The colours of the CX rainbow

Having recently launched my new CX consultancy, over the last few weeks I have been involved in several conversations with a number of organisations about ‘customer experience’. While approaching this topic from various angles, the consistent conclusion was that many business leaders are still guided by big misconceptions about CX. My view is that not only this is impacting their efforts in managing CX effectively, but also it is seriously hampering their ability to achieve the desired competitive differentiation and value benefits – which indeed is the key root cause of the failure or discontinuation of many CX initiatives. I have already covered this topic in my previous blog, “Too many casualties in the CX battlefield", but here I want to focus more on what I believe are the most common misconceptions about Customer Experience.

But first, let me set the scene with an analogy.

Who doesn’t like rainbows? Some grouches might not care too much for them, but when a rainbow suddenly, almost magically, appears on the horizon, like a delicate burst of colour gently painted across the sky, people stop what they are doing, stare, take photos, smile. A rainbow has the ability to bring joy. It provides a memorable experience that people talk about.

A rainbow is created when water droplets break White sunlight into the seven colours of the spectrum (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet). A rainbow made by only one of these colours would not be as special, magical and engaging.

The 7 misconceptions about CX

Like the colours of the rainbow, I believe these are the 7 main leadership misconceptions about CX:

Red = Relate CX only to UX

Many companies are primarily focusing on optimising the user experience through their website. Indeed, many CX leadership roles are now created within the Digital function with the purpose to increase online conversion by improving click-through rates, SEO and online content, combining a few traits of digital development with digital marketing. While a clear and easy website is a key part of the customer experience, the customer journey starts well before the customer lands on the company website and finishes much later with the fulfillment or use of the product / service purchased, often stretching into further needs for user guidance or service support. When CX = UX, these other essential areas of the customer experience are not proactively managed or integrated – and very often these are the areas which have the strongest correlation to customer loyalty.

Orange = Operations own CX

In a similar way, other organisations believe CX = customer service and have appointed the Operations Director to drive the CX charge. While service is a very important element of the customer experience, it is only one component and the experience a customer has with a company spans across a much broader set of factors ranging from brand communications to products and other online or offline journey touchpoints.

Yellow = Yell customer promises

How many organisations scream their brand slogans out loud to customers, promising to be the best and only company which can make their life wonderful? But do they actually deliver on those promises? For example, Avis Rental Car proclaims ‘We try harder’, while I have experienced a few times total lack of customer care and support. And I’m glad Vodafone abandoned the ‘Power to you’ promise, as the only ‘power’ they seemed to provide to me as a customer was the reason to complain about poor service and connectivity – but even the new ‘The future is exciting… ready?’ slogan is debatable, and I really hope that they are ready for it themselves!

Green = Generous gifts and frills

Let’s be honest, most people like to receive freebies and unexpected extras. On many occasions, I have been delighted by a complimentary bottle of wine, chocolates or a basket of fresh fruit in my holiday bedroom – and that feel-good factor made me ignore that in an all-inclusive resort those are readily available products anyway. However, nice gifts and gestures mean nothing if the basic service needs are not met. If you have water up to your knees in your bathroom, you certainly do not want your insurance company to send you flowers and an empathetic card, but you want them to fix the leak, and fast! Or a company can copy Starbucks by adding couches, wifi and music to enhance the CX, but customers ultimately expect good quality coffee and service.

Blue = Build CX flagships

Many retailers are heavily investing in a few flagship stores, where the best combination of engaging physical space, integrated technology and completely on-brand design are meant to immerse and wow customers in the brand essence. But these are pointless if the brand experience delivered in any other ‘normal’ retail outlet does not follow the same standards.

Indigo = Ignore customer emotions

A customer’s perception of any experience is a combination of transactional elements like how fast and easy it was, as well as the emotional aspects of how they were made to feel throughout it. Yet, most organisations ignore customer emotions when they design their CX and customer journeys or simply focus on the underlying processes. I love the quote from Maya Angelou: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”.

Violet = View only one thing

Very aptly, the last colour is about the misbelief that focusing on one thing, on any of the above list, will be enough – like fixing the digital experience, improving frontline interactions, or creating some ‘magic moments’. But there is no single intervention and no magic wand which, abracadavra, will transform your CX. Only a carefully designed and choreographed end-to-end customer experience will create true differentiation and sustainable value creation – which leads me to the following:

White = Waltz around the customer

In a rainbow, it is white sunlight that gets reflected and refracted by water droplets to create the other colours and join them in a single beautiful rainbow. In my comparison of misconceptions, this equates to dancing around the customer, giving lip service to CX without true executive commitment to drive a customer-led strategy and transformation. A pan-organisational customer focus is the white light that creates the rainbow with all its hues. My journey with the Direct Line Group lasted 4 years and progressively involved every part of the organisation behind the corporate mission to ‘Make insurance much easier and better value for our customers’. It takes a concentrated effort and it takes time.

CX is like a rainbow

In conclusion, I strongly believe that CX is about the sum of the parts and there is no single intervention strong enough to transform it. Like the seven colours of the spectrum come together to form a rainbow, CX requires all the above components to come together to create the CX rainbow. Focusing on one colour alone will make it brighter and more beautifully defined in its own individual hues, but will never deliver the overall rainbow experience.

…and we all know that there is a pot of gold at the rainbow’s end.


Get in touch today to discuss how I can help you create your own rainbow experience.




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