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Four steps to build an improved B2C customer experience

Jim Tincher Jim Tincher 08/16/2016

shopping-cart-1275480_640Serving consumers is different than serving businesses.  It’s not harder or easier – just different.  I’ve seen real challenges in the past when leaders move from B2B to B2C (or vice-versa). Here are four steps to help you get started creating a better B2C customer experience.

1. Know your customer experience (CX) goal.

I was talking with a CX leader, and asked about her customer experience vision. She responded, “We want to be the simplest, and the most flexible. Oh, and we need to keep costs low.”

That’s a pretty hard combination to hit. In fact, I’d argue it’s pretty impossible to hit all three.

Your goal should flow from your vision. Are you trying to be the easiest company to work with, the one with the closest relationships, the most flexible?  Understanding your company’s goals is the first step to creating your approach. If you don’t know where you’re going, you don’t know what steps to take next. 

2. Keep score.

Of course, this requires knowing what score to keep. Most organizations use some form of customer score, whether satisfaction, the Net Promoter Score (NPS), the Customer Satisfaction Index, or some other overall customer score. These are important to help you track progress over time.

But as helpful as these are, business metrics are even more important, and are frequently ignored in CX programs. Customers won or lost, delivery response time, percentage of orders completed accurately – these are often more important (and more actionable) than any survey score. Once you determine your goal, isolate the Metrics that Matter (journey mapping is a good way to determine these), and publish these metrics to everyone.

We advocate business metrics for your scorecard. For a large mall we recommended items like frequency of the gate closing (meaning parking was full), reported safety incidents, and social media monitoring – items that we knew impacted guest engagement, but didn’t require a survey.

I was really interested in this study of supermarket shoppers, which disagreed significantly with Heart of the Customer’s findings in the segment.  The Ad Week study found that the #1 item that supermarket customers wanted (43%) was “Not to feel ripped off.”

I don’t know, but that feels like a pretty minimal business requirement to me. Yes, if your customers feel they’re being ripped off, that should be your #1 goal, and you definitely need to fix this. But I suspect that most supermarkets are more like our client, who are aiming significantly higher. If you need to measure the percentage of your customers who feel ripped off, this suggests bigger issues.

3. Segment your customers.

As a B2C company, you need to understand the differences between your customer segments. Yes, B2B should, too, but it’s done differently there. We’re not big fans of demographic segmentation.  Age and income may impact attitudes, but really aren’t the place to start. In our journey maps we typically focus on behavioral aspects, which may then lead to demographic variables that matter.

For example, in our radiology study, we identified two Boomer personas that were very different in their needs. Their demographics were similar – but their behaviors weren’t.

Once you’ve created your segments, you will want to report your scores differently for each.

4. Take segment-specific actions.

Once we’ve determined our goal, can measure it, and have segmented our customers, it’s time to determine how to act against it. And that action should be very different depending on customer needs.

I really like the approach laid out in Jim Kalbach’s Mapping Experiences, where he calls for quick tests on value propositions specific to each segment. I led a number of these efforts at Best Buy, and they were great ways to kill bad ideas quickly, while helping to refine the good ones.

When we studied a health club, we discovered that Class-Focused Carly had very different needs than Heads-Down Harrison. Carly wants to make it easy to understand the different offerings, whereas Harrison just wants to be left alone – but could be engaged with the right offerings. But both were very different from Mandy the Mom, who needs help navigating her new membership that often leaves her overwhelmed. Whereas all were Millennials, each had distinct desires and needs. Treating them all the same leads to watered-down offerings that don’t appeal to anybody. So our client quickly built little tests they could try to improve each customer segment.

These four steps are clearly not exhaustive – they don’t include governance, for example. But by following these four steps, you can hit the ground running.

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