Do You Have the Budget to Make Sure the Customer's Voice Is Heard?

Do You Have the Budget to Make Sure the Customer's Voice Is Heard?

No customer experience budget?
 

I haven't written a CX Journey™ Musings post lately, but I found a topic that warrants a bit of reflection.

I recently read an article on MyCustomer about a study that Ovum and BoldChat conducted in which they found that many companies don't have the necessary budget to improve the customer experience. Specifically, the findings noted in the article state: "Conversely, 43% of contact centre managers feel they don’t have the necessary budget to invest in the technology to improve experiences, whilst 48% say they are hampered by outdated technology." This got me thinking about what I've heard from clients both recently and in the past: we don't have the budget or the resources to listen to the customer, subscribe to tools that ensure action will be taken on insights, make those improvements for the customer, etc.

It seems ironic to me that companies are in business to create and to nurture customers, and yet they are unable to do what is necessary to actually create and nurture customers!

It seems odd to me that many companies are constantly innovating and evolving, and yet they don't have budget to make sure the customer's voice is heard and implemented into those innovations.

It seems strange to me that those companies that are not constantly innovating and evolving are always in some state of flux or change, and yet those changes don't incorporate what's important to the customer but actually make things worse.

It seems strange to me that companies that are not constantly innovating, evolving, and focusing on the customer are even still in business.

Money is being spent by businesses every day to make changes or improvements, and yet they don't factor in the needs of the customer? Weird, no?

Here's my thinking on this, given the purpose of a business. 

Everything you do is (for the) customer experience.
 

Isn't it? Am I off base here? Isn't it all customer experience?

Whether you're installing new technologies, reducing waste, improving efficiencies, hiring new employees, developing new training programs, etc., isn't that all going to impact the customer experience?

Here's the thing. As customer experience professionals, we don't really own any budget, except for maybe listening tools, analytical tools, and personnel. (That doesn't make our roles any less important, though!) But oftentimes, that budget sits elsewhere, e.g., marketing, operations, customer service, etc., too.

Quite simply, the budget for any improvements to be made comes from the departments making those improvements. But it feels like we, as customer experience professionals, get dinged for this. So when you hear folks say that they have no budget for customer experience improvements, they're really saying that they have no budget to make operational or technological improvements that will allow them to succeed in business, that they'll be behind the times for a bit until their executives allow them to invest in the tools and technologies to advance the business. And, ultimately, that translates to: "We don't have budget for customer experience improvements" because that's what they really are. And yet that's bad on us.

The net result of those types of statements? Customer experience is not a priority. The customer is not a priority. Because companies always seem to have money to spend on something - and it's usually advertising, to attract more customers. Wrong decision. Yes, we want more customers, but if we can't keep the ones we already have, attracting more is not the answer!

Maybe I can't have it both ways. I want the attention on customer experience improvements, but it seems when we call it that, perhaps executives cringe because it's still taboo to focus on the customer. How is that even possible in 2017? What do you think?

Annette Franz
Client Experience
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Annette blogs at CX Journey, where she shares her passion for helping companies understand the importance of the employee experience and its role in delivering an excepti ... Click for full bio

NBA Player Carl Landry Demonstrates the Value of Persistence in Life and Work

NBA Player Carl Landry Demonstrates the Value of Persistence in Life and Work

Written by: Jon Sabes

When you meet Carl Landry, stand-out college basketball player and nine-year NBA player, you imagine that becoming a professional basketball star was a straight forward run for the 6-foot-nine-inch power forward. 


However, when you go deeper into Carl’s background, becoming a NBA professional was less than certain and little came easily to the 33-year-old from Milwaukee:

  • He was cut from his high school team as a freshman and averaged less than ten points a game when he did play as a senior.
  • He started his college career not at Purdue, but a junior college where it was not clear he would play.
  • When he finally got to Purdue, he tore his ACL in his knee his first year and reinjured it the next year.
  • While his family held a party for him the night of the NBA draft, he slept in the Philadelphia airport after missing a flight following a workout for the 76ers.
  • In the NBA playoffs, Carl had a tooth knocked out, but came back in the same game to make a game-winning blocked shot as the Rockets beat the Utah Jazz 94-92.
     

Landry, who I interviewed on my podcast, Innovating Life with Jon Sabes (www.jonsabes.com), is a remarkable example of the value of “persistence.” In a time where technology creates the image that anything is possible at the touch of a button, persistence is an under-appreciated trait. When I spoke with Carl, I clearly saw someone for whom success has only come through a force of will that made him a NBA player, but it also made him a better player every year he played. That’s the kind of personality that has produced greatness in business as well as sports.

Carl was, in fact, drafted that night he spent in the airport. The Seattle Supersonics chose him as the 31st overall pick and then traded him to the Houston Rockets where he rode the bench for much of the first half of the season. When All-Star teammate Yao Ming was injured, he stepped in and played a key role in the Rockets astonishing 22-game winning streak (the third longest streak in NBA history). And, that season, after sitting on the bench for 33 of the first 36 games, he was named to the All-Rookie second team.

Carl was the first in his family to go to college. “I told myself that this was my ticket out, so I did everything I possibly could to be the best person in school and also on the court,” he said.

His family life in Milwaukee showed him what he didn’t want to do. “Just being honest with you, seeing some my cousins, peers, they went to work for jobs paying six, seven dollars an hour or they didn’t go to work at all and then living off welfare. I didn’t want that.”

When he was first injured, he had to contemplate the end of a career before it even got started. “When you have an ACL tear, it’s over…no more basketball,” he told me. “I said, God, give me health again and I’ll do everything I can to leave it all out on the line and be a successful individual.”

On my podcast, Carl pointed out another interesting lesson he learned in the NBA: Not doing things just to fit in.

“Fitting in was easy,” he said. “Doing everything that everybody else does was easy. If I stood out in some type of way, I’m going to have different results. I’m going to have stand-out results.”


That’s called the “Law of Contrast” and it produces that exact effect of changing the outcomes that everyone else is experiencing.  Carl is smart, he recognized that differences make a difference, and doing whatever it takes is what is required to make real, meaningful differences.

Every off-season for the last 11 years, he has run a camp for kids in Milwaukee where he tells youth his story of hard work and persistence. “I always tell the kids to apply themselves and always be persistent,” he said. “If you dream, apply yourself and be persistent. With hard work, man, the sky’s the limit.”

When Carl says the sky’s the limit he means it.  He is smart to recognize that it’s important to dream big, because if we don’t – we may be selling ourselves short. “You have to dream bigger than your mind could ever imagine,” he said. “I wanted a nice house. I wanted a nice car. I said, and I got all of that. So, what do I do, do I stop now? Maybe I didn’t dream big enough.” That’s a big statement coming from a kid who grew up to be the first in his family to graduate college and go on to be not only a top NBA basketball start, but a good businessman, father and someone who gives back to the community.

I’m convinced that in whatever he takes on as a basketball player or in his post-hoops career, Carl Landry is not going to stop getting better at whatever he does, and in the process of doing so, make the world a better place.

GWG Holdings, Inc.
Investing in Life
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GWG Holdings, Inc. (Nasdaq:GWGH) the parent company of GWG Life, is a financial services company committed to transforming the life insurance industry through disruptive and i ... Click for full bio