Building customer centricity into your digital transformation

Updated: Dec 25, 2019

Digital transformation or any tech change for that matter needs to embed within its governance and compliance processes a customer centric mindset. To enable you to know 'when to' and 'when not to' apply CX thinking. To do this you need a CX Design function.

Key url:

CX processes to apply

Use stories as the measure:

Co-create solutions:


Having worked with a number of vendors and clients over the past 20 years I am constantly surprised that 80% of employees do in fact get customer experience and are empathetic to their needs, wants and expectations.

However, the way Jira and Agile Studio are constructed; the lack of leadership support and the pressure to deliver cost cutting objectives means that customer experience is often not embedded in our ways of working or thinking.

But above all else, there are significant cultural issues, in particular, how we can better appreciate that cognitive processes are not the same as mechanical ones.

To this we must add the not insignificant problems of rot and malaise. How in some parts of the customer experience community processes and beliefs that fail miserably but make the C-suite feel good, are being oversold.

Here are a few......

  • NPS

  • CES

  • Journey Mapping without Design management

  • Emotion

  • Wow

  • Frictionlessness

  • Big Data

  • The customer as a process map, only interested in efficiency (duh!)

While all these things have some value, they are, through their own myopia, false prophets (or profits). Alone they are not the answer, just a tool of measurement not actionablity.

And in the case of process maps, view the customer as only interested in the ease of use not in any value they get from engagement at all. The customer as software engineer not as, well, a customer.

So what will it take to enable your digital transformation to focus on the customer?

Or at least get that conversation embedded in your ways of working?

I see this as one of compliance and governance not one of measurement myopia. But what do I mean by that?

Current Compliance is a Measurement Myopia

I would argue that an over focus on NPS and such metrics leads less to improved loyalty and a good quality digital build and more to myopic process thinking; some focus on efficiency ( a positive); and significant levels of data gaming. NPS becomes a political tool, not one that works well for your business.

Following the NPS or other metric way, will constrain our capability to build.

By way of example, the likelihood to recommend was used by one company to measure 'web download speed'. As if anyone would be so severely disabled that they would go around measuring such things as they engage with your brand. Sure, when things go wrong we notice it and score a firm low on NPS as much as CSAT or anything else. That does not mean it is our 'constant algorithm of delight' whereby any score changes instantly and directly into a statement of recommendation to our friends or colleagues.

By just focusing on responses to NPS we miss the bigger picture.

Here are some more examples:

When I worked with AXS we walked the experience of being a customer. We found an underperforming 'micro-moment'. The website displayed a very poor and small scale picture of the seating plan; one you could not click into.

Did this affect NPS? No.

Did any survey state this as a problem? No.

Was it an underperforming moment that could generate value? Yes absolutely.

Could we pre-predict the value of changing this to be more engaging? Difficult.

Likewise with Stena Line. We walked the experience of being a customer and found another micro-moment. Here customers had to put in their mobile phone number to buy a ticket. This was a mandatory field. But what if you had forgotten your phone number? Would you make the effort to buy or would you just click on Irish Ferries

Did this affect NPS? No.

Did any survey state this as a problem? No.

Was it an underperforming moment that could generate value? Yes absolutely.

Could we pre-predict the value of changing this to be more engaging? Difficult but perhaps easier.

Think also of how we can define new potential innovations through opening up a conversation: to uncover ongoing needs (what I might want, not what I have). So when I worked with Tarmac, I engaged in a business conversation with some of their accounts to uncover hidden demand in the Midlands for large cement trucks and micro-surfacing products. Demand not satisfied by the current product portfolio or written on any survey.

Likewise and of equal weight is the voice of the employee and divergent thinkers. All of whom can fill up your backlog with great ideas based on 'experience' and out of industry interpretation.

Hence, as you can see, we need a different level of compliance and governance. One that understands that value is co-created. But what do we mean by that?

Future Compliance Encourages Co-creation

Since value creation is a co-created , we need to create the right structures within an organisation to enable such delivery.

We need a CX designer to run the debate and embed sufficient customer sensitivity into our digital teams. Their key function being to build an innovation funnel of actions (our backlog) through 'due' consideration of 'the experience the customer has' and what will generate value back to the firm.

I would argue that too often your product owners and BAs lack the mindset and sensitivity (often due to the political structures within which they work) to adequately execute a CX focus. After all, it's not in their job spec!

And the key questions they should be asking of any digital transformation should be:

  1. how are journey maps being integrated into process maps;

  2. what CX questions are you answering in your huddles;

  3. what CX SLAs do you have in place upon release (are we getting end-user qual and quant feedback and responding to it);

  4. do you have access to a UX writer;

  5. what sprint points do you have available for CX changes;

  6. how are your sprint points being measured - considering that CX processes are different;

  7. how integrated is your team with branding, marketing and communications;

  8. how are you co-creating value - and bringing in non-industry disruptive thinking;

  9. where is the point of triage that closes the loop between customer centric innovation and build i.e., do you have a CX designer;

  10. who is the CX designer on the team who understands voice of the customer insights processes, R-intervention and can build an innovation funnel;

  11. what are the frameworks that should be applied upfront in any build? (I have already signposted Cynefin, Sensemaking, Co-Creation and Goodwill Differentiated Service). This is actually the most important point but needs training to understand. It also challenges any constraining beliefs in root-cause analysis, builds an understanding that in the right context ideas can come from anywhere and that interpretation is key;

  12. Are you marketing and delivering your intent;

  13. Are you measuring the right things;

  14. Are you customer sensitive

  15. Do you ingest qualitative approaches that respect the subjective world of the consumer

  16. Do understand the value of innovative thinking and embed divergent thinking. After all ideas come from anywhere,

Netcall is a great example of point 12 and I applaud their use of the term collaborativeCX.

If you want to have a chat drop me a line. Or listen to some of my videos on

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