Many years ago I walked into a client’s office to find it completely plastered with sheets of paper. Apparently there was an ongoing internal debate happening amongst various product groups and the centralized marketing organization as to who owned the customer and how frequently a customer could/should be contacted. To prove a point, our marketing client had her team pull two real life customer profiles from the database. Then, starting on the left side of her office, the team taped to the wall every company communication sent to each of the two customers.
Somewhat shockingly, they found that the first customer, a retiree, was being sent offers geared toward first-time home buyers – to which he (for obvious reasons) did not respond. The communication frequency was also alarming, as a month’s worth of communications could barely fit on an entire length of wall. Here, for anyone to see, was an actual customer communication experience.
I couldn’t help but notice how often we collectively referred to the wall in the course of our discussions over the next few days. The sudden infusion of objectivity – a real customer’s communication experience up on the wall – fundamentally changed the dynamic of our conversations. No longer was the need to change being debated. Instead, the focus turned to how fast change could happen.
Here are a few suggestions to make this exercise most useful:
- While the above example was focused on communication strategy, other touch-points can easily (or maybe not so easily, depending on your access to customer data) be incorporated to expand the CX perspective. This exercise is a great way to gauge where holes in your customer data exist.
- Contain the scope of the exercise to just a few days. A long, drawn out exercise can actually work against you and sap team momentum and energy. Also, the more frequently you can iterate and re-wallpaper your office, the more opportunities you’ll have to explore different customer profiles.
- Expect that you’re going to find some less-than-stellar customer scenarios – but resist the temptation to make this a “wall of shame”. Communicate both the good and not so good experience aspects to build trust and fuel the organization’s commitment to ongoing CX improvement.
Don’t be surprised if your wallpapered walls become a popular office destination – and take heart in the fact that your “redecorating” is actually helping to bring the customer’s perspective into better view.