wine shelfApparently somebody (Mark Bellis of John Moore University and his colleagues – Source BBC) has just worked out that 12 million more bottles of wine are being brought in the UK than people say they drink – every week. That’s about 624,000,000 bottles a year that are missing from the official stats. Are people stocking up?

The media seem to agree that this is because people forget, or lie, or simply miscalculate what they drink when asked by their doctors. When I read this I wasn’t that surprised. As a Customer Experience designer I see this type of issue every day so this post is about the CX Auditing lessons you can learn from this real life behavior story.


I learnt several Customer Experience Strategy lessons – here are 2 of them.


Lesson 1Join up all the stats

When we do Customer Experience Audits we look to join up all of the information from both internal & external sources to get a clearer view of what is going on.

institue auditOver the last 12 months we have looked at more than 450 organisations and most did not have a joined up view of their Customer Experience Data across the enterprise and almost none had a single joined up view across the enterprise and all available external sources as Customer Experience Dashboards even though they had the technology to deliver a joined up view before we started work.

Somewhere out there will be a real world figure that will challenge your assumptions about data – find it!

Internal challenges that appeared most commonly included the myth, (and it is a myth). that because different channels such as the website and the call centre use fundamentally different types of measurement there is no way to join them up into a single view.

This is not true. The reason that CX is a mission critical issue for organisations, is because it does exactly that – it is that joined up view.CX Test results

CX is just the next generation BPR (Business Process Re engineering) environment, that has built upon methodologies such as Six Sigma, Behavioural Science & other disciplines to define the measurement of outcomes agnostically across Departments, Channels, Platforms and Silos. Customer Experience is the science & execution of outcomes.

CX doesn’t care if its about support via the call centre or sales via the website it is the framework for understanding the outcomes and impacts.

This is where the link between CX and Accounting is so important. Customer Experience should inform the senior management team.

Lesson 2 – Perception and emotion are vital parts of Customer Experience because they are part of people.

Everyone Forgets, Misjudges or Lies sometimes and we don’t build that into our Customer Experience metrics. No one is perfect or perfectly honest. We know that this is true in our lives and this is because we observe it every day. It doesn’t make us bad people its just the way perception works.

It is part of our nature and is crucial to our survival as a species. A doctor one told me that no woman would ever have a second child if the memory of the pain of childbirth didn’t fade with time.

A key part of Customer Experience is the role of perception is part of behavioural science that marketing has used for years. Providing a range of offers, with different pricing, is a core strategy in most sales and one of the central strategies of supermarkets you can observe every time you walk into a shop. Not just that but in highly emotional circumstances we all are likely to give the answer that most fits with our emotional state. In the case of wine drinking the question around consumption with a health professional, or when applying for a job or health insurance is part of a highly eScreen Shot 2015-05-27 at 15.20.56motional experience, which means that people are more likely to overestimate or underestimate and as we can all observe from this report most people underestimate consumption.

Our Perceptions of how much our customers like is sometimes misaligned with the data!

We have to build the human factor into our Customer Experience Strategy to survive

Outcomes and Impacts

CX doesn’t care if its about support via the call centre or sales via the website it is the framework for understanding the outcomes and impacts.




Brand Engagement









Again in our work we find that few organisations grade the accuracy that they expect to get from satisfaction surveys or build appropriate metrics into their understanding of the customer relationships. We know surveys and verbatim answers are affected by the way questions are asked and the timing and circumstances of data collection (experience). As people we know that emotional context affects our behavior but when we get to work we forget this. This includes how we feel about the experience the organization that provided it and the way in which we were asked.

When I work with large organisations and governments I am far too often in meetings where unfiltered survey figures and voice of the customer verbatim results are used as accurate drivers for strategy with no consideration of human nature. But customers are people.

Yet building “Accuracy Grading” into the use of these metrics is a relatively simple thing to do. You start by creating the ability to grade information and you refine your understanding over time. It does take time and you have to recognize that if you want to build customer experiences. You have to experiment and be prepared to fail as you grapple with the human condition. We humans (or Customers for your experiences) are complicated, changeable, wonderful and terrible.

The difference between understanding the figures and understanding the customer is part of the value of CX&L Auditing. This gap was so clearly highlighted during the recent UK election when the polling organisations failed to predict an accurate picture of the outcome. People may not have been as engaged with pollsters as they thought!


If you want to find out about CX Auditing