Posts

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

Seizing This Moment, Solving Problems

Despite all the hardship, trauma, and loss endured by the global community the past few months, I can’t help but feel a sense of awe at times. I truly believe this is the greatest period of innovation I have experienced in my lifetime.  Read more

Is IT the ‘It Factor’ for CCOs?

Chief Customer Officers (CCOs) are popping up in boardrooms across Fortune 500 companies in ever increasing numbers. Those chosen for the position often come from Marketing or Customer Support, as those disciplines are thought of as having the most interaction with customers, making them seem like a natural fit. But are those departments really the best pipeline for filling CCO roles? I don’t think so.
Read more

I Got Great Service From CenturyLink – Eventually! 

The improbable happened. I got great service from CenturyLink.  

Less improbable was the Kansas City Chiefs’ come from behind win in Super Bowl LIV.  It was the third time in as many games they came from behind to win. 

On any given weekend during football season, any NFL team can rise up and beat all odds to get a win. That is what happened on a recent Saturday with CenturyLink. And the moral of the story is horrific online experiences can be saved offline.  Read more

Heart of the Customer

When CX Is a Matter of Life or Death

If you’re reading this, you probably already know that customer experience (CX) is important. But even the staunchest CX advocates might not realize that CX done right can save lives.

Earlier this week in this space you met Lee Becker, Chief of Staff of the Veterans Experience Office (VEO) of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). He discussed the challenges of integrating CX principles into governmental structures, and the four CX capabilities – Data, Tools, Technology, and Engagement – on which the VEO’s successful program is based.

Today we focus specifically on how the VEO is maturing its data capabilities to address trust, a fundamental component of customer loyalty and satisfaction.

Read more