business.


The battleground hasn't changed - companies still believe they can attract and retain customers through the experience they deliver. However, it’s time to reimagine how CX can be measured and implemented to meet today’s experience expectations. Here are three places to start.

1 – Clearly define the roles and responsibility of CX strategy.

Talking about CX is confusing because it means so many different things to different people, and let’s face it, everyone has responsibility for the customer experience.

It’s important, however, to clearly articulate the roles and responsibilities of the function responsible for the customer experience strategy. Keep in mind - the strategy is different from the function that’s responsible for a specific experience (such as customer service, sales, digital, and any other location where the customer touches the business).

To be effective CX strategy needs to include:

  • Listening to understand: This means overseeing how the company harnesses the voice of the customer to ensure it is using the most inclusive, representative, and actionable data source and not overwhelming its customers with uncoordinated surveys and customer outreach. It also means we listen for the purposes of learning and growing, not for purposes of score tracking.
  • Data-backed storytelling: Storytellers are responsible for turning data into insights. They find, craft, and deliver stories across the enterprise. This includes taking customer stories to individual, functional, and geographic colleagues. And, it includes weaving the voice of the customer into the fabric of company culture, giving the customer a presence.
  • Accountability partners: It’s essential to have someone who can work alongside business partners to hold them accountable for making the needed changes and being accountable to them for tracking and showing the progress of those changes.

2 – Customer experience strategy should reside in the area that is closest to the customer.

To be most effective and to gain the internal credibility and confidence that is required to drive action and outcomes, the customer experience strategy needs to sit in the part of the organization that is closest to the customer.


  • Data: The most reliable and best source of customer insight resides here.
  • Motivation: They are motivated to solve customer problems because those solutions help both the business and customers.
  • Credibility: There is built-in credibility when those who are closest to the customer share feedback and input from customers.

3 – Replace NPS and any other survey metric that is used as an enterprise-wide KPI.

Our survey data lacks the context and clarity that the business needs to drive action and outcomes. Yet we draw attention to this data source and tell the business that it’s important by making it one of our enterprise KPIs. Instead of glorifying your survey program, focus on metrics that:

  • Measure the authentic customer interactions that happen every day. Our interactions shape our emotions, and our emotions determine our behaviors. By measuring the interactions, we can create the desired customer behaviors.
  • Are inclusive and representative of different customer needs. The challenge with survey data is 1) response rates tend to be low and are declining and 2) most surveys (particularly touch-point surveys) attract polarizing responses, limiting the business from understanding the full story.
  • Deliver the context and clarity that the business needs to create change. Survey data can point the business in the right direction, but it falls short in answering the question, “what specifically do we need to do differently?”.

The most valuable and renewable source of customer insight are the authentic and unsolicited interactions your customers have every day. Today, these interactions are often stored and ignored. Meanwhile, the companies that harness and are learning from this rich data source have the advantage of customer insight.

The world is changing rapidly and today, a stagnant status quo is frowned upon. It’s time for leaders to try a new way to achieve the outcomes they have been searching for. It starts with an evaluation of the customer experience strategy, where this strategy should reside in the business, and the metrics that capture and keep the attention of the enterprise.