Common-Sense CX Is More Than DX

Over reliance on the magic of digital CX can blind us to how onerous the end-to-end journey really is...

Christmas season introduces volume spikes and time constraints to shopping that can inflame the retail experience. Customers expect this to some degree and unless you are a last-minute Christmas Eve type, plan for it.

One of my favorite retailers, a go-to for gifts, made buying the goods a breeze and I knew the products would be terrific quality. I even thrilled to the discounted prices and happily agreed to free standard shipping. It was after all, December 4th, with plenty of time before Christmas.

My order was acknowledged, picked, and forwarded to the third-party shipper by December 8th. I knew this because I had a very helpful delivery tracker link, courtesy of the retailer. It was crystal clear, though, that accountability for physical delivery belonged to the shipper, not the seller. I’d outsource delivery too, if it were my gift store, but I would not absolve myself of accountability for the last mile of the fulfillment process. It would not make sense to the customer, and therefore to the customer experience. 

I was digitally informed, though. Order number? Check. Tracking number? Check. Easy access to the status of my package? Check.

But nothing happened. For days. Until the delivery date. My tracking number status changed to “Out for Delivery.” Sweet. I arranged my day accordingly. At 5:30 pm, I checked the order status again and Out for Delivery had disappeared. As though it had never been there at all.

I swung into escalation mode. Spoke to the night shift service desk agent—couldn’t help. Called the warehouse the following morning and spoke to the day shift service desk agent—also couldn’t help. I filed a trouble ticket online, twice.

Then I really warmed to the task and called the retailer head office, twice. Once for the COO, the other for the CEO. By my count I filed six trouble tickets for the same issue, all for the want of a straight answer, let alone an explanation of the whereabouts of my package.

You might think this is excessive, but I was responsible for customer service on three continents and willingly took calls from customers who regularly did the same thing. It made me very skeptical of the operational data my operation reported to me and taught me that digital data is gold dust but not the whole treasure chest. Context matters. And so do eyewitness reports.

Happily, my shipment arrived just one day late. Two hours later, I got a survey from the retailer.

This is where DX is exposed as an element, not the entirety, of CX. Nowhere in the survey allowed for my tale of woe unless I was to write free form in the comments section. And I am old enough to know that few people read those comments.

Digitally captured information, taken out of context, loses a lot in translation. Without a thorough account of the customer reality, we squander so much insight that could be applied to the actual customer journey. Over reliance on the magic of digital CX can blind us to how onerous the end-to-end journey really is, threatening to alienate even the most determined of customers.

Common sense is not optional

The next generation of CX and DX can handily overcome the analog to digital to analog problem. For a start, let’s stop introducing digitization piecemeal, based on a positive ROI that is driven by cost reduction. Let’s elevate the operating model to C-Suite status so that no one is deluded by fixing potholes instead of building on and off ramps. Let’s act in accordance with the principle of keeping the customers we have as a priority, while we find new ones. Let’s be honest about the brand promise, the product, and our pricing algorithms to lessen the burden on customer service.

Most important of all? Let’s use the digital intelligence we do have for the benefit of the customer. And that means knowing where DX works and where—and when—it doesn’t.


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