Wednesday, 9 December this week was deemed the least romantic day of the year; the rationale being that we are starting to get stressed by Christmas creeping closer, but the big day is still too far off to completely slow down. Would be romantics cite the cold weather as a big factor complaining that it's simply too cold to go on a date.  Stress and cold weather apparently brings out the gloomy and grumpy in us - and our partners.

And yet at this time of year we have the certainty of Santa seamlessly and magically taking care of our desires with one click of a wish list. Of course we now have similar expectations of our online shopping all year round; we don’t need nor want to know the mechanics, so long as it arrives on the doorstep. No more struggling with car parks, trolleys, rude fellow shoppers and of course, the rain. Most of us appreciate the mammoth team effort that guarantees Santa’s success at every point of the customer journey. From the supplier relationships to the care of the delivery team it all goes to plan, as if by magic.

Yesterday we hosted our year end webinar for CCA Platinum members launching the results of 2015 benchmarking and future customer contact scenarios till 2020. The report, to be published before Christmas examines the challenges organisations face in today's fast paced world with rising consumer expectations. Critically it investigates how customer experience directors plan to address these over the next few years; how to decide what to invest in is a serious issue to contemplate.

From the results, it is clear that most organisations lack the magical efficiency of Santa when it comes to seamless delivery. Whilst 90% have completed digital customer journey planning and have their CEO leading transformation, less than 50% believe they have the correct technologies to deliver against digital transformation plans.

As consumers we all bear the scars of experiences that don't quite live up to expectations. My recent order of a new phone showed me that today's reality has some distance to travel. Let's just say the lure of a fully loaded next day replacement upgraded device enticed me to stay with my current provider. The journey certainly had digital disruption, involving depots, drop off points and endless texts updating me with all the intricate details (including poor Brian the driver!). A week later everything is resolved, thankfully I had an existing device; imagine it was someone for whom it was a special birthday gift or a replacement for a lost or stolen one; or even for one of Santa's good people list!

To me this reinforces the message that it only works when it all works. The vast majority of cases will be fine but a chink in the chain can cause a big issue. A disappointing aspect of course can be the lack of a tangible lifeline; one way texts and no numbers to call aren't much good. Fantastically helpful people in the store can't help because the systems aren't joined up. A case of every form of assistance short of actual help? 

Getting digital journeys right and becoming the Amazon of whatever sector you are in is a big ambition. Setting and meeting consumer expectations is a set of increasingly high hurdles. Achieving this is as a legacy business requires us to innovate like a new build; no mean feat for most organisations.

Santa is a beacon of excellence for his ability to get everything to the right place on time every time - and for keeping the production and delivery details to himself - what an act to follow! 

Let's raise a glass to his success and keep trying to get there!

Here’s our free gift to you! A copy of the newly published CCA Research Compendium 2014/15 – available to download now.