How to understand your customers better, from Customer Psychology

Gareth at Customer Psychology had an interesting post.  He took my post of two weeks ago (“Customer Intelligence: Bring Your Customers to Life for Your Employees“) and extended it.

The original post is at http://customer-psychology.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/how-to-understand-your-customers-better.html, but I’ve also reproduced it below.  Thanks, Gareth!

How to Understand your Customers Better

We’re staying on our external customer focus this week, but in a slight change I’m linking to a blog by someone else: Jim Tincher who writes the excellent Heart of the Customer. As regulars here will know my approach is combining customer and employee engagement, which is mirrored in Jim’s own focus. Therefore I shall borrow some of his wisdom.

So today I’m linking to his post ‘Customer Intelligence’ and adding a few thoughts of my own. In this post Jim discusses five key actions that you can take to bring your customers to life. I’m going to pick up on two of these and add some thoughts of my own. Read more

Drivers: The Secret to Customer Experience Success

iStock_000025403053XXLargeI was meeting with a global restaurant company’s COO, Chief People Officer, and key franchisees. I knew I was losing in the first 10 minutes.

We met to discuss ways to improve sales.  I brought a driver analysis on what drove repeat business with his restaurants, and the leading driver was “The Warmth of the Greeting.”  But as a stereotypical COO, he obsessed with repeatable processes – cleanliness, speed of service, etc.  He was unwilling to consider that perhaps something as fuzzy as a greeting was responsible for repeat business.  This led to a very long meeting.

Read more

Customer Intelligence: Bring Your Customers to Life for Your Employees

RetailEmployeeI once met with a VP of Sales for a Fortune 25 company who argued, “We don’t need to learn about our customers. We just need to execute the plan.” It’s no surprise that, while they were the market leader, they also had the highest percentages of customers who closed accounts each year.  As a result the company’s revenues were growing slower than the rest of the market.

It’s easy to get caught up in executing the plan. We’re busy and taking the time to learn about customers cuts into our “productivity.” But if you don’t take that time, how do you know you’re doing the right thing?

Read more

Three Steps to Start Your Customer Experience Program

Thumbs UpI’ve worked with a number of companies with great customer experiences, including several I have featured in this blog, ranging from retailers to healthcare companies to manufacturers. During this time I have noticed themes about how companies effectively use their brand values, strategies and missions to create a great customer experience.

Their structures vary and their approaches differ.  But successful customer experience capabilities follow three steps to success. They excel at Customer Intelligence, use this to inform their Customer-Based Capabilities, and sustain all this through a Customer-Focused Culture. Read more

The Perfect Customer Experience Score!

IMG_3315I was meeting with the Executive VP of Sales for a national retailer, who asked me “Is there a holy grail of customer experience measurement?  We use satisfaction, and I’ve heard about this Net Promoter Score.  Is there one score that’s the best?”

This is an important question, and one I’m frequently asked. Opinions differ, with some companies advocating their favorite metric with the zeal of the converted.  NPS is the only question you need.  Satisfaction is absolutely not predictive.  Or it’s just as predictive as NPS.  Or more predictive.  The Customer Effort Score is far more predictive than either one.

With all these contentions, why do I keep reading case studies that contradict each other?  Why do some companies find NPS is more predictive of financial results than satisfaction, where others find just the opposite?

Could it be that there’s not one perfect score for everybody? Read more

Create an Engaging Customer Experience Workshop

iStock_000019575299LargeAre you looking to improve your customer experience?  I will be hosting a full-day course on Creating an Engaging Customer Experience in partnership with the Performance Excellence Network.  You can learn more at http://performanceexcellencenetwork.org/events/minnesota-innovation-spark-2013/.

Creating an Engaging Customer Experience

October 2, 2013 | 8:30 am – 4:30 pm

A great customer experience begins with a solid understanding of your customers.  But it also requires that your employees use those insights to build programs that your competitors cannot duplicate.

The Performance Excellence Network (formerly the Minnesota Council for Quality) is pleased to welcome Jim Tincher, Senior Business Advisor with Satisfaction Management Systems, to a special full-day workshop September 10: “Creating a Great Customer-Inspired Experience.”

Jim will build off of the PEN breakfast earlier this summer, sharing the three keys to build a great customer-inspired experience for your business, and you will pick up actionable steps you can implement literally tomorrow!

Learning objectives for the workshop include: Read more

Creating a Customer Ecosystem Map

Customer Ecosystem MapCustomer Ecosystem Maps are the inside-out complements to Customer Journey Maps.  These maps are created by internal teams, and document the actions, people and systems that enable the customer experience.  They are a great way to bring teams together to create a shared view on friction points, and to create alignment on what needs to be solved.  I recently trained a company’s customer experience teams on this process.  This becomes a great way to get departments to work together, and I am excited to see their results.

Rather than trying to communicate it through text, I have created a Slideshare to walk through the steps. It is best viewed in full-screen, as the maps get somewhat complex. Enjoy, and let me know your experience with this process!

Jim

Design Learning Opportunity

A CX associate passed this along.  It sounds like a great opportunity, so I’m posting it here for those interested.

For the first time the IIT Institute of Design, the nation’s top-ranked and largest graduate-only design program, is offering courses in Minneapolis/St. Paul. IIT Institute of Design will convene a series of full-day workshops exploring the fundamentals of graduate-level innovation practice.

The design process taught at Institute of Design has been likened to “cutting cubes from fog.”

“Minneapolis-St. Paul is home to numerous world-leading companies and has rebounded quickly from the economic recession. There is a huge opportunity for companies to help make the future,” said Ashley Lukasik, director of corporate relations, communications, and marketing for IIT Institute of Design.

“Minnesota’s savvy business community has a strong tradition in seeing innovation as the path to profits. Companies are seeking to produce new things—reframing the conventional view of their current offering is an effective way to do that,” said Patrick Whitney, dean of IIT Institute of Design.

Chicago-based IIT Institute of Design, was founded as the New Bauhaus in 1937, this is the organization’s first executive education series offered in Minneapolis/St. Paul.

http://id.iit.edu/exec-ed-mn

Logitech: Sometimes Automation isn’t Your Friend

I received this email today.  While this is a B2C example, I think we can all see the risks inherent to any of our businesses.  I did not edit this email at all, outside of deleting the reference number.

Hi Jim,
This is <agent first name>, from The Logitech Customer Care Team.
How’s everything going, Jim?  We have sent a response and we haven’t heard back anything from you. We just want to make sure that we were able to address your concerns before the system automatically tag your case as closed.
Is there anything else I can help you with? If your issue has not been resolved, please do not hesitate to update me.
If you have any additional questions, please feel free to visit our website at http://logitech.com  or reply to this e-mail.
This is your support reference number: [reference number].
Thank you for choosing Logitech and have a wonderful day.
Sincerely Yours,
<agent first name>
Logitech Customer Care Inc.

Now, this wasn’t the most personal email I’ve ever received.  Especially since this is the third time I have received this exact email from a tech!

Scripts are useful, and they help ensure consistent service.  But over-reliance on them really doesn’t help. Using the exact same message coming three times shows you are inauthentic, let alone signing off as <agent first name>!

Have a great holiday weekend!

<customer experience blogger>

Measure Your Customer’s Entire Journeys, not just the Touch Points

Have you had a great customer experience? One you really enjoyed – a flawless purchase of a car, a fantastic trip, or a great B2B partnership? Now think of the opposite – a cell phone provider who frustrated you, a business partnership gone sour.

What made the difference was not an individual touch point, such as a call center or website. Instead, it was the overall journey – the process of purchasing the car went well, or the upgrade to a new phone caused far more trouble than it was worth. Individual touch points contribute to the experience, but it is the accumulation that matters.

Your customer experience is a journey. But too often, we manage it like a series of touch points, without looking at how these touch points fit together.

And herein lies our customer experience challenge. It is easy to measure website satisfaction or the customer service skills of a call center rep. We do this regularly. But what if your customer looks at your website for information, can’t find it, then calls your rep? How do you measure this entire interaction? The rep may do a fabulous job of handling the complaint, but the journey was a failure.

Read more