Do less, not more

Sirte Pihlaja
CEO, Customer Experience Optimiser, Shirute

The world-famous Customer Experience Specialist Ian Golding will come to Helsinki in May. In wait for the CX Masterclass, we discussed with him some of the main challenges related to customer experience that many marketeers and sales people face today when “talking customers”.

One of the primary challenges every person interested in managing customer experiences (CX, Customer Experience) faces, is integrating customer-centricity and customer thinking into the company DNA. In other words, and on a more practical level, this means understanding how to align your organisation to common CX goals. It doesn’t matter whether you sit on the marketing or sales side of the fence, the battle seems to be all uphill. We’re all far too entrenched in our silos.

“In all simplicity, alignment is actually all about communication. When it comes to customer experience, you cannot over-communicate. You can under-communicate, but essentially, people need to be hearing this message every single day, and not just from the team driving the focus on customer experience.”

Golding believes that, in fact, it’s more important that employees hear the message from the CEO, the CFO, and the heads of different departments. It is also vital that they see it integrated into the very language of the way the organisation operates, as well as the key decision-making moments.

“I’m always very saddened when I see an organisation driving digital and technology change, and they’re still not making the decision understanding the effects on customer experience! That is just another sign that customer experience is not embedded into the fabric of the organization. In essence, if people are having a conversation every day, and the customer doesn’t come up in that conversation, there’s something not quite right.”

So… Make it your personal goal to ensure that all communications start from the top. Keep in mind that it’s not so much about communicating more, but making sure that the relevant people are communicating right – i.e. the people in the roles that the employees look up to when deciding whether customers are important or not. Because if they see the top managers behaving like customers don’t count, they will surely not matter to the employees either. And that is always bad for business.

Education, education, education

For organisations to be able to put people – both customers and employees – at the forefront of everything they do, means that they’ve got to embed a customer-centric culture. Customer experience defines how you deliver products and services in an end-to-end journey. Customer-centric defines the environment or culture within which that CX is delivered.

Creating a customer-centric environment that supports the delivery of great customer experiences is not something that happens overnight. It requires a lot of planning, designing and measuring. And most importantly, educating your personnel about your purpose, desired customer experience and each and every one’s role in delivering that experience. All of these main ingredients of your customer experience strategy should be crystal clear to everybody. That sounds like a lot of work, and it indeed takes an important effort to get there. Nevertheless, Golding has an interesting response, when asked about the areas one should focus on to become customer-centric faster:

“The answer to the question is easy – SIMPLIFY. Too many organizations have so radically over-complicated themselves. And actually, not just in their business process. What we now see is that, even with customer experience, organizations are radically over-complicating it: mapping customer journeys until they come out of their ears, measuring far too many things. But are they actually changing anything? Are they really improving the experience?”

Therefore, any organization that wants to see the pace increase and to be able to actually do less, requires FOCUS. The adoption of a customer experience framework, structure and rigor to manage the customer experience, will allow everyone to see what drives the change.

“It’s not about ‘lots of stuff’, but your ability to narrow your focus to understanding the small number of things that are having the greatest detrimental effect on customer perception and commercial performance. And that’s why customer experience is actually as much about knowing what to stop doing, as it is refocusing on the things that will make the greatest difference.”

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The writer of this blog, Sirte Pihlaja (Certified Customer Experience Professional, Trained Lego® Serious Play® Facilitator) is the CEO of the first Finnish customer experience agency, Shirute ( She heads the networking activities of the global Customer Experience Professional Association ( in Finland ( At Shirute, Sirte helps companies to fulfill their purpose by developing their customer and employee experiences using creative methodologies – whenever she is not making her own clients happy. The renowned expert has been awarded internationally for her work in furthering customer experience management knowledge and skills and building the community of professionals in this field.

Ian Golding will be leading the CX Masterclass training on May 7th and host our CX brunch on May 8th. Do you want to learn how to build great customer experiences? Join us to hear great case examples on how leading brands revolve their organisational culture around their customers and employees. Get your tickets soon at We look forward to meeting you there.

Ian Golding is a renowned CX specialist, who advises leading companies with their CX strategies, as well as measuring and developing CX and listening to your employees. He is the first one to have achieved the Certified Customer Experience Professional certificate and acts as CXPA UK Ambassador.


“Make it your personal goal to ensure that all communications start from the top. Keep in mind that it’s not so much about communicating more, but making sure that the relevant peopleare communicating right”
– Sirte Pihlaja, CEO, Customer Experience Optimiser, Trained Lego® Serious Play® Facilitator

CX Masterclass

Want to hear more about CX Masterclass and why you should attend? Read all about it and join us in Helsinki!

The Global #1 Best-Selling Business Book Customer Experience 2 Is a Shiny Example of the ‘New Normal’

Customer Experience 2 tops the charts as the #1 best selling book on Amazon e.g. in the “Customer Service” and “Consumer Behaviour” categories in multiple countries (USA, UK, Canada and France, etc), making the co-authors Best Selling Authors on three continents. Sirte Pihlaja, the CEO of Shirute, is a Finnish CX/EX expert, who has been evangelising CX all over the world during the last 25+ years. Her passion is using creative methodologies in creating great CX and EX. That is why she wrote about customer-centric culture and on the Role of Play in Business.


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