Temkin recently released the 2018 Temkin Experience Ratings (TxR) that ranks the customer experience of 318 companies across 20 industries based on a survey of 10,000 U.S. consumers. TxR is based on consumers evaluating their experiences across three dimensions: success, effort, and emotion. See their FAQs about the Temkin Experience Ratings. Continue reading
There are all kind of maturity models. The Temkin Group has developed a great one for the customer experience. It is free to complete and you get a report back!
Organizations don’t become customer-centric overnight. Temkin Group’s research shows that they evolve through six different stages of customer experience maturity as they gradually master the Four CX Core Competencies. To gauge your organization’s CX competencies and maturity, complete the Temkin Group CX Competency and Maturity Assessment. Continue reading
“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.” – Jeff Bezos
Amazon knows a lot about the brave new digital business world. They’ve invested billions in improving the customer experience.
Amazon is the new corporate model for how to do it right. Just look at Amazon Go and its ability to eliminate the most frustrating customer experience in retail, the check out process. It will be completely gone now. Poof! Completely gone in their world.
Digital businesses are built on amazing customer experiences. That is it. End of story.
This question drove Watermark Consulting to evaluate the macro impact of customer experience excellence. They’ve accomplished this over the years by studying the total returns for two model stock portfolios comprised of the Top 10 (“Leaders”) and Bottom 10 (“Laggards”) publicly traded companies in Forrester Research’s annual Customer Experience Index ranking. The results are stunning.
For the 6-year period from 2007 to 2012, the Customer Experience Leaders in their study outperformed the broader market, generating a total return that was three times higher on average than the S&P 500 Index. Furthermore, while the Customer Experience Leaders handily beat the S&P 500, the Laggards trailed it by a wide margin.
Keep in mind, this analysis reflects more than half a decade of performance results. It spans an entire economic cycle, from the pre-recession market peak in 2007 to the post-recession recovery that continues today. The Customer Experience Leaders in this study are clearly enjoying the many benefits that happy, loyal customers deliver: better retention, greater wallet share, lower acquisition costs and more cost-efficient service.
And the Laggards? They are being crushed under the weight of high customer turnover, escalating acquisition costs and an uncompetitive cost structure that is inflated by each customer complaint and avoidable inquiry.
As a digital executive, do you want to be a leader or a laggard? You can be a hero and lead the way to an amazing ROI. Your customers will love you for it.
Here are the key ideas:
- Start by beginning to measure your customer experience by using the Customer Experience Index.
- Begin by reporting results, focus on gaps and continuously improve the experience.
- Encourage a culture focused on building loyalty at every point of the customer journey.
- Agree on how to measure improvement.
- Tie loyalty to “bottom line” results.
- Involve customer experience ambassadors at every level of the organization.
- Identify budget constraints in investment decisions.
We’ve all been there. We’ve all experienced it. It is the conniption fit. It is the final straw. A great customer experience identifies these moments in advance and tries to prevent them. It also identifies the activities/indicators that lead up to it.
As humans, we can sense it. We can also, if allowed to by “corporate HQ”, do much to head it off.
Every day, every week, every month, every year, I learn something new. It is one of the reasons I obsess with calling myself a ‘specialist’, not an ‘expert’. Specialists never stop learning and I am regularly reminded that there nuggets of knowledge waiting around every corner. A few weeks ago, a fellow Customer Experience Specialist – an amazing lady called Jan Richards – passed on one such nugget. On this occasion, Jan did so unintentionally. Despite that, it is a nugget that has refused to leave my memory banks ever since – which has led to me deciding to write about it today.
I cannot remember the exact context of the conversation. Whether we were talking about a customer, colleague, peer or friend is almost irrelevant. What I remember distinctly is Jan saying something along the lines of:
They will have a CONNIPTION if they see that!
Our marketing department has a real focus and wants to launch a new campaign. They have done a lot of research and believe it will drive sustained growth with existing customers.
What is the role of the customer experience team for the new launch? A key function is to assess whether employees believe we can keep the implicit and explicit promises that will be made to the customer. A quick journey map may do the job.
Can we validate what will be different for the customer? Is that a good thing? If it isn’t in the best interest of the customer, how can we change it to make it better?
All questions to be asked. Nothing worse than unintended consequences for our marketing efforts.
This customer service summary from Seth Godin is right on target. We have all, way to often, experienced the opposite of what he is advocating for here. It seems the be the norm, just based on the customer service calls I make.
These suggestions are pretty basic, it doesn’t take long to learn them or teach them.
It’s very difficult to reason with someone if their hair is on fire. Customer service (whether you’re a school principal, a call center or a consultant) can’t begin until the person you’re working with believes that you’re going to help them put out the fire on their head.
Basic principles worth considering (are you listening, Verizon?)
The first promises kept are hints that you will keep future promises. Putting people on endless hold, bad voice trees, live chat that isn’t actually live, an uncomfortable chair in the waiting room, a nasty receptionist, unclear directions to your office, bad line management… all of these things escalate stress and decrease trust.
Don’t underestimate the power of a good sign, a take-a-number deli machine and a thoughtful welcome.
Don’t deny that the customer/patient/student has a problem. If they think they have a problem, they have a problem. It might be that your job is to help them see (over time) that the thing that’s bothering them isn’t actually a problem, but denying the problem doesn’t de-escalate it.
Leave the legal arguments at home. It’s entirely possible that your terms of service or fine print or HIPA or lawyers have come up with some sort of clause that prevents you from solving the problem the way the customer wants it solved. You can’t do anything about that. But bringing it up now, in this moment of escalation, merely makes the problem worse.
The goal is to open doors, not close them. To gain engagement and productive interaction, not to have the customer become enraged and walk away.
Empathize with their frustration. It’s entirely possible that you think the patient’s problem is ridiculous. That the customer is asking for too much. That you’re going to be unable to solve the problem. Understood. But right now, the objective is de-escalation. That’s the problem that needs to be solved before the presented problem can be solved. Acknowledging that the person is disappointed, angry or frustrated, and confirming that your goal is to help with that feeling means that you’ve seen the person in front of you. “Ouch,” and “Oh no,” are two useful ways to respond to someone sharing their feelings.
One minute later, then, here’s what’s happened:
You were welcoming and open.
You didn’t pick a fight.
You saw and heard the problem.
Wow. That’s a lot to accomplish in sixty seconds.
Do you think the rest of the interaction will go better? Do you think it’s likely that the person at the airplane counter, the examining table or on the phone with you is more likely to work with you to a useful conclusion?
Source: Seth’s Blog: First, de-escalate
Brian Solis was invited to present at FIC (Festival de Interatividade e Comunicação) in Porto Alegre, Brazil. While he couldn’t be there live, he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to present on a topic that he’s passionate about to an audience equally passionate about it…”the experience when business meets design.” After all, that’s the name of his most recent best-seller.
The event theme was, “The Experience Economy,” inspired by Joe Pine. Brian’s job was to help the audience understand the meaning and sensation of experience and how to bring them to life in brands, products and everyday ways of business and customer and employee engagement.
The presentation focuses on three different pillars of experience, 1) Technology, 2) Brand and 3) Design. But more importantly, his approach to experience architecture, centers on human beings and the relationship between these three pillars and emotional reaction and memories to them.
Experiences, the best and worst of them, become memories. People are going to feel something at every moment, so why leave those moments and ultimately, memories to chance?
The best experiences are intentional, connected, and personal. That takes design…human-centered design.
The customer experience, at its core, is a matter of the heart that is obsessed with serving the customer. Donn Sorensen is executive vice president of operations of Mercy Health System is one of the largest Catholic health systems in the United States. Donn is on to something.
A heart-felt leader will make a difference. Are you ready to lead the charge?
There is nothing that a Big-Hearted Leader can do that is more important than turning his or her company or organization into a force for good.” ~Donn Sorensen
What is the urgency of transforming (changing) the digital customer experience. Just think of the many customer experience fails that were magnified to thousands or millions of potential customers.
There is a benefit to transforming (changing), there is also a risk. Is it worth it? Think about it some more. Is it really worth it?
If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell 6 friends. If you make customers unhappy on the Internet, they can each tell 6,000 friends.” – Jeff Bezos
Today’s customers are shopping online much more often than in past years. This change has had a profound impact on companies who now have fewer chances to interact with their customers. Because the number of touchpoints within the customer journey has decreased, companies face increased pressure to impress buyers during each interaction.
One of the most important moments that brands communicate with their customers is when a buyer receives and opens their package. The most successful businesses understand that creating loyal customers means providing exceptional order fulfillment services, down to the packaging of their product offerings.
Making little tweaks to the experience of getting a package in the mail can really change the way that customers view your brand and their shopping experience. Interesting packaging can also help your company stand out in a competitive marketplace. Examples of small but impressive changes businesses can implement include sending personalized thank you notes along with packages and offering unique packaging designs like fun colors and branded tissue paper. Prioritizing these types of details can help set you apart from competitors!
Red Stag Fulfillment developed a list of the most important tips to create the perfect unboxing experience for your consumer. Read on to learn the best practices for providing an exceptional packaging experience, no matter your industry or product type.
Last month, Temkin Group published its annual list of CX trends and they labelled 2018 “The Year of Humanity.” Here’s an infographic showing the 15 trends.
Temkin Group does really great work. They surveyed 169 companies to learn about how they use customer experience (CX) metrics and then compared their answers with similar studies they’ve conducted annually since 2011. They also had them complete the CX Metrics Program Assessmentthat evaluates the degree to which these efforts are Consistent, Impactful, Integrated, and Continuous.
Here are some of the highlights:
- Only 11% of CX metrics programs received “strong” or “very strong” ratings, while 64% of companies received “weak” or “very weak” ratings. Only one out of five companies earned at least a moderate rating for being Integrated.
- Sixty-five percent of companies are good at collecting and calculating metrics, but less than 20% are good at using analytics to predict future changes in the CX metric.
- Satisfaction and likelihood to recommend remain the most popular CX metrics, with satisfaction at a transactional level delivering the most positive impact.
- Only 10% of companies always or almost always make explicit tradeoffs between CX metrics and financial results.
- Companies identified the lack of taking action based on CX metrics as a top obstacle to their programs. The identification of this as a top problem increased the most between 2016 (54%) and 2017 (62%).
- We asked companies about their effectiveness at measuring 19 different elements of customer experience. They are most effective at measuring customer service, phone interactions, and customers who are using their products and services. They are least effective at measuring the experiences of prospects, customers who have defected, and multi-channel interactions.
- When we compared companies with stronger CX metrics programs with those with weaker efforts, we found that the stronger firms have better overall CX results, more frequently use and get value from likelihood to recommend metrics, and report fewer obstacles.
Source: The State of CX Metrics, 2017
Marketing is playing a greater and increasingly significant role in the customer experience. Some companies are struggling with how to integrate the customer experience enterprise wide. Absent a dedicated Customer Strategy team, marketing does own many, but not all, of the customer touch points.
Here are some valuable suggestions from Martech Today: Three things marketers must do to better serve customers in 2018
1. Own all customer touch points
Marketers must be acutely aware of every touch point that impacts existing customers, even when they fall far outside the traditional marketing purview.
For example, many companies are trying to scale their interactions with the use of AI-powered bots that will help guide customers. In most companies, it is IT, or perhaps a customer account department, that drives this kind of project. If marketing doesn’t have a clear understanding of how this is impacting the customer experience, then it’s not stepping up to being the shepherd of the end-to-end customer experience.
2. Existing customers are worthy of your best everything
All of the things that are important to attracting new customers are just as important to retaining existing customers. AI, personalization, consistency of interactions and alignment of people in the company across the customer experience function are all critical components of retention.
Perhaps most important of all is constantly seeking and acting on feedback to not just increase sales but to also create the kind of loyalty and advocacy that help mold the perceptions of other existing customers and pull in new ones.
3. Find the metrics that matter most to the customer experience
Relying on the Net Promoter Score (NPS) to measure customer loyalty is no longer enough. It’s too general and static a measure for today’s fast-moving customer environments. What’s necessary is to also understand the sentiment of each customer as an individual.
Again, the solution is to constantly seek feedback on how you are doing in meeting each individual’s increasing expectations through the lens of the customer experience. This can be accomplished as easily as presenting a simple emoji scale for customers to score their satisfaction with every interaction.
Thus armed, you can measure such things as ease of purchase, satisfaction with sales and service, the value of your content and so on. This data can then be combined with data on repurchase rates, number of advocates created and so on, to provide a more complete, accurate and timely picture of marketing effectiveness across the customer journey.
Let’s face it, a lot of posturing about culture is about “who is in charge”. We don’t like to admit it but is true. We want our shiny object to be the next new thing. If it is the next new thing, rest assured it won’t last long. The C-Suite will move on from it, maybe faster than we think could happen.
Being obsessed about the customer and focusing the real change on digital improvements is about the customer experience. We all own that and the CEO is in charge of all aspects of making it happen. In companies focused on that as their culture, the results are geometrically better than companies not focused on it. There is plenty of data that demonstrates that. At some point we need to believe it and act on it.
Employee and customer expectations are changing fast. Faster than any of us want to admit. Other companies are out investing us in digital experiences that change the game for all of us. Have we created an agile culture of change? Have I done what I could to make it a focus with my work group?
Creating a digital culture isn’t about who’s in charge — it’s about building an agile structure that can adjust to changing employee and customer needs as new technologies and platforms emerge to fuel another shift in this constant cycle of change. ~Julie Woods-Moss, Chief Innovation Officer and Chief Marketing Officer at Tata Communications.
Innovation continues to be the big thing. CEO’s seem very enamored by it. Recently I saw a CEO create a Chief Innovation Officer position.
Seeing the person who filled the job, I would have thought he just got promoted to CIO as in the head of technology.
Being obsessed with the customer starts with the customer. How easy was it for them to do X? Painful? How can we solve that problem?
That will create a lot of traction for the customer experience. Maybe we need a metric focused on how many customer problems we permanently solve this month.
Innovation can’t and shouldn’t be tech for the sake of tech, it should always be solving real human problem.” ~Healy Cypher, founder and CEO of OAK Labs.
We all know it is true. Our efforts should be focused on the customer and customer experience.
Great company C-Suite executives and staff down the line know, remember and serve the customer. Over the long haul, there are a handful of these companies and leaders. It is easy, on any given day, to get distracted.
Today, all of us get to choose what to focus on. There may be tons of mandates on high, but there will be a chance, somewhere along the way to stick up for the customer.
We get to choose to do that and no one can take that away from us.
There is only one boss. The customer.” – Sam Walton
Artificial Intelligence is not going away and it will have a profound impact on the customer experience. Will they be the right experiences? We need to think that through carefully. Now is the time to begin that conversation.
Altimeter is reporting that “In the next five years, machine intelligence will become ubiquitous, and technology innovations, such as Internet of Things (IoT), chatbots, and augmented reality, will proliferate.
“This report explores the impact of AI on the customer experience, lays out a set of operating principles, and includes insight from technology users, developers, academics, designers, and other experts on how to design customer-centric experiences in the age of AI.
“More than anything, business leaders today should begin to treat AI as fundamental to the customer experience. This means thinking about the values it perpetuates as an essential and eventually indistinguishable expression of product, services and the brand experience.”
Key insights from the report include:
- AI is changing the relationship between consumers and brands. Experiences are different when they are informed or delivered by systems using machine learning algorithms.
- Norms that govern normal business interactions are being upended. This has created the need for guiding principles on how to deliver customer-centric AI that take into account: utility, empathy and respect, trust, fairness and safety and accountability.
- Building a culture of customer-centric AI has unique challenges and opportunities. To address these, leading organizations need to look at culture and community, design, data and methodology, and governance as part of organizational readiness.
- A checklist to help organizations think through issues related to AI and the customer experience. The checklist is based on interviews with experts in data science, engineering, customer experience, design and academics.
You can get the report here: http://www2.prophet.com/customer-experience-of-AI
Changing culture is very tough. Some days it almost feels impossible.
Is it worth it to build a culture based on amazing Customer Experiences? Yes, it is.
And so … let the journey begin.
“I often say that the customer experience your organization delivers is a reflection of your culture and operating processes. In other words, what customers experience outside is based on what’s going on inside. To consistently differentiate your customer experience, you need to transform your culture.” ~Bruce Temkin
There is a lot of talk and hype about the “learning organization”.
Here are some more questions. Please take a minute and actually answer them. Seriously!
- Are we learning about the customer experience?
- Are we using that learning to continuously improve our customer service?
- Are we converting those bad experiences into good experiences?
The answers matter! How did you do?
“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” – Bill Gates
We can continuously learn but none of our efforts are perfect.
There is lots of data to suggest the power of service recovery. Here is an overview from the Temkin Group.
- The power of service recovery. It’s undeniable that a good service recovery after a bad experience provides excellent results. When the service recovery is very poor, 63% of consumers cut back their spending while only 2% increased their spending. If the service recovery is very good, there’s a 10x improvement in consumers who increase their spending and more than a 39 %-point reduction in consumers who reduced their spending.
- The limitation of service recovery. The advantages of service recovery really kick in when the company reaches at least a “4” on our 7-point scale of goodness. But it takes at least a “6” on the scale to have as many customers increasing their spending as decreasing their spending. That’s a pretty high hurdle.
So how do we know about recovery opportunities? After customers have a very bad or very good experience with a company, they are more likely to give feedback directly to the company than they are to post about it on Facebook, Twitter, or third party rating sites. Customers are also more likely to share positive feedback through online surveys and share negative feedback through emails. Compared to previous years, customers are more likely to share feedback over Facebook and Twitter, and these channels are most popular with consumers who are between 25- and 44-years-old.
Here is a model for recovery.
- Communication (clearly communicate the process and set expectations)
- Accountability (take responsibility for fixing the problem or getting an answer)
- Responsiveness (don’t make the customer wait for your communication or a solution)
- Empathy (acknowledge the impact that the situation has on the customer)
- Solution (at the end of the day, make sure to solve the issue or answer the question)
“Customers don’t expect you to be perfect. They do expect you to fix things when they go wrong.” – Donald Porter
Bruce Temkin and his team are onto something. There are at least 3 core pillars to the customer experience. Many have documented this. Forrester has done some great work on it as well.
They generally follow this model from the customer’s point of view:
- Did it meet my needs (goal)?
- Was it easy to do?
- Did I emotionally connect? For example, was it fun?
According to Temkin, as you can see in the graphic below:
- Only about one in 10 companies is very good at proactively designing for any aspect of customer experience.
- More companies are good at designing for success (completion on interactions) than effort or emotion, but less than half of companies consider themselves good in this area.
- Emotion is the weakest link, as only about one-third of companies think they are good at proactive emotional design.
Once again, Temkin Group is publishing a new infographic that is very helpful. Some tidbits:
- The customer experience does relate to loyalty and increased profitability.
- 39% of consumers who had a bad experience spent less with the company.
- Customers aren’t thrilled with their experiences. Only 68% rate it as okay.
Do you believe employee engagement is important? Does it play a role in the top or bottom lines?
- Employee engagement is clearly linked to the customer experience. The dots are connected whether we see it or not. A lot has been written about the connections. You can see much of it on this blog. I would suggest to do the research yourself.
- Mission is important. It may be more important than salary and other benefits. Motivated employees don’t show up just to show up. They believe in what we do. They get it.
- Maybe it is time for a “time audit”. As a senior manager, how much time do I spend building a commitment to our mission? Is it enough? Should I dial it up?
- It is time to “up our game”. It will make a difference.
“Engaged employees are in the game for the sake of the game; they believe in the cause of the organization.” –Paul Marciano, Ph.D.
You role is one of a leader and you want more of a focus on the customer experience.
- What should I do first? The first thing is to have a vision for the future. We know that a vision is compelling for our staff. The vision should contrast a burning platform that understands the current pain points.
- Who do I involve in creating the vision? It is important to include as many people as possible at validating the vision. Creating the vision may reside with you and you alone.
- How do I avoid creating long lists of action items? The question here is really about staying strategic and avoiding becoming tactical. Others will want to know “what to do”. I should avoid telling them if I can.
Great leaders provide a compelling vision for the future and avoid a long list of action items.
Unified data and a unified experience is supported by an Omni-Channel approach. Omni-channel creates a unified approach seamlessly across channels all of your channels like direct marketing, advertising, sales, digital like the web / mobile and customer service (call center). All channels need to be fused into a single approach.
At its core, Omni-channel is about the customer and being obsessed with the experience they have with you. Any thing that is disjointed will throw them off. The focus here is on seamless and consistency.
Many times, off line is forgotten about in this approach. It may be first thing you want to tackle. How can your off line marketing support your online approach and vice versa? Are you spurring engagement with your company? Are you creating evangelist for your products and services?
Your customers are now interacting with you in many ways. They may see your ad at night on TV. They may search for you on the web in the morning on a desk top before leaving for work. They may go to your site during the day on a smartphone or tablet while on the go during the day. While on Facebook, they may look for your page. They may search Twitter to see what others are saying about you. Do they experience the same thing in all those interactions?
A great example of this approach is Progressive Insurance. Check out their web site and see if you don’t recognize the approach. http://www.progressive.com/
Because their journey is dynamic, accessible and continuous, today’s customers increasingly expect a seamless, integrated, consistent and personalized experience with their service providers which current multi-channel models—with their multiple silos of customer contact—are unable to provide. Instead, a fully integrated response to these new customer requirements will need to be both customer-driven and omni-channel in nature.
Here are some important things to know about the complexity of the connected customer.
- They are more knowledgeable than you may think. It is just too easy to search and research a company.
- Customers are becoming very demanding. Customers are under a crunch and value convenience highly.
- Customers are very empowered. They can easily find an alternative to what you are offering and don’t hesitate to if they aren’t engaged with you.
- Customers are increasingly social and collaborative in their approach.
- Customers are extremely diverse and may not fit your traditional market segments.
- Customers are very interactive in their approach. They may ask you a question on Facebook or Twitter and actually expect you will answer very fast.
- Customers on the go and mobile is very important to them. They may consume your content and purchase your services anytime / anywhere.
You might think that this sounds very difficult. There are of course some major challenges. But take a very difficult challenge of retail. How would you approach this? These examples may be helpful in seeing how it can be done in a very difficult industry. Check out these five:
- Crate & Barrel – The company recognizes that many shoppers switch from web to smartphone to tablet when conducting research and completing purchases, so when customers are signed in, the C&B app saves their shopping cart so they can access their information across multiple devices and browsers. This enables them to pick up where they left off no matter where they are in the shopping process.
- Oasis – UK fashion retailer Oasis has an ecommerce site, a mobile app, and several brick-and-mortar locations and it does a pretty good job in fusing those channels to give people a great shopping experience.
- Starbucks – The Starbucks rewards app is frequently mentioned in “top” lists of omnichannel efforts and for good reason: the coffee company does an excellent job in providing a seamless user experience across all channels.
- Sephora – Through its “My Beauty Bag” program, cosmetics retailer Sephora makes it easy for its loyal customers to manage their “loved” products and purchase history from any device.
- Chipotle – Chipotle Mexican Grill is utilizing multiple channels to enable customers to place orders wherever they are. People can place an order online for pick-up at the nearest Chipotle location, and they can also use its official mobile app to order on the go.
Here are the key ideas:
- Start with understanding what omni-channel means your customer.
- Create the strategy to integrate your approach for all channels.
- Identify gaps and easy / quick fixes.
- Begin with a few simple but quickly executable initiatives. Don’t try to rebuild everything.
- Form an Omni-channel engagement team to discuss how to get traction and be ambassadors for the approach.
- Encourage offline and online integration quickly.
- Don’t forget about your customer service (call center) operations.
- Create an integrated content calendar and re-purpose content across channels.
Customer experience is a hot topic for companies of all sizes and industries.
Here is a compilation video for you to hear what Steve Jobs (Apple), Richard Branson (Virgin), Jeff Bezos (Amazon), Tony Hsieh (Zappos), Gary Vaynerchuk (VaynerMedia) and Herb Kelleher (Southwest Airlines) have to say about customer and employee experience.
The challenge of creating meaningful relationships is complicated by an abundance of data from both online and offline sources, as well as a multitude of communication channels to contend with.
A big issue is how to consolidate customer information to drive consistent communications across channels. By taking a unified approach, marketers can better shape interactions with their organization to create outstanding customer experiences.
What should we think through?
- How to collect and manage online and offline data in order to truly understand our customers
- Why a unified experience is essential for growth
- Common inconsistencies and gaps in the customer experience, and how to handle them
- How to use data to track customer interactions, and use this information to improve communications across multiple channels
Here are the key ideas:
- This is an ecosystem built for data, insight and action – Resist the temptation to focus and organize around silos. While silos can maximize a part of the system, they sub-optimize the whole. We are building a customer (digital) ecosystem.
- What we should collect – We probably shouldn’t try to collect everything. We also should be collecting the “right” data. We should consider enhancing the data we collect to make it more valuable. Several suggested priorities are all online transaction detail and insight, most offline transaction detail and insight, social media data and insights and finally, call center transactions and insights.
- The value of offline data – Not all data is as valuable as others. The human resources to manually enter offline data can be daunting and so many times it is the last priority. There are great services that automate the collection of offline data at a reasonable cost. The first step in the automation process is to create a data value strategy. That will help justify the cost of capturing the offline data and integrating it into your customer systems.
- Understanding the customer – Data is very useful if it allows us to understand our customers better. Collecting data is of no value if it doesn’t lead to insight. Think data, insight and action.
- Unifying the data – Even 2 pieces of unified data is more powerful than one. Having a plan for the most valuable sources and at least integrating some of the data will move insight ahead.
- Unifying the experience – This is not all about data. At the end of the day, customers will expect a great (unified) experience across multiple channels.
- Doing something about the gaps – Knowing you have a gap in the data and the experience is one thing. Doing something that improves the experience is another. Insight is very useful but it must lead to action.
- Creating a value framework – Not all data is of equal value and not every customer is either. Part of the framework that leads from insight to action is understanding which customers are of more value and those that will lead to greater levels of renewal.
- An “Omni-Channel” approach – Unified data and a unified experience is created by an Omni-Channel approach. Omni-Channel creates a unified approach seamlessly across channels. All channels need to be fused into a single approach.
When it comes to the customer experience, it is important to think through very carefully what will employees actually do. It is my job, as a leader, to know how to have the most engaged employees possible. No on else can do that for me.
- What is measured about the customer experience, will get done. I have to make sure that I am measuring the right thing. What is the one thing that will make a difference in the customer experience? Do I know? Am I measuring it?
- What is incented will get done. Incentives can include compensation but should not do so exclusively.
- What wins are we celebrating? What I spend time celebrating with employees is important. Everyone will pay attention.
So don’t blame people, change their environment. I can do that no matter what level I am in the organization.
There comes a time where we have to make a decision. What will we invest in? It is a serious question and not a budget exercise. If we are going to be intentional and proactive, we need to make an investment. At first that may be just our time as a digital executive.
Eventually it will be about people, our processes, our strategies and our technology. If we don’t become intentional in our approach to our digital customer experiences we will continue to be haphazard in our approach; reacting, responding, solving toxic experiences in real time. This intention however must be about heartfelt experiences. It must create a passion for our mission as a digital business.
Here are the key ideas:
- There is a difference in the mediocre / ho hum experience and the stunning. Begin to believe in the amazing. If inspires you it will inspire your customers.
- Decide you are going to decide. Not seeing you have alternatives can create inertia that can undermine progress.
- Reacting to customer pain points is a “net zero” game. It stops the bleeding but doesn’t improve your health. You do need to stop the bleeding however. It can’t be ignored.
- Having stopped the bleeding if you need to, start investing in the stunning. It is one thing to prevent a problem, it is another to improve your wellbeing.
- In considering your investment in the amazing, test your alternatives to help make the decision.
There is of course, a very real cost to reacting. Scrutinize your budget and you will see that most of our fixed expenses are reactionary. What if we invested in proactive and intentional experiences of the heart up front? Could we radically reduce our reactionary and bloated fixed expenses? In fact, my guess is the reactionary expenses vastly exceed proactive expenses. I know companies that are ramping up their expenses in reactionary engagement and relationships. The good news is that they are succeeding in shifting the negative to neutral or even the positive.
So what is the outcome of taking a negative and balancing it with a positive? Is it engagement or damage control?
So what is the cost and value of neutralizing the negative? Shouldn’t we start with the amazing?
What is the return on that investment in the stunning?
What is probably most concerning is that most of use are not measuring much of this. And why are we struggling to generate more sales? Now think about that question. Why is our revenue flat? Why are customers not engaged and renewing?
Is the experience we are creating wonderfully sharable? If not, what is our investment over the next 3 months going to be in changing that? We must invest in not only a positive experience but an experience that screams out for our customer and clients to share it with everyone they know. That encourages others to join in. It also offsets any negative experiences anyone else has shared. Think about it. We all read the ratings and comments. If there are 100 over the top ones we can ignore the one that is virally negative writing it off to a weirdo.
What is the biggest deal? Trying to offset the negative experiences or proactively creating amazing ones? Creating amazing ones is everything. That is not an exaggeration. You know, from your own experiences, that it is true. The cost of reacting is always eclipsed by the upside of the stunning.
Think of what you want. You are a consumer. You are the customer who wants something from your company you are doing business with. Are you looking for the ordinary? No, you are looking for an experience, no, the experience.
Any company that recognizes you, remembers you, and gives you an amazing service experience will win your heart. And it is all about your heart. You will be loyal to them no matter what. That is what we know as relevance. A passion of our heart that transcends anything else. What would the answer be if you asked you customers the following question: Can you imagine the world without (XYZ Company)? On a scale of 1 to 10, what would your average rating be?
And so, that heartfelt experience is not just a so-so something. That heartfelt, amazing experience, is everything. That kind of vision is the father of innovation. Who needs the mother of invention in that kind of world?
You have a number of alternatives before you as a digital executive. Which will you choose? One filter should be which of the experiences will create an emotional connection. Have you factored that into your decision analysis? You can actually measure the difference in terms of engagement. Does one alternative improve engagement or not? Some level of rigor in measuring the results will help.
There are constraints in terms of investments. Consider small tests with some level of “A-B” spilt analysis. “A-B’ tests are not just for the marketing department.
As a digital executive, design is important. What is being sold is important but the experience the customer has in buying it has become critical.
What does the future of your business look like? Is it focused on your mission AND design?
Here are the key ideas:
- Customer experiences need to be intentionally designed.
- Customers aren’t satisfied with the ordinary and expect more.
- Measuring customer experiences gives benchmarks for how we are doing.
- Creating an intentional focus that also frames out what things to stop is transformative.
Digital business transformation is all about being intentional about the experiences your customers are having.
How many products and services do you have? How many channels (Web, Social, Mobile, Call Center, Direct Mail, etc.) are you focused on? Do they all have a unified design and experience?
Mission + Design = Intentional experiences
We are clear about our mission. Are we clear about our design?
If not, we aren’t ready to be the digital executive of the future. If we aren’t ready to be a digital executive, we aren’t ready for the future. If we aren’t ready for the future, will we have a relevant job 5 to 10 years from now? Tough questions I know but worth considering.
So here are a couple more of intriguing questions:
- How do we ensure that our customers are having an amazing experience?
- Why make customers cope with the ordinary?
- Why aren’t customers more engaged with both your mission and revenue opportunities?
Our focus and day to day work should be about creating amazing “customer experiences” in this new age of consumerism. What is going on in the rest of the world isn’t lost on your customers. They are judging you based on those experiences. We can bury our head in the sand. That will only get us left behind. Our credibility as an executive is at stake.
What should we focus on? What is amazing? There is actually some simplicity to it and it can be measured.
- How enjoyable are we to do business with?
- How easy are we to do business with?
- How effective are we at meeting customer needs?
Consumers expect more from businesses more than ever before. So our products and services have a level of expectation that our business may not be aware of. How does the experience your customers are having compare to USAA for example? Do you know?
Here is the harsh reality. Customers not only expect better experiences, they believe they are absolutely entitled to them. Will we be intentional in delivering on those expectations? Are we ready to get left behind with stagnant growth if we don’t deliver those experiences? We may not be ready for that but it may already be happening. I encourage you to think about it. It is a good question to ponder.
There is a unique opportunity to create amazing and positive experiences at our stores, on the web, at your call center (if you have one), on smart phones and in our direct mail pieces. Are all of those unified? Is the experience amazing?
That amazing or ordinary (or perhaps even bad) experience will be how your business is measured in terms of satisfaction or even our revenue success. Do you know how your customers feel about the experience they are having with your company? If not, why not? Are you being intentional about that experience they just had at your store? Is it consistent with the experience they want on your web site?
As an executive, you have an amazing opportunity to lead the charge regardless of your role. If you do, you will be a hero. To focus on what needs to be improved, the current experiences need to be measured so changes can be proven to make a difference.
Designing and unifying customer experiences will require skillsets that may not exist today. Deciding what else that is being done today that can be stopped so that staff can focus on design, experience mapping and unification efforts will require focus. The constraints of time and money will be important to address early in the transformation efforts.
It is a leadership responsibility to engage employees in our customer experience obsession. We know it leads to higher levels of customer engagement and profitability. According to customer experience guru Bruce Temkin, we should consider 5 I’s.
- Employees really want to be inspired with a compelling vision. While salary is important, real engagement comes from an inspired message followed up by real action.
- Employees want to be involved in being part of the solution. The closer an employee is to real customer interactions, the better the insight.
- The need to be informed about what we are doing to improve the customer experience is always essential. Middle management plays a huge role in this on a daily basis.
- We need to create a learning environment where instruction is the norm. Improving the customer experience is a continuous process where our learning is a key.
- Leadership needs to incent employees to be successful. While some of this is about compensation, there are many ways to incent employees that involve soft investments. Have we discovered what works for the members of our team of direct reports?
True employee engagement will lead us to great levels of customer engagement.
As executives, we are always faced with the question of will improving the Customer Experience make a difference? A number analysis continues to point in the direction of “yes, it does”. Forrester Research has some great data to demonstrate this.
In addition toe the Forrester data, the Temkin Group just published their annual report, Economics of Net Promoter Score, 2017.
Here’s the executive summary:
“Net Promoter® Score (NPS®) is a popular metric that companies use to analyze their customer experience efforts. But how does this metric actually relate to loyalty? To uncover the relationship between NPS and loyalty, we asked 10,000 U.S. consumers to give an NPS to 331 companies across 20 industries, and we then looked at how this score correlated with four key loyalty behaviors. Here are some highlights from this research:
Compared to detractors, promoters are over four times more likely to repurchase from a company, over five times more likely to forgive a company if it makes a mistake, over seven times more likely to try new offerings from a company, and almost five times more likely to trust a company.
We performed a detailed analysis of the loyalty data for promoters, passives, and detractors across 20 different industries: airlines, auto dealers, banks, computer and tablet makers, credit card issuers, fast food chains, health plans, hotels and rooms, insurance carriers, investment firms, parcel delivery services, rental car and transport agencies, retailers, software firms, streaming media services, supermarkets, TV and Internet service providers, TVs and appliance makers, utilities, and wireless carriers.
Ultimately, if a company wants to benefit from using NPS as a key metric, it must focus on improving customer experience, not obsessing over the metric itself.
Transformation isn’t easy. We all know that most transformation initiatives, of any kind, fail. The reasons are well known. Too many priorities. Too little focus. New shiny objects appear on the horizon which beg our desire to chase them.
If transformation in general is difficult, then it must be known that Customer Experience transformation is really, really difficult. Why can it fail? Too many priorities. Too little focus. New shiny objects appear on the horizon which beg our desire to chase them.
It will help to stay positive. It is always way too easy to become discouraged. There are many speed bumps in the way and it easy for the wheels to come off if we don’t slow down sometimes. I must remember why I started the journey in the first place.
It is imperative that we celebrate success along the way. Little benchmarks offers the opportunity to celebrate frequently. Celebrations engages the team members and energizes leadership.
Customer connectedness is one of Temkin Group’s four CX core competencies. A key capability in this area is a strong voice of the customer (VoC) program. This video highlights their model for creating a VoC program, called the 6D’s: Detect, Disseminate, Diagnose, Discuss, Design, and Deploy.
Do I believe that highly engaged employees make a difference in the customer experience?
There is plenty of evidence and facts to demonstrate if facts move me.
Or … do I believe in my heart and soul that passionate employees who want to serve customers are the key?
It makes sense to invest in my and my employees heart. Passion for service is a key.
Highly engaged employees make the customer experience. Disengaged employees break it.” ~Timothy R. Clark
We have made promises to our customers. They may not have been well thought out but we have made them. If our promises are not the ones that add value, we should think about changing them.
Is our promise clear to us and our customers? Do we know what it will cost us to keep it? It is important to plan our customer experiences around our promises.
Making the customer experience, relative to the promise, a priority will help keep us all focused.
What investments am I willing to make to keep our customer experience promise?
We know the customer experience is important.
We struggle with how to measure it.
At the end of the day, there probably isn’t one “right answer” about what the important metrics are. Having the right culture will lead to the right metrics.
The growth, development and profitability of any customer service company depends on its customers and it’s important to track this growth through customer experience measurement. Companies with many satisfied customers will undoubtedly be more prosperous than companies with few dissatisfied customers. A satisfied customer is one who is most likely to purchase from you, rarely shops around, refer other customers to your company and scores high when it comes to advocating for your company.
There is no denying that companies are embracing the whole “customer experience” phenomena. This year even more companies will adopt approaches to transform their business. The trend will only continue to accelerate.
What does this mean to you? Why should you not ignore what is going on with your competitors?
Disruption is around the corner. Others may be about to overtake you. Now is not the time to to ignore what is vital to your digital transformation efforts.
Some key areas for focus are:
- Understand your customers
- Measure the experience they are having with you
- Set up a governance or oversight team
- Create and execute a clear strategy
- Build better design into your processes
- Accurately assess where you are from a “culture” point of view
Many things make up the customer experience. Three that many agree on are achieving a goal, the effort it takes and how I feel about the experience.
Am I successful in achieving my goal? When I interact with a company, I have a goal in mind. Maybe I am just doing some research. Maybe I am ready to buy. Successful companies understand the goals of their customers and design the journey to meet the goal.
What kind of effort do I have to put into this? Is it easy? How many times do we go to do something and it is so difficult. We have a problem with our bill and we want it straightened out. 2 hours later after talking with 5 different customer reps and it still isn’t straight. It is more common than not that by understanding the goal a customer has in mind, we make it difficult to achieve it.
How did I feel? Was it fun and enjoyable? We are all creatures of how we feel about an experience. It may be the most ignored driver of amazing experiences.
All of these items have an impact on loyalty. So where do we focus?
The most impactful and overlooked is the emotion of it all; how I feel about the experience. Since most companies over look the emotional connection customers have with a company, starting there maybe the most impactful thing I can do. Competitors may never, ever get there.
Mobile can’t be ignored. The mobile experience can be painful to delightful. None of it happens by magic.
There is a variety of Temkin Group research on the mobile customer experience including: Data Snapshot: Channel Preferences Benchmark, 2016, Five C’s of Mobile VoC Disruption, Data Snapshot: Media Use Benchmark, 2016, and The State of CX Metrics, 2015.
What if your goal (strategy) is to revolutionize the health care experience? I think most of us would agree there is a lot of room for improvement.
This is not so much about technology (although technology is a big part of it) as it is all the processes that make up the experience. I would think the process would come first before any technology is enabled.
To fundamentally transform healthcare, it is critical for payers and healthcare providers to embrace technology and redesign processes. “To succeed and differentiate in the healthcare market of the future, stakeholders must leverage technology,” stresses Pat McCaffrey, TeleTech’s senior vice president for health care and public sector. This includes using cutting-edge technology to build multichannel communication strategies that are customized to members and patients. “Those stakeholders who are successful in this regard will command mindshare with their member and patient population and build lasting ties with them,” McCaffrey says.
How important is the experience that customers have with you? Before you answer, consider this:
- 40% of people began purchasing from a competitive brand because of its reputation for great customer service.
- 55% are willing to recommend a company due to outstanding service, more than product or price.
- 85% would pay up to 25% more to ensure a superior customer service experience.
- 82% have stopped business with a company due to bad customer service.
- 95% of customers have taken action as a result of a bad experience. Of those, 79% told others about their experience.
The Internet has amplified the ability for news to travel and instant speed, especially bad news. Many customer service management software providers focus on developing more effective tools to help you stay on top of managing your customer experience and ensuring that your customers are getting good customer service from your staff, all of the time.
The fine folks at Zengage, the Zendesk blog put together a fantastic infographic outlining the importance of customer experience and the impact that it has on getting new customers and keeping your customers happy.
If the product really stinks can you fake the experience to generate more profit?
You can’t fake the real experience. The real experience is vitally connected to the product itself.
Customers and employees will always figure it out. That spells disaster in the short and long run.
Once they figure it out, they will act and behave accordingly. That means your product is doomed.
What will the workforce of the future look like?
Great question. It will be the same and it will be different.
If the focus on the customer experience looses traction, a few companies who stay the course will dominate.
It is clear that great customer experiences pay off. That isn’t anything new. Employees and leaders who get that reap the gains.
What about those who don’t? A life as a cog in the machine. Not too exciting but it may pay the bills. We need people who want more than that.
Because customer experience initiatives continue to dominate the executive agenda, businesses often fail to nurture internal resources in pursuit of external gain. However, as consumer expectations evolve, so must company culture, for future employees will rely upon collaboration, adaptability, and purpose to further personal and enterprisewide success
Bruce Temkin does great work on customer experience. He has identified characteristics of mature customer experience approach. This is essential to the digital executive who is focused on great customer experiences. They are:
- CX core team
- Reporting executive
- CX Steering Team
- CX Working Group
- CX Ambassadors
Organizations need both formal and informal structures to drive change and improve customer experience (CX). In this report, we begin by identifying the five elements of a customer experience management group operating inside an organization: a CX core team, a reporting executive, a steering committee, a working group, and CX ambassadors. We describe how five organizations—Arizona Public Service, British Columbia Lottery Corporation, Cornerstone OnDemand, Hagerty, and Safeco Insurance—combine these essential elements to create effective CX management groups. Our research also found that CX groups come in all shapes and sizes, and that the needs of these structures vary according to the maturity level of a company’s CX efforts. Across all different structures, the success of a CX organization is based on three characteristics: make-up of the CX core team, executive commitment to CX, and organizational readiness for CX. To evaluate your CX organization against these characteristics, use Temkin Group’s CX Organization Assessment.
Are you a software company? Should you be a software company? Are you about to be disrupted because you don’t see yourself as a software company?
The new capital of the digital world is the customer experience. Without that, technology will fail us.
It is happening across myriad industries: New companies are rolling out solutions and services that tap into changing customer behaviors and expectations, forcing incumbent firms to keep up or become obsolete. But for every company that disrupts an industry like Airbnb, Uber, and Spotify, there are others that quickly fizzled out (MySpace) or lost touch with its customers (BlackBerry).
How will it end?
There are many things about the customer experience we may not have the resources to impact. We have to have priorities and make some tough choices.
How the experience ends has a huge impact on how the experience will be remembered. Have we thought it through? Do we know what feeling we want customers to come away with? Have we invested in that critical moment?
We can be intentional about that. It will make a difference.
This is a stunning way to see what can happen when you are a digital nonprofit. It is a challenge to be sure but seems to me it is the way to go.
If someone can feel that coffee can create a “I can’t imagine the world without this coffee kind of experience”, then imagine what we can do for the mission of our nonprofits. There is an amazing opportunity here for stunning experiences for nonprofit constituents.
Today is the day we need to imagine a group of people differently.
Last night, the finest, rarest coffee beans in the world, known as Jamaican Blue, found their way into my cup. And it was truly remarkable.
A cup of coffee? Really? I mean.. it’s just a cup of coffee, right? No. This coffee was robust. It was bold. It was like nothing I’d ever tried before. And it wasn’t just me. I looked around at the coffee shop, and everyone else was blown away too. Suddenly, we were all a part of this incredible, mind-blowing experience. Instagram. Twitter. Facebook. Pinterest. All channels blown up. I wanted people to know what I was going through – to be a part of what I was a part of. I had to share what was happening with my circle of influence in hopes that maybe – just maybe – one person would see this masterpiece and buy this cup of coffee too, only to have his or her life impacted forever.
If I felt this way about a cup of coffee, how much more enthusiasm could your cause inspire? Imagine what could happen if your organization bridged the gap with my generation..
More and more, we are beginning to recognize that a key to the customer experience is highly engaged employees. Gallup has lots of data on the correlation. Building a digital business will require strategies and initiatives to improve employee engagement. It should also be a key lagging indicator for the customer experience.
People are central to all we do. Goals are important but engaged people make it happen.
Engaged employees are the backbone of an organization. But while business leaders recognize the importance of an engaged workforce, several organizations have been facing high levels of disengagement for a number of years. In fact, numerous reports have pointed towards a serious problem in the United States. According to the latest Gallup report on the State of the American Workplace, only 30 percent of employees in the United States are engaged, while the other 70 percent are not reaching their full potential. While there is no magic recipe to achieve and retain high levels of employee engagement, there are certainly a number of ingredients that, when combined, will steer organizations in the right direction. These components are not dissimilar from the ones needed to have a successful relationship and manage a household.