ITIL and CX (Part 2 of 2)

In my previous post, I outlined the history of ITIL, the first four of its guiding principles and how they relate to customer experience. This post contains the final five principles and how they link to the management of CX.

The first four principles of ITIL are:

  • – Focus on value,
  • – Design for experience,
  • – Start where you are, and
  • – Work holistically.


Here are the final five:

Progress iteratively – Resist the temptation to do everything at once. By organising work into smaller, manageable sections that can be executed and completed in a timely manner, the focus on each smaller improvement is sharper and easier to maintain.

More good advice for companies that are starting out on their CX journey. Don’t attempt to boil the ocean! When you make a ton of changes at the same time, you’re not going to know which change led to what outcome. So take small, incremental steps that will be easier to implement and measure rather than trying to do everything at once which will stretch your resources and be harder to manage.

Observe directly – To know what is really going on, measure and/or observe it directly. Be sure to base decisions on information that is as accurate as it can be. Going to the source allows a reduction in the use of assumption which, if proved unfounded, can be disastrous to timelines, budgets and the quality of results.

I loved this principle because it speaks to my belief that everyone in an organisation from the CEO down needs to regularly spend time on the frontline. You can’t truly understand your customers’ needs, attitudes, and motivations if all you’re doing is looking at reports inside the four walls of your office. Get out there and talk to customers!

Be transparent – The more that people are aware of what is happening and why it is happening, then the more that people will help and fewer people will obstruct. Make things as transparent as possible.

This principle is so aligned with customer experience that I actually wrote a post at the beginning of 2015 with exactly the same title. It related to earning customers’ trust by being up front and honest in your dealings with them but it could also be applied to the way customer experience managers work in with the rest of their organisation. In this sense, CXM’s need to communicate, communicate, communicate in order to align everyone behind the customer.

Collaborate – When the right people are involved in the right ways, improvements benefit from better buy-in, better relevance (because better information is available for decision-making) and better likelihood of long term success.

I’m going to relate collaboration to the processes of customer journey mapping and service design. Customer journey mapping workshops work best when there is a broad representation of customer-touching functions in the room. Why? Because you get a fuller picture of how a customer experiences your company with the greater number of different viewpoints that are provided. Similarly, the ideation process of service design will come up with better solutions when there is diversity amongst those involved in the process.

Keep it simple – If a process, service, action, metric etc. provides no value or produces no useful outcome, then eliminate it. In a process or procedure, use the minimum number of steps needed to accomplish the objective(s). Although this principle may seem obvious, it is frequently ignored, resulting in overly complex work methods that rarely maximise outcomes or minimise cost.

Another Lean principle rounds out the ITIL list and once again is very pertinent to the practice of customer experience management. If what you’re doing provides no end value to customers, then why are you doing it?


So there you have it. I bet you never would have thought that a bunch of IT Service Management principles could be so aligned with the practice of customer experience but it just goes to show how powerful the word “service” is!

If you work in IT and have adopted ITIL, what are some of the benefits you’ve seen since bringing it in?



  • ITIL Practitioner Guidance-
  • ITIL The Key To Managing IT Services – Office of Government Commerce



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