Why your business needs to know about – and prioritise – ‘Operational Customer Experience’


Gartner defines customer experience (CX) as “the customer’s perceptions and related feelings, caused by the one-off and cumulative effect of interactions with a supplier’s product or service, marketing, channels, employees, and systems.” However, there is a crucial element of CX that has been overlooked within the customer engagement management landscape. It’s called Operational Customer Experience (OCX) – applied effectively, it could transform the way your company communicates.

What is OCX?

OCX is focused on a customer’s experience of an organisation’s technology systems. Measuring OCX provides the organisation with the ability to view a customer’s journey across digital channels with an outside-in perspective in an objective and repeatable and way. Doing so allows flawless customer experiences by detecting and eliminating operational failures that lead to customer dissatisfaction before they even happen.

With the rise of digital disruption, organisations now communicate with customers through a number of technologies, that come together to form one journey across different channels. Nowadays, given the ease in switching products or brands, time poor consumers are very unforgiving and will turn to competitors after experiencing OCX failures.

For example, if you don’t have an app, or your site isn’t mobile friendly or is hard to navigate, you will lose existing and prospective customers. Therefore, effectively managing the customer experience is no longer a choice, and an organisation’s OCX needs to be precise, flawless and at a lower cost, otherwise they risk losing market share.

Understanding these crucial elements of OCX can alert a company to where their systems are failing. For example, if a customer needs to resolve an issue with their internet provider and calls their customer service centre, it is highly valuable for the provider to know whether calls are being misrouted, the audio is poor quality, the chat bot is unresponsive, or a large volume of hang-ups are occurring. By testing, measuring and monitoring an organisation’s OCX using synthetic customer interactions, an organisation can gain insight into four key areas of their customer’s digital journey without any customer input.

  1. Quality: Is the audio quality high?
  2. Accuracy: Is the customer provided with a solution?
  3. Responsiveness: How quick is the process?
  4. Reliability: Is everything working at 100 per cent?
OCX failures

Many of Australia’s top organisations are still struggling to improve their customer experience in the eyes of consumers. According to Forrester’s 2016 CX Index, Australians rated 76 per cent of brands’ CX as ‘OK,’ with no brands reaching the excellent category. This demonstrates that improving overall CX is much easier said than done, and that clearly companies are not exploring every facet of their CX in order to find out where they actually rank. This is where OCX comes in, as a business can’t master CX without fully understanding a customer’s journey from the outside-in.

Everyone has had a poor OCX experience, whether it be repeating a question multiple times after being transferred to different people, the online shopping cart freezing before purchase, service staff not having information on hand, or getting lost in call centre menus. However, despite their prevalence, OCX failures are having more of an impact on an organisation’s overall CX than they know, especially amongst organisations not measuring OCX.

In 2016, Frost & Sullivan research found that six out of 10 customer experience and customer communications executives say that poor OCX was reducing their organisation’s revenue, and 89 per cent say that it negatively impacted their organisation’s customer satisfaction and loyalty scores. However, poor OCX can lead to more than just lowered scores – it can also cause customer attrition, lower revenue, raise customer acquisition costs and cause longer and unnecessary interaction handling time, further increasing costs.

There is no better example of poor OCX than #Vodafail. After mass call drop outs, slow data and patchy coverage, mixed with customer dissatisfaction at the subsequent customer service response, more than two million customers left the network between 2010 and 2013 due to poor OCX. By 2015, after a $3 billion infrastructure and customer support investment, Vodafone had some of the lowest complaint levels per capita. This highlights the importance of OCX and the impact of its quality perception on overall market share.

Why businesses should prioritise OCX

It is difficult to understand a customer’s digital journey from the inside – truly understanding it from an outside-in perspective is something that OCX alone provides. Customer satisfaction and loyalty scores often don’t provide actionable insights, whilst constant surveying can lead to feedback fatigue which can cloud results. These measurement methods also fail to alert an organisation of CX failures before they occur, meaning only reactive measures are taken. However, by the time a customer’s perception of the brand is damaged, it is often too late.

OCX needs to be a priority for any organisation looking to gain unique outside-in insight of the actual experiences of customers in order to proactively detect and eliminate failures in real-time before their customers experience them. Through optimising OCX systems and processes, costs are streamlined, and customer loyalty and advocacy increases.


About the author

Alok Kulkarni is the co-founder, CEO, and chairman of Cyara. Alok founded the company with a belief that the right software testing platform would enable businesses to guarantee success in serving their customers while keeping up with the rapid pace of innovation and consumer expectations.

Prior to Cyara, he was Director, Solutions Engineering, at Genesys where he led the team that architected contact center solutions for the Asia Pacific market, driving Genesys to the top position in that market. He also held various engineering roles at National Australia Bank, NEC, Lincolne Scott, and Boral Building Technologies.

Alok has an MBA in Entrepreneurship and Technology from Melbourne Business School and a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering from Monash University, Australia. Alok is married with two boys and his passions include all things technology, travelling, spirituality, and playing golf.