Cookie-Cut Approaches In CX

Ever heard of the word “cookie-cut”, by definition cookie-cut is to indicate that each one is the same, like a guaranteed formula for something that works. It also means that the same approach or style is always used and not enough attention is paid to individual differences.

Have you ever found yourself saying “I’m struggling to get the buy in of the C-Suite for my CX project”? Have you recently accepted a new CX role or a CX project as an independent consultant, if your answer is yes, I invite to look as I discuss some of the reasons you might be experiencing the resistance and ways to overcome it.

Top 7 Reasons for Cookie-cut approaches

  1. Coming in with the right answer or a pre-defined way of doing things
  2. Predictability
  3. Lack of questioning
  4. Lack of understanding
  5. Lack of knowledge capital
  6. Getting involved in organisational politics
  7. Inability to be adaptable

Let us look at each of these common mistakes:

  1. Coming in with the right answer

Many CX leaders/professionals lack the ability to tailor their knowledge and methodologies to fit a specific situation. Just because your current client challenge sounds similar to your previous client challenge doesn’t mean that you stop listening to really understand. Organisations are looking for your advice and direction, at most times they are stressed, they really need your help but in order to deliver business value you are required to suspend your pre-defined way of doing things. Best practice is not always right, every organisation and project is different, therefore the solution needs to look different to fit the organisation.

  1. Predictability

The COVID-19 pandemic has tested everything to do with predictability. We have seen how unpredictable life can be even for those who think they know it all.

As a CX practitioner, consultant, leader etc predictability is a recipe for failure, it leads to great frustration and missed opportunities. If solutions were as predictable as many would love to think, organisations would not require the external expertise of CX practitioners and CX wouldn’t be a key differentiator. The fact that organisations choose to make investment in CX teams and on expert skills of outside practitioners is evidence to the unpredictability of your work.

  1. Lack of questioning

As professionals there is a combination of hard and soft skills required in order to solve the complex problems and challenges facing organisations. In order to respond to the different situations like a “chameleon” it is important to develop a number of soft skills especially the ability to question as this will allows you to read the client or your organisation, build relationships, avoid cookie-cut approaches which could result in a number of implications from a cost and reputation perspective. You can never fully know everything and asking questions doesn’t mean that you’re incompetent in fact most clients and organisations applaud this level of maturity.

  1. Lack of understanding

This is the major cause of the frustrations experienced by most organisations which has led to decisions being made in terms of investments in CX. When customers don’t feel understood by brands this results in a number of frustrations which impact on the employee’s ability to execute their roles efficiently and the build-up of these frustrations calls for interventions from either internal CX teams or external CX skills. When organisations do not understand the value of CX investments this results in reluctance and great push back from key decision makers. The ability to listen fiercely and question allows both the organisation and the CX practitioner to develop deep understanding of the challenges facing the organisation and allows you as the CX practitioner to direct and give advice to the business.

  1. Lack of knowledge capital

The knowledge capital of CX practitioners is not only limited to CX knowledge, yes this is very important and CX wouldn’t be CX without the related industry knowledge. Demonstrating your expertise and speciality is determined by how well you add to the knowledge capital of others through knowledge share. The key to developing the needed knowledge capital is by stretching your brain, it’s an ongoing process of continuous improvement. CX solutions cannot be designed and delivered in isolation of broader business knowledge, be committed to learning about new technologies, AI, business processes, project management, change management, strategy, machine learning, new business industries, different types of cultures and operating models. The ability to tailor this knowledge capital and your methodologies to fit a specific organisational situation allows you to pay attention to individual organisational differences.

  1. Getting involved in organisational politics

 Your role as a CX practitioner / leader is to give guidance, direction and advice to organisations. Being clear on your role and always reminding yourself why the organisation has brought you onboard will prevent you from getting involved in organisational politics. By definition organisations are stressed, they need your help from all the internal politics and other complex business challenges, your ability to listen the best and understand the best allows you identify the internal politics and come up with ways to enable business value.

  1. Inability to be adaptable

Being an adaptive CX leader means you’re able to change your behaviour in response to changes in situations. You demonstrate resilience when things don’t go as planned and you’re able to bounce back from failure seeing it as an opportunity to learn. Cookie-cut approaches go against being an adaptive CX leader in that they are not flexible in nature, they are rigid, there is no room to access different ways of thinking and they inhibit you from shifting and experimenting as things change. Being an adaptable CX practitioner comes with a great amount of emotional intelligence and organisational justice which stretches you to respond to different organisational demands and pressure.

Closing Words

Non cookie-cut approaches require CX leaders who know how to:

  • embrace the diversity of views from all stakeholders;
  • evaluate views objectively and take advantage of the views that create business value;
  • let go of non-productive practices and strategies that are not supporting organisational goals and objectives;
  • link CX initiatives to the core value of the organisation;
  • foresee resistance and reluctance to implementing new strategies and the ability to embrace and address resistance positively and
  • have the willingness to undergo the process of change.

CX leaders like most leaders work with a great amount of ambiguity, be comfortable with it, have the ability to apply both head and heart, experiment with smart risk-taking, learn and adapt, creating win-win solutions, learning though reflection and take the time to navigate business environments.


Written by

Mandisa Makubalo

CEO: Unlimited Experiences SA (Pty) Ltd

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