May 2018 saw Adobe Summit come to London – Adobe’s annual event where it shows off the latest capabilities within its Experience Cloud. Adobe’s aim is to enable enterprise organisations to create great Customer Experiences (CX), but as they presented their various products, I couldn’t help but feel a disconnect with the experiences I have as a customer.

There’s no doubt that some organisations provide exceptional CX – usually the ones on stage at events like Summit – but this does not seem representative of the majority. It’s not that organisations fail to procure the tools or use the features, but the results typically fall well short of great CX.

The question is where does this disconnect come from? I believe the answer is that organisations don’t know what a good experience is.

All the tools, technologies, and job titles (like Chief Experience Officer) will not help if the organisation does not aim for the right outcome. Creating great experiences is not easy, and there’s a shortage of the right skills. Perhaps even a shortage of organisations knowing that they lack the right skills. Adobe talks of “Experience Makers” but how many of these are there? People who really understand experience?

I asked a researcher from a company that assesses CX for car makers how dealers typically benchmark the experience they provide to customers. The answer was that they use the nearest car dealer to them. So, if the dealer opposite yours provides a bad experience then your dealer will probably provide a slightly less bad experience.

This highlights the problem: If an organisation is going to create a great experience then it needs to look beyond just besting the competition, to focus on what is the best experience.

Yes, research is an important part of the process, but organisations have become overly obsessed with metrics. Data and analytics without understanding will not derive the right insight and does not guarantee the right outcome. This challenge is not new. For years, I saw clients use Google Analytics incorrectly; collect the wrong data; misunderstand what the data meant; or had no idea how to act on the data. Instead, it was simply used to show executives changes in page views and bounce rates.

If organisations are to deliver great CX then they need to embrace the right skills, not just tools and data. This doesn’t only apply to enterprises, many of their suppliers such as System Integrators and agencies often don’t know what makes a great experience. System Integrators are typically still tech companies at heart, and many agencies primarily focus on marketing (marketing is not CX, by the way).

Besides, CX is personal to an organisation and so they need to take it in their own hands and hire the people with proven track records that can truly create great experiences. Once the right person or team is in place, what will then be required are the internal processes so that others can learn from these individuals, further benefitting the business and the wider industry.

Related research

CIC UX Research Library

Solving the User Experience puzzle