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Interview: Kate Nightingale of Style Psychology

Heart of the Customer’s Jim Tincher sat down with Style Psychology Founder and CEO Kate Nightingale recently, to discuss the role of emotions in the customer experience. (But it’s 2021, so of course “sat down with” means “met on Zoom.”) Below is a lightly edited transcript of that conversation. You can watch the complete video here.

Jim:
So we were on a panel together [The Art and Science of Creating Exceptional Customer Experiences, now available on demand] and we were talking about emotions in the experience. And one of the other panelists brought up the “effortless experience.” Both you and I had a visceral reaction to that book. I have my thoughts, but let’s start with you. Tell me more why you reacted to that. 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

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

Measuring “ROE” – Return on Ease

ROI is the Holy Grail for customer experience (CX) programs – an elusive target that can validate your program and lead to greater influence.  Unfortunately, focusing on that big goal can be overwhelming. So for today, let’s target our efforts a bit more modestly, focusing on gains made through making it easier to be your customer.

Ease is the second key to a Game-Changing CX, along with Effectiveness and Emotion. While Emotion has the greatest long-term impact, don’t neglect Ease.

Who is Doing it Right?

Return on Ease (ROE) is easier (hah!) to track and to impact than emotion. Whereas different personas have different emotional drivers, their appreciation for simplicity is more consistent. It also helps that there are some great examples to lead the way: Read more

Customers + Bad Math = Worse Strategy 

There’s something that always bugged me about how people present their customer scores – whether satisfaction, NPS, Customer Effort, or anything else. 

There are really two primary approaches to this reporting: 

  1. Give an average (4.65 out of 5, for example) 
  1. Give the % of top box (5 out of 5, 9 or 10 out of 10) or Top-2 Box (4 or 5 out of 5) 

From what I can tell, nobody really thinks about this. They just do what’s traditional. If a vendor reports one way to one customer, they report this same way to ALL customers. As if everybody’s customers react the same way, and all points in the scale matter the same. 

But that’s not true.  Read more

Interview with Steve Eagon of Unitron: Creating a Great Patient Experience

steve-eagonSteve Eagon is the Director of In-Clinic success at Unitron. In his role, he works directly with clinics to directly help them improve their patient experience. Steve and Jim have co-presented at multiple conferences, so we asked him to explain his approach towards building an improved patient experience.

As someone who is very patient-focused in the hearing care industry, what do you see as the most import focus points in building more patient-focused experiences in hearing care?

Hearing care professionals have a ton of knowledge at their fingertips—they have a great deal of education and experience in the field, and know a lot about hearing care. This is a great thing—except when it leads them to overcomplicate matters when they communicate to the patient about their hearing care.

This is a common symptom of the biggest customer experience issue in the hearing care profession today: hearing care professionals do what they think is best without looking through the patients’ eyes to really see their point of view. They’re projecting their own values onto the patient—you hear a lot of “I think the patient this” and “I was always taught that,” a lot of “I” statements. But you can’t truly help the patient until you’ve stepped outside that mindset, and started seeing things through the lens of the patient. Read more

Where I learned about the importance of customer journeys

DannyEighteen years ago, my son Danny taught me everything I needed to know about customer journeys.

At just three years old, Danny wasn’t a verbose child.  So when he talked, we paid special attention.  One night when we put him to bed, he put his hands over his crotch and simply said, “Hurts.”

If you’ve ever had a 3-year-old, you can understand how we felt. We called the nurse line, who instructed us to take him to the emergency room right away. Panicked, we grabbed the diaper bag and headed to the nearest hospital that took our insurance.

A Regrettable Journey

As we got there, they instructed us to fill out the paperwork, then rushed us back to another waiting room. But this one was dark and abandoned – just one light in the corner. The staff person asked us to wait there until they could find a doctor. So we sat down, and I held Danny in my arms, whimpering. And we proceeded to wait.

After a half-hour, I was frustrated beyond belief. Anxious, scared. So I went to find some help. Eventually, I was told to go back, as they were still looking for a doctor. So I went back, and we continued to wait. Read more

“If you need a video to explain the process, fix the process!” – Lessons from a journey mapping workshop

I had the opportunity to conduct journey mapping with a state agency working to transform the employer’s unemployment experience. The group followed our first rule of journey mapping – always make sure the customer is included in the process – by conducting multiple levels of research, including in-depth interviews with employers who were new to the process and usability interviews.

Streamlining Your Process

Next they engaged us to map out the existing employer’s journeys. I knew they were the right type of people for this work when I overheard one say, “If you need a video to explain the process, fix the process!”

Unfortunately, that’s not always the approach.  I can’t tell you how often I’ve run across a broken process, and the response is, “We need to train our customers.”

The reality is, our customers are already trained.  They’re trained by Amazon to have a streamlined process.  They’re trained by Apple to expect simplicity. And, if we’re not careful, they can be trained by your competition to expect something better.

The irony is, this came from a state agency with no competition. But they understand that while loyalty may seem irrelevant, it really isn’t. Being loyal in this context doesn’t mean using their services more – nobody wants to use unemployment insurance any more than they need to. No, in this context, loyalty means being less costly to serve. It means less calls, and less irritation when those calls happen.

That’s what journey mapping is all about – making customer-focused change to improve the process for everybody. And, if the state gets that, then there’s hope for the rest of us, too!

The Best Way to Serve Omnichannel Customers? Just Ask Them.

omnichannel-customers_63116393_s-2015It’s hard to be in customer service. There are so many different – and conflicting – reports of what customers really want from you that it can be overwhelming to decide how to optimize your processes and allocate your resources. For instance, Teletech says that 28% of customers prefer to resolve issues via phone – but the Forrester Wave report says that 73% choose phones as their preferred method. For every report that says Millennials say forget the phone, another says Millennials actually prefer to speak to a live rep.

What is a customer service or experience leader to do with this conflicting information?

Maybe it’s time to stop looking at everybody’s customers, and instead focus on your own. Read more