banking customer experience fails

Poor Integration is Bad for Customers and Worse for Brands

Although we all have bad customer experiences, there is still a big debate about “the CX field” and whether it will survive the test of time. There is no doubt in my mind that customer experience is here to stay. The brands that catch on to this truth will be our service providers in the future.

Do you need an example to make your business case in the board room? By all means, use our recent horrible experience with TD Bank Small Businesses Banking.

Continue reading “Poor Integration is Bad for Customers and Worse for Brands”

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Create Your Tribe: How Great CX Makes a Lifestyle Brand

Editor’s Note: This post is part of a series about retail CX during the holiday season. See the other posts in the series here and here.

Two weeks ago we talked about the underutilized post-purchase touch point of the customer journey. Brands rarely leverage it. At the end of my CX journey with HelloSpud the CEO used her inventory management challenge to make me a loyal customer. Today, we’re looking at other small businesses that leverage customer experience to gain loyalty and brand power.

Smaller brands cherish every customer they have.

Newcomers to the market realize that their business is only as strong as the growth of their customer base. With that in mind, senior leaders work hard to shorten the distance between them and the customer. The CEO of men’s apparel brand Masorini does this very well. And he is using email, a traditional method of communication, to standout in a crowded market place.

Masorini sends a personal thank you note from the CEO after every purchase. With it the small online store recognizes the value of every customer and every customer’s experience. By doing this, the CEO himself shows his personal commitment to his customers. He inserts himself into the customer journey in a unique and powerful way.

Gratitude Creates Relationships that Promote Brand Goals

With the thank you note, the Masorini CEO accomplishes three goals: create a relationship, build loyalty, and increase sales. The email creates a customer-brand relationship first by thanking the customer, then by asking for feedback. Connecting and listening in this way builds and promotes customer loyalty in the shortened space between brand and customer. Next, the email aims to increase sales by offering 20% off indefinitely, and delivering a memorable customer experience.

Lastly, in a pop up window on the website, the brand welcomes email subscribers to “the Masorini tribe.” Words matter. He has clearly thought through how he wants his customers to feel. Loyal. To their tribe. Buy more. Belong to the tribe.

Brand Culture and Values are more than Ideas

Many brands claim that they have culture and values. Some even paint those value statements on their office walls. Far fewer use them in their hiring and performance management processes. While that is good from internal management perspective, the real differentiator is sharing your mission and values with your customers on their journeys.

llifestyle brand Thursday Book Co customer experience

This type of brand management requires a deeper dedication to the customer and his/her experience than any other expression of values. Shoes brand Thursday Boot Co. has done this in an exceptional way. It is exceptional, because it is bold. It takes courage for a brand to send its mission statement to every customers who buys a product.

Bold Brand Commitment

What if the customer does not agree with the brand’s belief system? Thursday Boot Co. is not trying to be everything to everyone. The brand knows who they want as a customer and that is who they are talking to. They are not out to get just anyone. This is how a brand has the opportunity to become a lifestyle brand. A brand with loyal followers, repeat purchasers, and loud brand ambassadors. I am one of them. Both my husband and I buy shoes from Thursday Boot Co. Guess what my mother’s Christmas present will be this year?

These are just two examples of great customer experience that were executed well and in a timely manner. Masorini and Thursday Boot Co. managed brand and sales expertly. In so doing, both companies are case studies for the ROI of CX. When brands nurture their customers, customers respond with their wallets.

The value of memorable experiences and well-managed customer journeys is powerful both for the customer and the brand. Aim to build more unique journeys for your customers. If you need help designing memorable touch points on the road, reach out to us. We love ideating, co-creating, and DoingCXRight with brands!

 

*All opinions expressed on the DoingCXRight Blog and site pages are the authors’ alone and do not reflect the opinions of or imply the endorsement of employers or other organizations.

Can One Email Build Loyalty? #MYWESTELM

Editor’s Note: This post is part of a series about retail CX during the holiday season. See the other posts in the series here and here.

For retailers, the holiday season is make or break. As brands try to use their strengths to differentiate themselves in the crowded market space, winners and losers emerge. Today, we’re talking about one of the winners.

As consumers, we are inundated by emails offering, countless deals, and discount codes during the holiday season. Few stand out. Continue Reading →

call center tips cx

3 Call Center Mistakes You Are Making

Before we dive into this post, I urge all of us to stop using the term call center. 2018 brands should not have call centers. Instead, engaged brands of today need Contact Centers.

If you are still responding to your customers only by phone, you are failing to provide efficient, relevant and timely customer support. Even worse, you are abandoning people who sought your help and never got it. Their tweets are floating unanswered in cyber space. After more than an hour of holding time, they hung up on you. Now that this caveat is out of the way, here are the 3 most common questions I get about call center management.

How Do You keep call center agents motivated and engaged?

The call center agent role is daunting. This leads to high turnover and low employee engagement scores. If you are managing a call center, you are likely struggling to keep up employee morale, before you can even hope to offer exceptional customer service.

The solution to employee engagement and ultimately, exception customer experience starts with the hiring process. Motivation and mission-driven service begins with hiring the right people. If your call center is staffed with people who see their jobs as temporary or transition positions, those people will not stay. They also will not give the job – and your customers – all they have.

Design profile of WHO you want in your contact center. Be ruthless about your selection process. Hire based on values and attitudes, not on skills. Hire with CULTURE in mind.

I appreciate that this is easier said than done, but it is not impossible. You can do it. If brands like Zappos and Ritz Carlton can do it, so can you. We all read about the incentive games and payment for performance. These are tactics that help maintain a culture of caring. But if you do not hire the right people, these tools will not make an impactful difference.

What vendor do you recommend for automating call centers using AI?

It is amazing that no matter how often my peers and I say that technology is not the answer, call center managers still ask this question expecting a silver bullet in the shape of a vendor name.

I will say it again here: you can use any type of vendor and still fail. You can also build a chat bot solution internally and succeed. The key here is recognizing two things that get overlooked all the time: aggregating and cleaning data.

Aggregating and cleaning your data is the foundation of any AI solution. Without this step, no vendor can save you. Garbage in, garbage out is exactly the logic here. So pause the vendor conversation and call your IT partner to discuss how ready your organization is for a chat bot solution. Do you have unique customer IDs? Do you have a relatively accurate matching tools and algorithms that can be transformed into a dashboard that can either help your contact center agents, or can be fed into a chat bot to answer basic questions?

Then, gather your call agents. Ask them what they need to provide memorable service. Empower them to help by LISTENING to them and by co-creating THEIR solution, not the vendor’s.  If Fedex asked the call agent who could not change my delivery address what she requires to satisfy customers needs, I am sure that the ability to change addresses in real time would be on her list.

What locations for outsourcing call centers are best?

This is another great example of the quest for the silver bullet. If you can remember one thing from this post , remember this – location is not everything in contact center management – culture is. Yes, you can outsource your contact centers, but the more money you save on the hourly wages, the more your brand erosion is going to increase.

When you realize that your contact center agents are an extension of your brand, you will be able to convert call center agents into brand ambassadors. This is when you are leveraging this touch point into a retention vehicle. For that business transformation to happen, you do not need to relocate the team to “the best location for call centers.” You need to look for the cradle of your brand and hire the right people in that location. That way, you will have the right ingredients to build a solid support center staffed with passionate people who genuinely want to help. From there, the Wow Moments pop up organically.

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*All opinions expressed on the DoingCXRight Blog and site pages are the authors’ alone and do not reflect the opinions of or imply the endorsement of employers or other organizations.

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NYC Subway CX Kills Chivalry in the City

Brands with values inspire customers who interact with them. Nike encourages us to be brave and embrace our differences. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation urges us to be kind and care for others. Brands like this use the CX Pyramid to promote their values and deliver the reliable experiences customers want. Continue Reading →

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WeWork Does CX Right with a Wow Moment

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Coworking space WeWork is our latest example of how to do CX right. Customer-centric brands that are winning at CX, or as we like to say, the brands that are "doingcxright" use customer experience to deliver on brand mission and values. In other words, doingcxright brands like WeWork walk the talk. At its best, CX is much more than the passive delivery of brand-directed experiences. When a brand creates personal, relevant experience at exactly the right time, it can build a lifelong, loyal customer relationship. You are probably thinking about big data and machine learning right now, but sometimes, all a brand needs is people who genuinely care.

In our post about focusing on CX experiences over investment in "wow moments," we evaluated a Wow Moment that failed to achieve the customer experience impact the brand wanted (and needed). However, this does not mean that Wow Moments should not be part of the CX professional's portfolio.

Used at the right time and place along the customer's journey, the Wow Moment is an excellent retention technique. Co-working space WeWork understands this. As a result, WeWork may just have created an extremely valuable business relationship with me by doing CX right and using the Wow Technique at the right time and place on my customer journey.

CX Moments are Marketing tools

Last week, I booked a small working space with WeWork in our company building. I suspect I was the first person to use our partnership with WeWork. We completed the transaction pretty quickly on Monday. We moved in on Tuesday. On Wednesday afternoon, the WeWork team member came to our space with a present for my unborn BABY. Now that is what I call surprise and delight.

They never commented on my pregnancy. They just acknowledged it with a kind gesture. Apart from the word of mouth that this timely gesture generated, WeWork inspired me to write this blog entry, generating even more marketing for themselves. Are they perfect in terms of operations - not necessarily. But is that what I am writing about? No.

Did this Wow Moment make a difference in my perception? Absolutely.

When Doing CX Right is a Retention Tool

Another effect of the gift WeWork bought for my daughter is retention. Even if I do not keep the space I rented on behalf of my employer, my customer relationship with WeWork will not end when the temporary rental ends.

WeWork is a smart brand that understands this. The company is working with a much longer horizon in mind. I do not think that there is more personal gift for a woman than a gift for her unborn child. With it, the WeWork brand became part of my child's first moments and that will always bring a smile to my face. So if I ever need working space in the future, will I reach out to WeWork?

What do you think?

WeWork is Celebrating WOmen - That's Doing CX Right

The world of business is finally embracing the true consumer power of women. Women-only co-working space, The Wing provides work and community space exclusively for women, both empowering women entrepreneurs and interacting with those entrepreneurs as the end consumer.

The Buzz is solving a decades-long safety challenge for young girls. With its timely Wow Moment, WeWork joined the ranks of those women-driven brands and will be rewarded for making that stand. One thing Millennials, Generation X and Generation Z value and reward is a brand that takes a stance.

Check the Nike's stock price this week and you will know what I mean.

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*All opinions expressed on the DoingCXRight Blog and site pages are the authors’ alone and do not reflect the opinions of or imply the endorsement of employers or other organizations.

 

 

cx stress to success

Eliminate Customer Stress with Good CX

Good customer experiences either give back customer time or alleviate customer anxiety. If a brand’s CX isn’t achieving one of those goals, the customer isn’t getting any real or perceived value.  How can brands manage stress?  Better yet, how can brands build experiences that eliminate customer stress?

Causes of Customer Stress – Feeling Out of Control

The number one driver of customer stress is lack of information. Today, customers demand information. Knowledge is power and customers want to be in control of their journeys and experiences. Who can blame them? In our fast-paced environment, time is precious. Brands that respect customer time win customer loyalty.

Spectrum’s customer experience leaves much to be desired, but their call center customer experience is a winner. Let’s walk through that journey.  When a customer calls Spectrum, the phone system states the exact length of the hold time and offers the option to receive a call back.

In this case, the customer gets relevant information to make a decision (call back later or stay on), and he/she is given a CHOICE. Information and choice alleviate CX stress.

Transparency in the moment immediately relaxes customers. It makes them feel more in control. When designing CX solutions, keep in mind the solution needs to be comprehensive in order to create value. A message that says “Your wait time will be longer than usual” is not informative enough to empower decision making. Customers do not know what the usual wait time is, so that information is useless. To build a call center solution that reduces CX stress, invest in creating a technology solution that actually offers customers value. Do not stop in the middle and deliver general “buckets” of information.

The New Jersey Transit System and Long Island Railroad are building experiences that give customers the power to manage their journeys. Customers can see wait times and buy tickets via an app. Commuters know there is nothing more stressful than worrying about catching the right train. One delay can mean missing a meeting or a kid’s school performance. The stakes are high and so is the stress. On-the-go ticket purchasing alleviates a lot of that stress. No more lines in front of kiosks that may or may not work. No more adding time to an already long commute.

Transform Customer Stress to Customer Loyalty

Stress caused by uncertainty is a real customer emotion that can drive customer loyalty and revenues if a brand manages it well. Who does not appreciate being taken care of? When patients are a brand’s customers, like in the case of Mount Sinai Hospital, the best business approach is to look across your customers’ journeys and find opportunities to bring more certainty and to empower customers with information.

One thing that I do not recommend is to manage a prenatal “school” for future parents without building out the ability to find the address for classes, schedule and purchase online. After three plus calls and going above and beyond with the person on the other end of the phone, I eventually managed to book what I needed. But do I trust the brand as much as they need me to? Will I recommend them to other expectant moms who are eager for information and recommendations? No.

In this case, Mount Sinai missed an opportunity to alleviate one customer’s stress, to promote loyalty, and to create an empowered customer. Make sure your brand doesn’t miss opportunities to turn CX stress into CX success!

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*All opinions expressed on the DoingCXRight Blog and site pages are the authors’ alone and do not reflect the opinions of or imply the endorsement of employers or other organizations.

customer experience consistency

Get Customer Experience Basics Right and You Don’t Need to Invest in Wow Moments

Wow Moments are a Customer Experience hot topic. Customer experience professionals ideate how to build, prioritize, finance, and measure these Wow Moments. Chip and Dan Heath wrote a whole book on the topic: The Power of MomentsNo Wow Moment saves you from negative word of mouth if your brand fails to get the customer experience basics right or to deliver the expected brand experience consistently.

A Bottle of Champagne Cannot Save Your Brand

Last week, I spent four nights at the Marriott in Berlin, Germany. My husband and I represent a loyal customer with high lifetime value. He has the Marriott Elite Status. We are in our late 30s – plenty of time left to travel. Our recent hotel customer experience confirms that, when basic CX work is missing, a bottle of champagne cannot save your brand.

The hotel employees had zero communication with each other. The maintenance person who unsuccessfully tried to fix the AC the first night failed to tell the front desk he recommended a room change. The next day, after the front desk said the move could “only happen later,” hotel employees arrived to take our things to our “new room.”

customer experience fails

When I forgot my flip flops in the original room it took 3 business days, 2 front desk phone calls, 2 in-person front desk conversations, and 2 conversations with room service to get them back. The flip-flops arrived the night before my flight back to New York. Somewhere among these bad customer interactions, we received a bottle of champagne and an apology note from the hotel.

Is Poor Customer Experience the Norm?

The sad part is that customer experiences like this are part of our everyday lives. The Mount Sinai Hospital appointments system is literally non-existent. A patient can schedule one appointment for the morning and another for late afternoon. However, the nurses cannot optimize the visit and make both appointments in the same half-day. When my girlfriend was re-admitted to the hospital a week after her release, her parents had to answer the EXACT SAME questions they answered the first time. The system did not allow the new nurse to see the original answers.

In a nutshell, the hospital lacks internal communication systems for employees to refer to across touch points. As a result, the poor front line employees constantly look like fools to frustrated customers.

What is the ROI on Good Customer Experience?

Since the need is dire and the impact is grave, why don’t brands just fix this? There are several reasons.

First, “fixing” this problem means investing a lot of money in technology. And investments need ROI. What is the ROI of improving service? Will you sell more rooms if the flip-flops get back to me faster? How does a CX professional prove that claim?

Second, organizations (incorrectly) fail to recognize this extensive work as customer-facing. If you go to any organization (the way they are set today) you will see that the communication systems for employees is considered “back office.” Leaders rarely make the connection that empowering the front line is the key to improving CX.

Third, this work is not “sexy.” It just isn’t. It is full of Excel spreadsheets and ancient legacy systems that need to be integrated or rebuilt. And the solution must be real-time to empower employees. That brings complexity and drives the price tag even higher.

Wow the Customer with Consistency

Brands should work on wowing the customer by delivering consistent experiences and getting the basics right. They need to do that before introducing all the great one-off experiences they can deliver to a few guests.

Customers are wowed much more if their digital key can open their room door in Boston AND Berlin. Or if they can rely on digital checkout in both countries. The bottle of champagne only brings value when the customer’s basic needs have been met.

Don’t deliver champagne in lieu of consistent, positive customer experience.

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*All opinions expressed on the DoingCXRight Blog and site pages are the authors’ alone and do not reflect the opinions of or imply the endorsement of employers or other organizations.

Big Fails: FedEx Omnichannel Disaster

In our Strategy, Org Design & Culture series we cover customer-focused companies that are willing to adapt, take risks and discover new ways of staying relevant. Sometimes, we encounter brands that are missing the mark on basic customer expectations. These are CX Big Fails. Failures likes these can teach CX professionals as much about the impact of CX strategy as successes can. Our teacher today is FedEx.

Among the world’s largest transportation companies, FedEx made the top 5 in the 2017 Forbes Global ranking. This is the brand that invented the real-time tracking packages service. Yet, customers CANNOT change FedEx delivery dates over the phone. I learned that first hand when I tried to complete that simple transaction last week.

Taking a Vacation from Intuitive CX

You may ask why I made a phone call if I am a customer experience professional and an innovator? Because I am always on the go and multitasking. Despite self-service, there will always be use cases for phone as a channel. My customer expectation from a brand like FedEx dictated the brand would have a chatbot system to take care of a simple transaction like changing a delivery date. A request like mine must be in the top ten questions for a delivery company.

To my surprise, there was no chatbot. When I reached the representative, she told me she did not have access to change my delivery date. I needed to go online with my tracking number, expand the More Details Link and choose Hold, On Vacation, or something like this to change my date. Kiss first call resolution goodbye. Also kiss low effort score goodbye!

Last, but not least, according to FedEx, we are to understand that “Vacation” means “Change Delivery Date.” One of the foundational principles for delivering good customer experience is to enable front line employees to do their job. Tools and resources allow a brand that cares about the customers to do that. The fact that FedEx agents are not given those tools is shocking. On top of that, the non-intuitive navigation copy guarantees additional calls (costs) to the contact center by confused customers desperate to find a common Change Delivery Date field that doesn’t exist.

Locked Out of the Customer Journey

My new (lowered) customer expectation was that I could solve my issue and that the self-service channel would be quick and seamless. As customers, we all encounter system limitations, even from brands we like and trust. At this point, I was still a fan of FedEx. A few hours later, I went online to do what I was instructed to do.

After clicking the Hold, on Vacation button, I was asked to register as a customer. This is when the fun picked up again!  When a customer registers he/she is required to verify their address. The Fedex website offers two ways to verify address: through MAIL (days after you actually needed to change a delivery date on your package), or by answering a four question survey, two of which are inquiring about the names of PAST residents of your home.

The questions are multiple choice. Offered no alternative, I tried to guess which names lived in my New York City apartment before I did. And I got locked out. At this point, I made the second call to FedEx. The customer agent said he could not help me. Period. When I asked for his supervisor, he said that he does not have one since ALL supervisors left at 10:00 pm ( I called at 10:30 pm). At the end, I was NOT ABLE to change my delivery date after having omnichannel transactions with the brand.

This is not only a failed move, it is also a bad customer experience, plain and simple. I never got a survey to share my feedback, but needless to say, if given the choice, I will never use FedEx again.

Many brands have customer journeys that are so complex that they remain unsolved. This is understandable, given the growing complexities of customer needs and expectations. To change a delivery date when you interact with an iconic courier brand should not be one such complexity. Table stakes cannot be compromised. Dominos had to change their recipe because people did not like the taste of their pizza. Similarly, FedEx needs to ensure they deliver the main value for the customer – delivering packages at the right address at the most convenient time for the customer. If they cannot even do that, they will not enter the future of services and they can kiss that top 5 ranking goodbye.

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*All opinions expressed on the DoingCXRight Blog and site pages are the authors’ alone and do not reflect the opinions of or imply the endorsement of employers or other organizations.

CX Bold Moves Cadillac DoingCXRight

CX Bold Moves: Cadillac Scores Millennial Customers with Future-Forward Thinking

Editor’s Note: This post is part of a series of CX Bold Moves. See all the DoingCXRight CX Bold Moves stories.
The automotive industry is right next to the airline industry in terms of innovation and keeping up with the pace of technology growth. Surprisingly, both are extremely slow to keep up with the new world when it comes to customer experience. Just last week this tweet popped up in my feed:

This tweet sums it all up. If you ask me, the gate of the future should not have any printer at all. We need to change the way we think about customer experience.

A month ago, I was walking home with my husband in New York and we passed through the car dealership part of Manhattan. Look at the 2018 displays today on 11th Avenue! They are pretty much the same, regardless of brand. All have plastic mannequins… I am not sure who is the target of this advertising technique. One thing is certain –  nobody born after 1980 will be converted to a customer because of it.

In the last six months, I am sure we all have at least one friend or acquaintance who has complained about the painful car buying experience. An entire industry emerged in response – companies like Shift and Carvana are the result of the notoriously bad customer experience of buying a car.

Just when I had given up on the car industry, I met the Head of Marketing and Member Services of Book by Cadillac. An innovative way of owning a vehicle, Book by Cadillac is a subscription service for luxury fleet vehicles that members can rent and swap for a month or a week. For $1,500 a month, a concierge delivers a vehicle directly to the member. The car arrives with the member’s favorite radio station tuned in and the seat in position. If the member informs the Cadillac team they are headed out of town for the weekend, they will find a picnic basket in the trunk.  Members feel a sense of freedom and convenience. Gone are the daily worries about car maintenance and insurance. Gone is the stress of owning a car. All of that is replaced with the feeling of being cared for by the car company.

Book by Cadillac is as much a great customer experience case as it is a strategic business case. A few years ago, Cadillac realized that its customer does not necessarily live in  Detroit but is more likely to live on a coast, so they moved the brand headquarters to New York. Second, the car manufacturer discovered that Millennials were not buying Cadillacs. To solve for that, the brand created Book by Cadillac, a product focused on experience vs. material product – a product that gives customers options and freedom. The strategy worked! The average age of the Book by Cadillac customer is 40 vs the overall Cadillac customer’s age of 60.

Customer experience strategy, when applied correctly, works very well. When a brand puts the customer at the center of its design and business, new customers do come. Cadillac is living proof that shifting your business model at the right time means shifting your business to the future. Take a risk and it will pay off. Follow the customer and the customer will lead you to the future!

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*All opinions expressed on the DoingCXRight Blog and site pages are the authors’ alone and do not reflect the opinions of or imply the endorsement of employers or other organizations.