Posts

5 reasons why CX should focus on the B2B Pre-Sales Journey

In the Harvard Business Review article, “The New Sales Imperative,” the CEB reports that in just the last two years the average number of people involved in a B2B purchasing decision has increased from 5.4 two years ago to 6.8 today. This change has made the journey far more complex, creating longer sales cycles and an overall more challenging sales process. 

This is the chance for customer experience (CX) to make a measurable difference to your company, by bringing in CX tools such as journey mapping to a very real and very visible business problem. 

A perfect opportunity. But one I don’t see many CX operations focused on.  Read more

B2B Companies: Focus on Onboarding First

In any customer experience, certain phases have more impact than others – either positive or negative – and create a measurable impact on the rest of the relationship. Positive results lead to customers who trust you, are more willing to forgive mistakes, and are more interested in your other products or services. But if they don’t go so well, customers are more likely to stray; they pounce on every mistake, and they’re very reticent to use your other offerings.

The moments that matter vary by experience, and even by individual. Effective journey maps show these Moments of Truth. But even if you don’t have a journey map – or if yours just isn’t very good – there’s one area that is consistently important in B2B experiences: The new customer onboarding journey. Read more

Why Your CEO Isn’t Impressed with Your Work 

I wrote last week about why Your CX Scorecard is Probably Measuring the Wrong Thing. Now, on a flight home from a client workshop, I have a chance to catch up on some old reading. And it turns out that your CEO likely agrees. You may not be spending time in the right areas – or, at least, not making that clear to the organization. 

Executives and CX

Walker’s The CEO View of CX includes a survey of Business-to-Business Customer Experience (CX) employees. The survey asked them about their CEO’s top areas of focus, and they selected “Competitive advantage” and “Growth, profitability and valuation” as their top two. But when presented with the same list to describe what they were focusing on, the answers were “Identifying what to do AND how to do it,” “Creating a customer-focused culture,” and “Incorporating CX capabilities throughout the org.” The same list, but completely different areas of focus identified. 

Are the two necessarily a mismatch? Of course not. All three areas of CX focus can be building blocks to accomplish the CEO’s goals. However, it’s telling that the CX employees didn’t choose the outcomes, but instead the tasks. And that puts you at risk of being marginalized.  Read more

CX is about action. Is Market Research?

Three years ago, Nicole Newton (then Director of Customer Experience with Thomson Reuters, now at Heart of the Customer) spoke at a Market Research Association (MRA) conference. The topic was “Moving from Insights to Action,” about making the move from Market Research to Customer Experience (CX), as we both recently had.

Big Transition, New Focuses

The biggest change we discussed was that in traditional market research you’re expected to develop a clear report that shows the research results and the insights generated from the work, and then you’re done.

When we moved to CX, the rules changed. We still needed to do thorough research and generate insights. But CX requires you to go further, and drive customer-focused change. Read more

Fees are rational. Customers aren’t.

I love the book Nudge. It’s a great reference on how to use small actions to make big changes, discussing such domains as 401(k)s, the environment, and health care. It’s a great read that has tons of applications to any change agent.

Unfortunately, one of their principles of choice architecture is frequently misapplied – using incentives to change behavior.

I’m not referring to the area that CX leaders get to see up close – the gaming that happens when you put too much emphasis on surveys. That’s a critical issue – but for another day. No, this post is about using fees to change customer behavior. It’s a rational approach that makes a lot of sense in theory – but can create havoc when not done carefully.  Read more

Customer Journey Maps: How to Guide Your Leads to Customers

Bottom lines are important, and a good measure of how business is doing. But there’s something that might come before the bottom line, and might make more of an impact on the strength of your business: customer service.

We all know what negative customer service experiences—or poor customer journeys, as they are known—especially with the advent of social media, can do to your brand. Take a bad restaurant review, for example: Posted on a travel-specific site, an angry customer can turn off countless other customers that you might never even have known about.

So what can you do to understand and enhance the customer journey? This graphic can help.

Customer Journey Maps: How to Guide Your Leads to Customers

CXOs: Three Ways to Help Save Your CMO’s Job

According to Forrester Research, 30% of CEOs indicated that they are going to fire their CMOs this year. The primary reason? Too many CMOs haven’t adjusted to the concept of the customer journey that fluidly moves across touch points.

According to Forrester’s Shar VanBoskirk, “Businesses are in a ‘post-digital era’ in which customers don’t think of digital experiences as separate from physical ones. Amid political and institutional uncertainty, customers value trustworthiness and positivity from the entities with which they interact.”

Marketing hasn’t kept up with your customers. Rather than seeing digital as a separate entity, they see digital tools as just another way to interact.

As a CXO, you’re in the perfect position to help CMOs catch up, improving outcomes for both your company AND your customers.

There are three primary ways you can make an impact:

  1. Help your CMO picture the overall journey, including its true promise: an improved experience. Marketing gets the customer journey concept. In fact, a large share of journey mapping initiatives originates in marketing. Unfortunately, marketing frequently concentrates on path-to-purchase and similar initiatives that focus on promotional opportunities. This leads to a belief that digital and analog touch points are simply portfolios of customer contact points.

Read more

What is the Most Important Contact Center Metric?

metrics2I presented at the ICMI CC Expo last month in Long Beach. It’s always a great conference, and I look forward to it each year.

In the afternoon after my journey mapping workshop I attended a Justin Robbin’s session on metrics. Justin began by asking attendees the most important metric they tracked.

Think about it for a minute. Of everything you look at, which is the single most important item?

The first respondent said, “ASA [Average Speed to Answer],” whereas another followed up with “productivity.” This was followed by “response time,” “commission” and “occupancy.”

Do any of these resonate with you? If so, then you need to rethink your approach. 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

Proof That CX Pays

Watermark GraphAs a customer experience professional, you know CX pays. How could it not? Customer experience leads to loyalty – so if your customer experience is poor, you have to spend an inordinate amount of time replacing the customers you’re losing. You understand this, and you understand the ideas and practices that underlie CX and all the ways it can be utilized in order to maximize companies’ engagement with customers and profit margins. Despite this, though, your boss still doesn’t quite trust it. Or your internal customers don’t ‘get’ it, or wonder how effective it really is. “What is the customer experience stuff?” you keep getting asked. “Does it really work?”

You know it does and we know it does – so we’re here to help you out when you run into those who don’t. Read more