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

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

UPS Fail: Mishandled With Care

Operational mistakes happen. If a company handles them well, customers will forgive the occasional lapse.

But UPS’s recent operational lapse on a very sensitive item actually went from bad to worse.

The good news is, we can learn from their mistakes to produce a better emotional outcome for our customers.

And that outcome matters: When customers rate the emotional experience highly, they are much more likely to forgive you for a problem (63% vs. 11%) and much more likely to recommend your brand (76% vs. 6%). Read more

Interview: Creating a Clean Experience

How would you respond if your deliberately behind-the-scenes customer experience efforts were suddenly thrust to the foreground?

That’s the challenge Office Pride Commercial Cleaning Services’ CEO Todd Hopkins faced when COVID changed the way we all think about cleaning.

I met Todd after customer service guru Shep Hyken recommended him in response to my call for customer-focused leaders I should interview. It was an awesome recommendation!

In addition to founding Office Pride, a faith-based cleaning service, Todd has also authored/co-authored four best-selling faith-based books: The Carrot Chaser, The Janitor, Five Wisdoms for Entrepreneur Survival, and most recently, The Stress Less Business Owner. 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.

Read more

Fitbit Proves Rich Emotions Can Overcome Poor Quality

Customer experience has three components: Effectiveness, Ease, and Emotion. But too often, CX programs focus only on the first two. Why? Because they’re simpler to address.

Emotion is more elusive and complicated. But it’s where true loyalty is earned (as opposed to just preventing disloyalty).

That message hit home to me when my Fitbit died…again!

I was an early adopter and have owned several Fitbits over the past decade or so. Almost all of them managed to fail shortly after the warranty expired. (Show of hands – who doesn’t love that?)

When the unit I was using  just over a year ago died, I decided to upgrade to the Versa 2 Smartwatch, hoping that the higher-end product would last a bit longer. No such luck.

Read more

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.

Read more

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

For B2C, Cleanliness Is the New Black

Let’s not beat around the bush: $#@&*%! coronavirus trashed your journeys.

Prior to the pandemic, organizations had clear strategies on how to serve their customers, working to deliver an ever-improving experience to earn loyalty.

A better experience is still required…but how we go about providing it – and what “it” even is – has completely changed, particularly for B2C companies, where among other things, face-to-face interactions now take place mask-to-mask.

When I hosted a fireside chat earlier this month with Alison Circle, the Chief Customer Experience Officer for the Columbus Library system, she told me how difficult new protocols necessitated by the pandemic have made it to forge personal connections between staff and customers. But safety just has to come first. Read more

The Myth of the Customer-Focused CX Leader

Back in February (which feels like a century ago!), our analyst Diane and I were at the offices of Legrand AV, interviewing VP of Customer Experience Laurie Englert and her team. During a break, I turned to Diane and said, “There’s something here. I’m not sure what it is, but something stands out as different.”

“I know what it is,” she said. “Each one of them mentioned how they talk to customers multiple times a week.”

That was it! And it definitely separated Laurie and her team from the other 82 or so CX professionals we’ve interviewed so far this year. Read more