Posts

Don’t “Go the Extra Mile” in the Wrong Direction!

“What does ‘good’ look like?”

That’s a question CX leaders spend a lot of time pondering. For example, I’m often asked questions like, “How fast does our response rate need to be?”

The easy answer? “As quick as you can make it.” That’s the lazy answer, too.

It should come as no surprise that easy, lazy answers – even when they seem logical – might not be the best. But they can also seriously harm your brand.

Because nothing comes without tradeoffs.

For example, one Heart of the Customer client focused on same-day shipping for every service request. You ask for it today, they get it out to you today. That sounds better than “good,” right? It seems downright greatRead more

Revealing Change Makers’ Secrets

As regular readers have probably noticed, I’ve been referencing the massive research project we undertook last year often in recent blog posts, especially while sharing learnings.

Today I want to take you behind the curtain and describe the impetus for the project, explain some of the methodology, and tell you about my motivation and goals. To do that, I need to start at the beginning.

Once upon a time, I was a customer experience failure.

Back in the olden days (olden in CX terms, anyway, as it was more than a decade ago), I led a customer experience program in a division of a large health insurance organization.

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Backorder Issues: The High Cost of Reduced Inventory

Heart of the Customer maps customer journeys for a wide range of B2B organizations, from healthcare to manufacturing to distribution and more. We’ve found one area of friction common across industries: backorder issues.

Whether mom and pop retail storefronts or global manufacturers, customers with products on backorder face similar situations. Here’s how it generally plays out:

  • They take an order from their customer and promise a delivery. Then they find out that the product is on backorder. That puts them in an difficult position. Do they scramble to find a new supplier? Look for an alternate product? Disappoint their customer?

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Don’t Leave Your Customers in the Dark!

At Heart of the Customer, we work across many different industries – in the past six months alone, we’ve partnered with life insurance, SaaS software, healthcare delivery, property and casualty insurance, non-profits, and staffing enterprises.

These organizations serve a wide variety of customers who have very different needs.

Or do they?

We’ve found that there’s one need that crops up in nearly every industry and journey. (It almost feels like we could reuse this section of our recommendations for every client!)

It’s the need to keep the customer informed. Read more

Learn From West Elm’s Missed Opportunity

One of the most critical findings from our 100+ interviews with CX pros over the course of 2020 was the importance of selecting one emotional outcome for your experience and using it as a design target. This is because emotions are the heart of your customer experience.

But for some reason, few programs deliberately measure and manage their emotional outcomes, even though emotions strongly outweigh effectiveness and ease. (This holds true even for B2B, as Jen Zamora of Dow so eloquently demonstrated in my interview with her.)

This omission was particularly glaring for me during my recent experience with West Elm, Williams-Sonoma’s chain of high-end, artfully designed furniture stores.

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Unmask the Power of Social Proof

At Heart of the Customer, we recently had a software client who wasn’t winning as many sales as they expected. We mapped their customers’ pre-sales journey and found that the company was putting out their best practices, but prospective clients were ignoring them.

They just didn’t consider our client a trusted authority.

It’s common problem among CX pros. You see customers making “bad” choices, such as not making the best use of your company’s products or services. So you create communications to share the recommended approach, but you just can’t get customers to change their behavior.

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An Effortless Experience Isn’t Enough

In CX, we all focus on making the experience easier on our customers. (We even made it the title of our book.) But building loyalty isn’t as simple as removing friction.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s definitely worthwhile to simplify your customer experience. Friction is a key driver behind loyalty destruction, and your organization will benefit from streamlining processes and making it easier for customers to resolve issues.

But it won’t build fans who will go out of their way to order from you. That takes something bigger. Read more

3 Tips to Manage the Voice of the Last Lost Customer

As CX practitioners, we work to uncover the Voice of the Customer (VoC) and use it to drive the company to improve. We combine qualitative and quantitative methods to understand what customers need and communicate this to the rest of the company to ensure we remain relevant to customers. 

But if you’ve ever worked within a B2B company, you may have come across another source of feedback that, if you’re

 not careful, can trump your VoC – the VoLLC. You may not have heard of this term – largely because I just made it up – but it’s certainly something you’ve run across. The Voice of the Last Lost Customer.  Read more

CX Day Topic: How to Become a Trusted Advisor

I’ve yet to meet anyone who can believe it’s already October. Nonetheless, its arrival also means it’s time for CX Day, the annual celebration of customer experience practitioners and their successes!

Visit the CXPA’s website for a complete list of events. Also check out LitmusWorld’s week of related offerings, including their #CXDay2020 Voice of Experts series, where I am honored to be featured. (I was also recently named one of their Top CX Influencers for 2020.)

For my part, I’m going to mark the day by focusing this post on the power and potential of CX for B2B enterprises. Read more

In CX, Relationships Matter

A few months ago, I was interviewing a Senior VP customer of my client, and asked her, “Do you have a relationship with [my client]?” She replied, “Well, yes, we have a commercial relationship…” I cut her off (probably a bad thing to do in an interview!) and said, “I’m sorry, I didn’t explain myself well. Do you have a relationship with my client?” 

She stopped, thought about it for 10 or 15 seconds, then responded. “Actually, I don’t. A few years back I did, but not anymore.” She continued, “You know, I get a call from a competitor each week. And now it’s easier to take those calls. Because, since I don’t have a relationship, I don’t feel like I’m letting anybody down.” 

My client – who was in the room with me – listened to this exchange, and the power of her client’s comment stuck with her. She realized that you can make the experience easy. But without a relationship, it might not matter. Read more