Customer Experience (CX) has recently become a buzzword, a phenomenon that Adrian Swinscoe, customer experience consultant and expert, attributes to the power of choice the internet has bestowed upon modern consumers. With the differences between products and services narrowing on a daily basis, customer service and customer experience is becoming the main way for companies to fuel growth sustainably and differentiate themselves from the competition.
That’s where his notion of Punk CX was born. According to Swinscoe, customer experience is starting to feel like 1970’s progressive rock: overly technical, too elaborate, and not focused on its audience. He was inspired by the emergence of punk music in stark contrast to the prog-rock era of the 1970s, at which time punk music became a statement to go against the norm.
Adrian was starting to see a lot of parallels in the CX space with companies getting too meticulous with their strategies. He believed that if companies could drop the technicalities and adopt a ‘punk mindset’ in order to start committing to action-based solutions in their customer service, they would have a greater capacity to help their customers and grow their business.
5 Ways to Fuel Growth for Service and CX
1. Don’t Be Everywhere Your Customers Are
As the number of channels you’re trying to serve your customers grows, it’s best to remember that you don’t need to be everywhere your customer is—especially if you don’t necessarily get more investment or resources to cover those channels. You end up getting a lower resource-per-channel split, which means reduced service levels because you’re spreading your resources way too thin.
It’s okay to say, “Here’s where we are; here’s what we stand for.” When you say you’re meeting your customers wherever they are, you’re spreading yourself too thin. Punk CX says don’t get caught up in all the complexity. You just need to just pick one thing that’s not working, make it better, and keep going.
2. If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix it
Too often, we get stuck on the merry-go-round of always feeling like something needs to be fixed. With so many media and channels in play, we often feel like we have to excel in all of them. Rather, we should pick our battles and focus on what matters most. This is one of the biggest Achilles heels companies have with customer experience and branding.
Ask yourself what your experience vision is. What’s your strategy for getting there, and how does that align with the support, enablement, and achievement of business objectives? With Punk CX, it shows to not go overboard and to just get back to basics.
3. Punk Experience Leadership (Punk XL)
It’s no longer sufficient to talk about customer experience in isolation. Customer experience is a function of several things, including employee or worker experience, which is all part of the connected ecosystem that supports the delivery of services. We need to think more holistically about this whole experience domain. It’s about the customer experience, but, it’s also about the employee experience, the stakeholder experience, investors, community, and so on and so forth.
4. Connected Systems and “Punk CRM”
It’s all connected, from employee experience (EX) to customer experience (CX). If you have separate umbrellas where marketing, sales, and service are not talking to each other, you’re setting yourself up for disaster. It’s a bit like having a chariot with three horses in front, but they’re not all lashed together, going in different directions, and then you wonder why your chariot is going in different directions.
For service, remember the live channel still counts! 70% of interactions in the B2B space are via the support channel, and 40% of requests for support come from live channels (not self-service). It’s incumbent on the organization to equip agents with the tools, knowledge, and systems needed to respond to that inquiry as quickly and as accurately as possible. And you only get that when you have connected systems, data, and comprehensive knowledge.
5. Attributes of Customer-focused Businesses
Data informs people, stories move people, and experiences compel people! People talk about being a data-driven company, and we make data-driven decisions, and that’s great, but they should also be collecting and harnessing data to support that.
It’s time for companies to go beyond their data, particularly when it comes to understanding their customers because we’re not our data. Data tells us a story, but it doesn’t tell us the full story. Data will inform people, but if we use stories to help us understand the context, then that’s the thing that will start to move us.
It’s not enough to acknowledge this trend. Adrian stresses that you can’t just have an opinion about it; you’ve actually got to be willing to do something.
In business, we get caught up in a herd mentality, where everybody does the same thing but expects different results. We say we want to be better, be lean, that we’re happy with failure and willing to take risks. But what risks are we willing to take to really stand out from the crowd? Are we willing to “zig” when everyone else is “zagging”?
And that’s the analogy with the punk customer experience (Punk CX). Everyone has an idea of what it means to be punk, in their own space. Anyone can own it. So how can you harness your inner punk? You just have to have a different level of conviction. If you want to change something, you must be committed and deliberate. Leadership starts from an individual level and requires us to do different things, and there’s a responsibility. If we want our people to do different things, we have to be willing to do different things too.
Want to learn more about how you can break free from the status quo? Read Adrian’s full take on the subject here, 5 Steps to Fueling Growth for Service and CX: Inside the Mind of Adrian Swinscoe.