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Drivers: The Secret to Customer Experience Success

iStock_000025403053XXLargeI was meeting with a global restaurant company’s COO, Chief People Officer, and key franchisees. I knew I was losing in the first 10 minutes.

We met to discuss ways to improve sales.  I brought a driver analysis on what drove repeat business with his restaurants, and the leading driver was “The Warmth of the Greeting.”  But as a stereotypical COO, he obsessed with repeatable processes – cleanliness, speed of service, etc.  He was unwilling to consider that perhaps something as fuzzy as a greeting was responsible for repeat business.  This led to a very long meeting.

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Three Steps to Start Your Customer Experience Program

Thumbs UpI’ve worked with a number of companies with great customer experiences, including several I have featured in this blog, ranging from retailers to healthcare companies to manufacturers. During this time I have noticed themes about how companies effectively use their brand values, strategies and missions to create a great customer experience.

Their structures vary and their approaches differ.  But successful customer experience capabilities follow three steps to success. They excel at Customer Intelligence, use this to inform their Customer-Based Capabilities, and sustain all this through a Customer-Focused Culture. Read more

The Perfect Customer Experience Score!

IMG_3315I was meeting with the Executive VP of Sales for a national retailer, who asked me “Is there a holy grail of customer experience measurement?  We use satisfaction, and I’ve heard about this Net Promoter Score.  Is there one score that’s the best?”

This is an important question, and one I’m frequently asked. Opinions differ, with some companies advocating their favorite metric with the zeal of the converted.  NPS is the only question you need.  Satisfaction is absolutely not predictive.  Or it’s just as predictive as NPS.  Or more predictive.  The Customer Effort Score is far more predictive than either one.

With all these contentions, why do I keep reading case studies that contradict each other?  Why do some companies find NPS is more predictive of financial results than satisfaction, where others find just the opposite?

Could it be that there’s not one perfect score for everybody? Read more

Customer Experience is a Sales Job. And We’re Doing it Badly.

Are you selling your customer experience?Rising profits

A friend of mine is in her first year leading her company’s customer experience. A few weeks ago she told me, “I never realized how much selling is involved with this job!” I met another CX leader yesterday, who said much the same thing: “I always need to have my elevator speech ready, to explain to people why they should care about customer experience.”

It’s unfortunate but true: most leaders don’t naturally think about customer experience, and we need to be evangelists for the cause. But recent research from Teletech suggests that we’re not really helping ourselves to sell the mission.

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Four Trends Changing the Customer Experience Movement

Our Customer Experience capability is growing!  In the last two months the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA) has added about 300 members, with four new sites hosting local events.  Here in Minneapolis we hosted a great session to discuss Forrester’s Customer Experience Maturity Model, and how members are helping their companies move up the model.

As with any movement, this growth is leading to maturity and change.  Here are four trends I am seeing impact our practice today:

  • Customer Experience is moving beyond just NPS
  • Increasing recognition on the role of employee engagement
  • Customer Journey Mapping 2.0
  • Emerging Comprehension of Customers’ Non-Rational Thinking

Customer Measurement is Moving Beyond Just NPS

The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is still the cornerstone of many customer experience programs.  What is changing is that companies are moving beyond the notion of using just one number, surrounding it with other factors, including satisfaction (yes, it’s still popular for many), loyalty, and the Customer Effort Score.

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Customer Effort Score: How Hard is it to be Your Customer?

How much effort is your customer experience?Are you familiar with the Customer Effort Score (CES)?  It is rapidly gaining converts as a way to measure the transactions that make up your customer experience.

(Editor’s note: More details on the CES 2.0 can be found here.)

The Net Promoter Score, or NPS, measures your overall customer experience.  But it doesn’t show where to focus to improve your results.  Imagine telling your store manager, B2B sales team, or director of your call center only that “Your NPS scores are low. Fix them!”  Where do they begin?

Transactional measurements show what segments of your experience impact your customer loyalty. Some companies have tried to use NPS to measure transactions, but it was never designed for this.  Asking “Would you recommend your call center rep?” doesn’t work, as most customers have no desire to call your call center in the first place.  Similarly, “Would you recommend [Company] website”  causes confusion – are your customers recommending the company behind the website, the design, the functionality, or all three?  This is where the Customer Effort Score shines.

When customers have to expend more effort than they expect, they leave.  High effort equals low customer loyalty.  The CES helps you monitor this.

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Create Change Through Customer Experience Heroes

What gets measured may get managed, but what gets celebrated gets repeated.

Improving your customer experience requires you to use every tool at your disposal.  Voice of the Customer research is obviously critical.  Understanding your existing Customer Satisfaction Survey or Net Promoter Scores is also important.  But while they monitor your status, these alone will not create change.  You need to find those bright spots in your organization where your customer is being well-served and promote them as much as possible.  You need to create customer experience heroes.

Customer Experience Hero

Heroes define a company, showing what is important.  When a company celebrates sales, they sell more – but perhaps at the expense of delivery issues.  When it celebrates product management, new products come out quickly – including those without customer demand.  But companies with great customer satisfaction use the Voice of the Customer data to understand their level of customer satisfaction, and then celebrates those who engage customers at a superior level. Read more

Customer Experience Irony

I attended a webinar today titled Understanding the Voice of the Customer: How to Effectively Gather and Leverage Customer Insight from Multiple Channels to Enhance the Customer Experience. I’m obviously all about both Voice of the Customer and the Customer Experience. But they immediately lost me when the presentation began with:

UnderstandingVOC-FirstPage Read more

Tekserve: A Blueprint for a Great B2B Customer-Inspired Experience

“Our job is to make our customers look good to their bosses.” 

That’s the philosophy of Tekserve, an Apple retailer and IT services provider in New York City, as articulated by Director of Marketing Jazmin Hupp.

Imagine that you are a long-time Apple retailer and supplier, and then Apple builds their flagship store just two miles from you, then four more just as close. Some might find it time to close up shop. Instead, Tekserve used the challenge as an opportunity to refocus on their customers. Their reward? Consistent growth, being featured in the Crain’s New York Business Fast 50 and the Computer Reseller News’ 2012 Solution Provider 500 list, which ranks the top technology integrators in North America.

Tekserve doubled-down on the service surrounding Apple’s products, particularly for businesses.  Almost 2/3 of their revenue comes from B2B relationships, where they are far nimbler than Apple. Much of their work involves integrating Apple products into existing networks, including wholesale conversions from PCs to Macs.

Tekserve credits their growth to three main areas of focus: Read more

The First Key to Creating a Great Customer-Inspired Experience

A customer-inspired experience is critical to growth. According to a Temkin Group analysis, a great customer experience increases likelihood to recommend by 19.5% and likelihood to repurchase by 18.4%. And the best way to get that inspiration is through those who talk to customers every day – your front-line employees. In this piece you will receive the first key of creating a great customer-inspired experience. Keys two and three will follow soon!

The First Key to Creating a Customer-Inspired Experience: Identify What Really Matters

This seems like a no-brainer. Companies know what matters to their customers, right?

In fact, many have it wrong. Leaders get so focused on their tangible capabilities that they no longer see through their customers’ eyes, and use their over-informed perspective to prioritize efforts. As a good example, I worked with a global fast food company to determine the best way to increase growth. This company was laser-focused on R&D – inventing the newest menu item to drive that bump in sales. They applied a very rational lens to their customer experience – if we provide good food fast and keep coming up with new items, we’ll grow.

This approach is so alluring that it is no surprise they succumbed to it. And sure enough, the company was rewarded with a spike in sales every time they came out with a new food item. So, like most companies focusing on next quarter’s results, they kept feeding the R&D beast. But despite these sales spikes, their same-restaurant sales continued to drop each year.

We identified a segment of customers who visited their restaurants more than any other. But even within this segment, we found huge discrepancies on monthly spending based on emotional engagement. Read more