Last fall, my husband ordered four sets of custom-made blinds to fit four completely nonstandard windows on our 120-year-old house. Inevitably, none of them fit — not because they weren’t made to his specifications but because he measured incorrectly. The site he ordered them from — — has a “F.I.T. Guarantee” that says they’ll replace your custom blinds within 30 days for just $10 if they don’t fit. With very low expectations, we called the number they give for these “oops! moments,” eager to see how quickly we’d be turned down because the failure was entirely our fault. Who’s going to replace a custom-made product that cost over $200 for just 10 bucks when the product can’t be used by other customers and the error was clearly ours?, that’s who.

Turns out they were every bit as good as their word in this instance, and we got our replacement blinds — after a little bit of customer service help figuring out where the initial measurement went wrong. It was a fantastic experience and one that couldn’t have happened without the company’s top-down commitment to the policy, clear communication to the customer about the guarantee and how to use it, and thorough training of everyone at the call center to ensure it’s applied correctly. That’s a big customer experience (CX) win, and I hope the execs at the company have experienced that workflow for themselves to see their principles in action.

But as great as that one experience is, every company has opportunities to improve. This Wednesday, July 15, we’re inviting executives from all companies — large and small, B2B, and B2C — to participate in our inaugural CX Reality Day. Participating is simple; take on one of your firm’s target personas and:

  • Complete a few tasks as that customer would: 1) Become a new customer; 2) resolve a problem with your service or product; and 3) add another service or product to your contract or order. And no cheating — use the public customer service number, email, or chat service, not the special executive hotline.
  • Jot down what happened and, crucially, how it made you feel at each step.
  • When you’re done, get your key teams together and ask yourself one primary question: Does our brand promise align with our customer experience?

Maybe you’ll discover, like, that one or more of your experiences is clear and simple to use. You’ll likely also discover bumps in the road — experiences or parts of experiences that are frustrating, annoying, or flat out don’t work. That may be jarring, and it may make certain business units or departments uncomfortable, but the point isn’t to name and shame. The point is to fix problems to better serve your customers, and you can’t do that till the challenges are brought to light.

After CX Reality Day comes the hard part: making those customer experience improvements that you discovered are necessary. But we’ll help you cross those bridges when we come to them. In the meantime, please join Forrester’s own executive team, who’ll be participating in CX Reality Day. We’ll share our results if you’ll share yours!

Get more details on how to participate here.