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.

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What’s Worse Than No CX Vision? Multiple CX Visions

Creating a compelling vision is one of the trickiest aspects of an effective customer experience (CX) program. A solid CX vision aligns teams, allowing your front-line employees to decide how best to serve the customer without needing to escalate. Read more

Bringing the Voice of the Customer into CX Design – an Interview with Beth Berg

I met Beth Berg—a customer experience researcher—at a journey mapping round table at this year’s CXPA Insight Exchange, and really enjoyed her approach. So, I invited her to get together and discuss her approach, and she agreed.

First, tell us a little bit about yourself and your work.

My area of expertise is bringing the voice of the customer into customer experience design efforts. As part of the CX team within a company, I provide research support to our CX efforts. I work primarily via qualitative research, providing data the company can use, but I also work to bring in research conducted by other parts of the company that’s useful to our CX work, such as marketing research, analytics, and competitive intelligence.

It’s great that your company has a dedicated CX team—it sounds like they’re committed to using CX within the company. Where are you and your team brought into the CX process?

I’m fortunate to work for a company that has support for CX at the executive level. CX absolutely has a seat at the table through strategy development. We involve VPs and Senior VPs from across the company in CX design through workshops—all facilitated by a CX Architect and informed by research. Read more

“I’m new to CX – what do I do?” Seven Steps for the New CX Leader 

One of the pleasures of my role is that I get to meet people new to customer experience (CX). Being a relatively new discipline, CX doesn’t have much bench strength, so we bring in others from other disciplines who have the passion, but not the experience.  

This post is dedicated to those who have a passion for improving their customers’ experience, but aren’t 100% sure where to start. The items below aren’t completely linear—you can’t wait until one is done before you start the next—but they do list a good order in which to begin.  Read more

Get out of your office!

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In 2008, I left Best Buy. I had been there for six years, and before that had been with a small business. So I just assumed that every company was obsessed with their customers!

Yes, I was naïve. I still am.

From there, I joined a new company. And I learned there were other approaches to running a business.

This was a division of a Fortune 100 company that was growing at an incredible rate. We had the highest market share, and we were growing at 25%. So the organization felt like they had everything going right. They were so confident that their new strategy was to become a $1 billion business.

Missing the Point

Those who have read Good to Great probably know where this is going.

When I joined the company, I was amazed to discover that nobody in marketing or product development had ever met a client!  Their sales came because the parent company sold the products. The parent company had the relationships – so our product teams were comfortable sitting in their offices making up strategy PowerPoints. Read more

End Your Customer’s Experience on a High Note

HEX imageIn his terrific book X: The Experience When Business Meets Design, Brian Solis argues persuasively for ending your customer’s journey on a high note. Excellent advice, but not often followed. The importance of starting strong is well-known—websites begin with a striking visual, stores focus on greeting customers as they come in. But what about the ending?

Daniel Kahneman’s work (published in Thinking, Fast and Slow) reinforces the importance of ending on a high note. He explains that the experiencing mind is different from the remembering mind. Two parts of an experience have a disproportionate impact on how we remember it. First, the peak high (or low!) is remembered clearly. But second, the way the experience ends sticks with us with the same clarity. Both the high and ending points of the experience have a disproportionate impact on our memory – and thus, our loyalty. Read more

Why You Should Care About Journey Map Design

62IPO7VGWF-1Who cares about journey map design? After all, it’s your data that should be taking center stage in your maps. Who cares if it’s glitzy, as long as it shows your findings?

I’ve actually seen posts that make this argument. As if facts and data are all the really matter. But you’ve probably seen what happens when you try to sway your company using facts and data. The end result? Not much.

Even worse, I read a post from somebody who purports to do journey mapping saying exactly this: don’t worry about a pretty journey map, focus on content. But while of course content is important—your journey maps need to accurately communicate the voice of your customer!—design is an essential element to success.

We know as CX professionals that emotions matter (in fact, I wrote a whole post about it). When we design customer experiences, we know to keep the customer in mind at all times. So why not do the same with our journey maps? After all, journey maps are an experience unto themselves – we need to apply these same CX principles to a map. Read more

Turning “Little Data” into Big Productivity Gains

hotc imageThere’s been a ton of talk about “big data.” And rightly so. Big data has the potential to completely change how you treat customers based on a better understanding of their behaviors. It’s a great capability, and you should definitely look into it.

But this blog isn’t about contact center big data. Instead, it’s about contact center little data.

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A bad customer experience is like an Iowa radio station

When I was a kid, my rural Iowa hometown got a new radio station. It wanted to be a radio station for everybody, so it would play one song from the eighties, then one from the seventies, the sixties, and so on. The theory was clear: if you play something for everyone, everyone will be happy.

Of course, in the real world, that theory doesn’t actually work. Instead of pleasing everyone, the radio station didn’t make anyone happy. If you’re looking for Electric Avenue, you won’t love it when Sugar Sugar comes on. Whether you prefer modern hits or oldie classics, you’re sure to be disappointed quickly. Like my hometown radio station, pleasing everyone will just frustrate your customers. Read more

Interview with Laurie Englert – Customer Experience is a Team Sport

Laurie Englert HeadshotA new digital experience can make or break success for a manufacturer.  But what do you do when you discover that many of your customers’ pain points are analog?

That’s the situation that Laurie Englert was in. And the way she answered it was by creating an environment where customer experience is everybody’s job.

Laurie is the VP of Marketing at Milestone AV, a leading manufacturer of audiovisual mounting and display solutions. She is part of the commercial team whose primary customers are the independent dealers and distributors who sell and/or install their products into schools, corporations, hotels, stadiums and basically any other commercial application.

Building a cross-functional customer experience team

Milestone’s customer experience journey began as a web project. Two years ago they began building their digital experience, and Laurie co-created a customer experience team with her VP of IT. Read more