Does your CX need a fix? It’s time to look at your Business Model.

Paul Elworthy
4 min readJul 2, 2020

However, we know that in order for brands to deliver sustainable growth, they need to provide a consistent experience that meets customer needs and expectations. That can’t be achieved if CX is seen as an after thought, or something that only sits on the surface of a product and service. To really make a difference CX has to be viewed and managed as the tangible result of how a business is set up, how it functions and ultimately delivers value to customers and stakeholders. In other words, CX as a direct outcome of an organisation’s Business Model (BM).

A simple but effective tool to help visualise how a BM can impact on CX, is the Business Model Canvas (BMC), developed by Alexander Osterwalder in 2005, to help Service and Business Designers show, on a single page, all the key elements of a BM.

Whilst the BMC is obviously a highly simplified view of an organisation, as a strategic design tool, it’s a great way to visualise a business and also use as part of any Service Blueprinting exercise, to help work out where interventions may be needed to fix CX pain points.

Any suggestion about changing your organisation’s BM, as part of a CX change process, can sound scary and will probably get an understandable emotional reaction from the C-Suite, but if there are failings in your BM that are having an adverse CX impact, you need to understand them.

Even if it’s too complex or disruptive to fix root cause, by simply identifying and understanding where issues exist, you have the opportunity to design in mitigations elsewhere in your product or service experience.

Each of the nine elements of a BMC can have a direct impact on your CX. For example:

1. Key partners — Who do you partner with in your supply chain? Have you established supply terms that are customer outcome focused? If not, then you’re at risk of these partnerships being a weak link in the way your supply chain delivers experience to your customers.

2. Key activities — Are all the key activities you undertake optimised to deliver against customer expectations? For example, does your marketing and distribution set unrealistic expectations for the service you deliver? Are key processes in product delivery creating painpoints for customers, such as inefficiencies and delays in your order processing and delivery?

3. Key resources — Are your resources (people, financial, data) all contributing toward a customer focused outcome? Do you have enough people to effectively support contact centre service lines or develop new service enhancements?

4. Value propositions — is it clear what value you are delivering to customers? Are you delivering value where it matters? If not, your ability to drive advocacy will always be hampered.

5. Customer Relationships — Is it clear what your primary approach to managing customer relationships is, and does that meet what customers expect? For example, does your cost model rely on self-serve but your product requires a greater level of person to person support? If so, you’ll be out of kilter with customer expectations.

6. Customer Segments — Is it clear who you’re creating value for? Is your BM designed to meet the needs and expectations of your target groups — even if those needs vary across segments?

7. Channels — Are you reaching your customers and supplying them with products and services through the channels that suit them? Is your digital offering meeting their needs? Does your channel offering force customers to put in too much effort to achieve what they need?

8. Revenue Streams — Is your revenue model optimised to deliver value — not just for your investors and overall P&L, but for those that use and consume the product? Are you leveraging revenue streams that could ultimately reduce dependency on customer revenue, such as additional advertising revenues? How open and transparent are you in what you charge customers for? Is your customer advocacy being undermined by admin charges that may be seen as unfair?

9. Cost Structure– How efficient is your cost base? Have you managed your cost base so that it can withstand sudden shifts in the market without adversely impacting your core customer base? JIT may be great to ensure efficient provision of product, but is it too open to system shock (as we’ve seen with the fall-out from Covid-19)?

Clearly these categories only provide a high-level view. Any analysis of the way in which your business functions and how your customers experience the products and services you offer, requires far more detailed analysis — but to help identify where key interventions are needed, it’s a great tool to build from.

If you’d like to know more or have thoughts on this approach — I’d love to hear from you.

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Paul Elworthy

Experience and business strategist and designer. Living and working in London UK.