Posts

Why Agent Coaching is the Key to Customer Loyalty

Agent-Coaching-Depositphotos_44165767_sMichael Jordan had Phil Jackson. Walter Payton had Mike Ditka.  Look at any great athlete, and you probably see a great coach.  But it’s not just athletes.

Former CEO Brad Anderson used multiple coaches as he drove Best Buy to new heights. According to a 2013 study by the Center for Leadership Development and Research at Stanford Graduate School for Business, over half of corporate senior executives are receiving some form of coaching.  Yet, it’s unfortunately all too rare for the people who directly impact your customer loyalty – your call center agents.

Now, of course managers will “coach” their teams on how to improve. But all too often these managers were taking calls themselves not that long ago.  And nobody really taught them how to be a coach.  For some organizations, it’s easier to create a training program than to try to turn their managers into coaches. Read more

Why is Ace Hardware trying to buy my loyalty?

Settergren'sNo neighborhood is complete without the local hardware store. Ours is Settergren’s, an Ace Hardware that’s been in business for over a hundred years.

Like most of it’s compatriots, it’s the anti-Home Depot. You get a good selection at a decent price. But what really matters is the convenience and the really good advice from people with dirt under their fingernails who know what kind of nail to use and can recommend the best caulk for your situation. We stop by there not just to get tools, but to ask for advice on a job or to look for a contractor.

Settergren’s is a neighborhood institution. On a Saturday afternoon it’s crowed with people coming for paint, nails, mulch or a shovel. They’re active in the community and neighbors regularly talk about how much they love Settergren’s.

So it surprised me when they came out with a loyalty program. You earn points by spending money with them which comes back in the form of a card good for $5 in purchases.

Who thought THAT was a good idea? Read more

Journey Mapping: Interview with Annette Franz

Annette FranzAs part of the launch of our new website, I’m interviewing Annette Franz, author of the popular Customer Experience (CX) blog CX Journey. In addition to her blog, Annette and I volunteer together as CX Experts at the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA). We’re discussing all things journey mapping.

Jim: So Annette, let’s start.  You’ve written a lot about journey mapping, even naming your blog CX Journey.  So why do you feel that journey mapping is such an important topic?

Annette: One of the main reasons journey mapping is such an important topic is that it really sheds light on the customer experience the way it ought to be shed, from the customer’s perspective. A journey map really brings the customer experience to life, allowing people in the company to really understand what customers are going through, what their interactions are, and to create that empathy that we are talking about so much lately, that’s so important to creating a great customer experience. Read more

“It’s up to you” – Choices can ruin your customer experience

20141016_170140Choices make or break your customer experience. Design them well and they make life easier on your customers. But leave them to chance and they can drag down your customer experience.

I’m teaching a series of customer experience workshops for an insurance company. We were looking for an example to bring it all together. So, being a good partner, I went out and got rear-ended. Now I have a great story. (Note to my insurance company: it really wasn’t deliberate!)   Read more

Guest Post: Keep Trying to Delight Your Customers

Today we have a special treat, with a guest post by Bob Thompson, author of the new book Hooked on Customers.

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If you go to a bank to use the ATM and it doesn’t work, you’ll be unhappy and more likely to switch banks if it keeps occurring. Is it worth trying to delight customer when they just want to withdraw cash and be on their way? Probably not. ATMs are viewed as a basic need, with little opportunity to delight, only to disappoint if they don’t work.

In the 2010 Harvard Business Review article “Stop Trying to Delight Your Customers,” authors from the Corporate Executive Board (CEB) argue that consumers are more inclined to punish bad service than to reward delightful service. Therefore, companies should focus on delivering the basics, which is more likely to drive loyalty.

The title of the article is provocative and the authors make a number of great points. But if you take their advice literally, you’ll lose a great opportunity to create genuine customer loyalty. Read more

“Don’t try to change your culture. Exploit it.”

With this statement, the CXPA Insights Exchange was off and running.

This was just one of ten customer experience lessons learned that at Oracle shared by Jeb Dasteel, their Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer. But it’s the one that resonated with members, and was repeated throughout the conference. As just one bullet point in a longer speech, it didn’t get the attention it deserved. I would have loved it if he spent his entire keynote on just this one point.

Culture is a central customer experience challenge. You can’t seriously change your customer experience without factoring in your culture. We take on customer experience roles because we want to change the company – we want everybody to be as passionate about our customers as we are. And so we set about to change the culture. But perhaps we should focus more on exploiting what we already have. Read more

Add Measurements to Your Customer Experience Metrics

I led the “Developing Customer-Focused Metrics to Drive Your Customer Experience (B2B)” Unwound Sharing Session at last week’s CXPA Insights Exchange. This was a session where participants shared what’s working for them.

As we shared our best practices, one member pointed out how we were all focusing on metrics – questionnaire-based responses from customers. And sure enough, most of the debate revolved around whether to use Net Promoter Score, the Loyalty Index, satisfaction, or another survey-based metric.  This makes sense – we often have a budget for this type of work, and this is one of the few areas where the customer experience team may actually have some control.  So it’s what we typically use to gauge how our customer experience is doing.

And what’s wrong with that?  Nothing by itself. Except that these measurements can feel disconnected for your teams that are trying to deliver a great customer experience. Telling teams to improve their Net Promoter Score is equivalent of telling managers to make their employees happier.  Both are good goals, but neither gives any direction about how to do it. Read more

There are no bathrooms in the USS Enterprise

starship-enterpriseAs I was leading a journey map session this week, one participant asked, “When you’re putting in the customer’s steps on the journey, how do you know which ones to include? It feels like it could get really long”

My response was that, from what I can tell, Captain Kirk never goes to the bathroom.

She paused, clearly trying to decide whether I was saying something insightful or just stupid. I don’t know if she ever decided which it was. Read more