what is cx meaning

CX Meaning: What are the Faces of CX?

When I worked in marketing nobody ever asked me “What does marketing mean?”. Since I moved into Customer Experience, every time I give my job title, someone asks “What does CX mean?”.

Even though customer experience is recognized as more and more important for the long term survival of brands, many remain confused about CX meaning. Here are six ways you can answer when asked about what CX means.

Customer Experience means any one and all of the below. Each area of CX represents a path for CX professionals to impact business health and build successful careers. One of my favorite CX analogies is that it is like the blood in our bodies. When CX is done well, it touches every aspect of an organization. That’s what makes customer experience so much fun! You will never be bored working in CX.

CX Meaning & Marketing

Smart CX comes AFTER marketing

When I mentor Customer Experience professionals, my first question is always about brand promise and brand strategy. Marketing defines a brand’s customer service when it broadcasts the RTBs (reasons to believe or use a brand). The customer experience mission is to consistently deliver on those marketing promises. That is how CX promotes a brand.

CX Meaning: Policies & Procedures

Good CX means redesigning policies and procedures to make customers’ life easier

Sometimes Customer Experience is about putting yourself in your customer’s shoes and in your employees’ shoes. Do this to understand what your customers go through to get “their jobs done” with your brand. And what your employees do to get their jobs done on behalf of your brand.

Looking at it from the customer’s perspective, his/her “job” might be to sign up for your subscription service, pay a bill, or close an account. Often, Customer Experience professionals find out that a bad customer experience is bad by design. This is not malicious, of course, nor is it intended. But still, the bad outcome happened by design!

That kind of poor design starts from the ground up. Think about training materials and how they prepare frontline employees to deliver customer experience. Those materials might be teaching the employees to ask a question in an insensitive way as a result of regulatory requirements. Two policies might have been written in silos and might be asking the same questions of new customers in a way that makes them feel like your brand is wasting their time.

In a bigger, older and more merger-driven organization, CX is often about cleaning the so called “customer journeys” by revising existing rules and procedures. Although this may not be the most exciting part of CX for me, for an engineer, cleaning up these procedures is an exceptionally rewarding and meaningful job.

CX Meaning: Customer Engagement

Asking customers what they like/do not like about their experiences with a brand improves CX

Another side of CX, survey making and survey analysis, helps to capture the VOC (Voice of the Customer). This is the job of people who design, analyze and offer recommendations to business units based on what they have heared from customers. This part of CX is integral. It drives results when it is done properly.

The challenge is the integration levels within the business. Often VOC teams are perceived as the analytics group. Instead of being the drivers of change, they simply “service” the business when the business has questions for them. In other words, instead of the customer voice driving the conversation, the business assumes it understands what the customer needs. Regardless of the challenges, surveys, analysis and VOC are excellent opportunities within the CX fields, particularly for CX professionals with a background and interest in analytics.

CX Meaning: Employee Engagement

Ask employees what they NEED to deliver better CX and GIVE it to them

A derivative of VOC, VOE (Voice of the Employee) is an analytics version of CX that drives the engagement inside the company. Ideally, this team asks the right questions from employees to learn what prevents them from delivering on those marketing promises we mentioned earlier.

It is amazing what one can learn from the frontline. From illogical or user unfriendly UX design of every day tools, to approval levels of discretionary spending that make no sense, employees highlight the holes in customer experience that leave a brand vulnerable. When VOC and VOE are the same people, the impact of this specific CX job is palpable to all! Very few organizations set up a system for understanding and adapting to VOC and VOE needs. Often VOE is under HR and VOC is under Marketing, completely isolating the insights from one another.

There are important opportunities available for organizations who are able to bring VOC and VOE together and design CX according to those insights.

CX Meaning: Process & Architecture Design

Process and architecture design must allow free movement.

My favorite version of Customer Experience is the design and human experience planning of a product or service. It combines engineering, brand management, design, and VOC. Not many organizations have this CX job clearly defined. It is one of those things that you have to create for yourself. But doing so is not that hard, depending on the life cycle of your brand.

If the brand is building an app and it is a retail business, you can absolutely take this app and integrate it in the physical spaces of the brand. I can promise you either nobody is thinking about it or they are, but they are thinking it is in the distant future. You can take this side of the experience, build it and make a big impact!

CX Meaning: Organization Advocacy

Be an advocate for the Customer so everything the company does keeps the customer in mind

The last role in CX is the most senior. It is also the most difficult. These are the people that work with the executive team to provide funding for Customer Experience departments and programs. They are also the people who design the organization to deliver consistent, easy and seamless experiences for customers.

Think Elena Ford and what she is doing with her company. Executive leaders who are advocates for CX take into account VOC, VOE, marketing, processes and procedures, product development and employee training to build systems around the experiences customers need and want from your brand. For them, and for their brands, CX improves the way they do business. And that, at the end of the day, is the true meaning of CX.

 

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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.

Voice of Customer Takes On New Meaning (VOC)

“VOC” Takes On New Meaning 👮‍♀️

Over the past year, I have written dozens of articles about VOC, otherwise known in the business world as “Voice of Customer.” I share why getting VOC is important, sources of measurement and best practices to drive company success. I am passionate about this topic knowing that Customer Experience (CX) provides a competitive advantage. It’s not a hunch. It’s a fact! Today, however, I am writing about VOC from a different perspective. I am speaking as “Voice of Citizen.” Continue Reading →

customer loyalty voc

Customer Loyalty Begins In-House

Ten years ago, creating customer loyalty meant assigning a membership number customers fed back to brands at the time of purchase. Customers went through the trouble of keeping track of loyalty numbers, hoping to collect enough points along the way to earn rewards or better deals in the future. Despite changing times and customer expectations, some brands still treat customer loyalty this way. Those brands will soon lose any loyalty they have. So why are so many brands sticking to the points systems of the 90s?

Customer Loyalty Can’t be a Matter of Points

Points are easy to manage in the current siloed org set up of brands. The Loyalty Team sits in Marketing. That relatively small team manages the many partner relationships that enable the sharing of points across products.

An airline customer, for instance, can accrue and redeem points in a hotel or at a rent-a-car branch. Current practice says there is no need to integrate customer support across those touch points or to manage the quality of the customer journeys generated by these experiences. If something goes wrong, it is up to the customer to find the best support number to call.

In this sense, the loyalty team mainly supports the accounting and reconciliations of the points and partnerships portfolio. Although suboptimal in terms of returns, this setup is convenient because it does not require change management for brands.

Customer Loyalty Lifestyle

Lifestyle brands treat customer loyalty very differently. They equate customer experience with customer loyalty. If a brand offers consistent, engaging, and seamless experience then loyalty becomes an organic by-product of those experiences. Smart brands realize that true loyalty comes from customer habits. When engaging with a brand becomes a reflex, you know there is a true bond between brand and customer.

Achieving that connection is easier said than done. It requires organizational, cross-functional commitment. To get there, you do not need to have a separate Loyalty Team. Everyone is on the loyalty team. This marks a different approach to loyalty than the organizational perspective. It is the way of the future for customer loyalty.

Employee Engagement is Essential

Building employee engagement is a key component for an organization with a loyalty mission. A brand whose workforce is disengaged cannot generate customer commitment. This is where culture plays an important role. Brands that understand the value of customer loyalty also understand that loyalty begins in-house.

These brands invest in technology that enables employees to deliver exceptional customer experiences. They measure employee satisfaction on a regular basis. Treating employees as customers is a proven way to elevate employees to brand ambassadors who build loyalty organically every day.

VOC Lessons Apply In-House

The same rules that apply for VOC (Voice of Customer) should be used for VOE (Voice of Employee). Listen to your employees. Build a close loop mechanism so employees can understand what happened to their feedback, and you can take action based on their inputs. To get executive engagement, make VOE results one of the metrics that define executive compensation. Follow these basic rules and loyalty generates naturally.

Employee engagement and VOE need meaningful investment and commitment from the leadership team. In some cases, they also require thoughtful reorganization. It is not the easiest change to implement, but it is more powerful than you think. There is nothing more impactful than activating the people who already work for you to CARE about your customer experiences.

For them to care, though, you need to care too.

 

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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 pyramid failure mta doingcxright

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.

Image via DoingCXRight

On the flip side, brands also have the power to make customers feel ignored, and even angry. The CX Pyramid crumbles and customer-to-customer behavior, in addition to individual experiences, suffer. Case in point, the New York MTA System.

In the past year, New York City MTA riders have felt used, at best. It’s a trend that has characterized the last decade of the MTA’s brand story, and it has come to a head in recent months. The MTA Customers Count Survey tries to fix that perception. Unfortunately a VOC program (customer feedback) is only the beginning of the solution to problems that continue to grow.

Riders today pay almost two times more for the same ride they took 20 years ago. The perception, based on rider experience, is that they are getting worse service and less value for more money. In this environment, where does customer experience management come into play?

Experience Management and Expectation Management

Customer experience management is as much expectation management as it is experience management. With that in mind, take a look at how the MTA delivers (or doesn’t deliver) on customer experience management.

For riders, it feels like lack of access to reliable transportation, at a high cost, is becoming the norm. F Train stations in Queens and Brooklyn skip the same stations on weekends for more than ten years because of “renovations.” People who live in neighborhoods where the F Train is the only choice, feel under-served. This summer, half of Astoria (a trendy Queens neighborhood) was shut down for renovations. Local stops along Manhattan’s Central Park West, still under construction, were closed for the summer. Service interruptions and service suspensions are common all across the subway system.

When the CX Pyramid Breaks Down

The CX Pyramid represents the layers of delivery a brand aspires to fulfill. Those three layers include meeting needs, providing an easy experience, and making the experience enjoyable. MTA service suspensions do not meet the needs of a significant segment of riders. Crowded, unreliable trains during peak hours do not make it easy to get to work on time.

MTA cost over time
Graph via DoingCXRight; data from 6sqft

The MTA made some attempts to meet customer needs by installing rider information signs that display when the next train is arriving and how long customers need to wait. Unfortunately, when riders wait for crowded trains in the morning, their anxiety about missing the train and the length of the wait time, eliminates the perceived benefits of those expensive new signs.

Bad Customer Experience has a Ripple Effect

How does this bad customer experience influence the behavior of New York subway riders? Riders feel like they are not appreciated, like their time and needs are not respected by a brand they have no choice but to interact with on a daily basis. It’s human nature for those feelings to affect behaviors. This summer and fall, I have experienced the breakdown of common decency among riders firsthand.

The MTA has created a culture in which the experience of the rider no longer matters.  Riding the MTA has been the most disappointing experience of my pregnancy. A true New Yorker, I have been on the subway for more than 15 years. The lack of regard for me and the lack of civility towards me and my baby broke my heart. And it surprised me. It didn’t used to be like this. Riders across the system from all age groups and cultural backgrounds refused to make space for us.

Better Experiences Start at the Brand Level

So whose fault is it that chivalry is dead across New York’s public transportation system? If we take a moment to observe how the MTA treats riders, we quickly see the brand and its level of service set the tone. Thanks to unreliable service and unpredictable (though frequent) service disruptions, the customer journey during rush hour is anxiety-ridden and frustrating. If it rains or snows, all bets are off. Commuting is a nightmare.

Last, but definitely not least, if there is any misconduct on the train (like a woman shoving me while I was 7 months pregnant and carrying a suitcase) there is no one around to hear a complaint, or to help. The MTA does not stand for customer service in general. This is compounded when things go wrong and riders can’t get help.

Better Customer Experience Improves Customer-to-Customer Behavior

How can we bring civility back and improve consideration and politeness among riders? Is it/should it be the MTA’s responsibility to make civility a priority?

Since the MTA is a brand that serves the public, caring for each other should be part of the brand’s underlying values and mission. Safety, caring and service need to drive a campaign to rebrand the MTA.

cx pyramid survey mta customers count

The Customers Count Survey is a start, but it feels operational. When the operation is as complex and entrenched as the MTA, it is impossible to promise consistent punctual service and to deliver on that promise. A smart, strong brand can improve service, while developing a brand identity with civil characteristics that inspires riders to be there for each other and be kind to those in need.

Instead of a massive communications campaign to extol the MTA’s crowning achievement of opening the 2nd Avenue Line after decades of construction delays and red tape, the MTA should use ad space on trains to remind riders of the meaning of the word CARE. At the brand level, they need to educate riders about the small, but deep expressions of caring they can show each other. Reminders to get up for a pregnant woman, to make space for others by taking off a backpack, or to use headphones, can improve the culture of the MTA and improve rider experience in real ways.

The MTA carries 1.7 billion people per year. With such a place in the world, it is time for the brand to take a social stand to protect those in need. As a seasoned New Yorker, I should not be afraid to ride the train because of my pregnancy. Unfortunately, this is how I feel today. I am not alone in feeling abandoned, ignored, underappreciated and overcharged.

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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.

Celebrate National CX Day

Did you know that tomorrow is National CX Day? Some of you may not even know what “CX” means or why there is a day for it. CX stands for “Customer Experience” and it has become an essential part of company strategies to win in the marketplace.

Like any Hallmark holiday, it is an excuse to celebrate but more importantly, it serves as a day to raise awareness of something important that impacts ALL brands.  Every employee, from frontline to back office, impacts customer experiences and their overall perception of the company. For this reason, it is a great day to recognize employees who demonstrate a commitment to servicing customers as well as let customers know how much you appreciate them. It is all part of creating a CX culture!

How brands can celebrate National CX Day (or make it a CX month)

  1. Leaders can send thank you notes to acknowledge employees who focus on DoingCXRight. Formally recognize those that go above and beyond to deliver great customer experiences.
  2. Throw a party and make it all about customers. Read their surveys out loud and celebrate the good ratings; collectively problem solve for lower scores. Do not let location be a reason not to celebrate. While in person is ideal, virtual meetings can be equally effective especially when leveraging video cameras.
  3. Partner with Marketing/ PR departments to raise awareness and commitment to CX. Leverage internal (i.e. company intranet) and external channels (i.e. social media) highlighting examples of how customers are valued by your brand. Use hashtags that your employees and customers could follow and reuse on social media channels to share stories with a larger audience.
  4. Encourage networking. Create opportunities for people to come together and share ways they contribute to the customer experience.
  5. Provide professional development to enable employees to increase their CX knowledge and apply best practices in their daily job. Take advantage of formal certification programs, attend events, such as RU-Disrupt, and online events offered by CXPA.

We are interested in hearing how your company celebrates on National CX Day as well as every day. If you like this article, please share with others so they can benefit. Sign Up for our newsletter to continue learning how to increase your skills and transform your organization! When you register now, you will get free access to our whitepaper on how to go from CX Novice to CX Expert.  

 

coworking space wework doing cx right

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.

 

 

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, but 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 frontline 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 customer experience 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 frontline 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 that 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 they introduce 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.

dominos digital strategy innovation cx bold move

CX Bold Moves: Domino’s Delivering Success and Failures

Domino’s Pizza made two CX bold moves – changing a nearly half-century old recipe and committing to digital innovation. These moves are translating into more sales and more engaged customers.

The pizza giant is placing a big bet on digital and customer experience and following through with a strategic execution. 50% of Domino’s orders are digital and two thirds of them are through mobile devices. Achieving such a meaningful channel shift is not easy (or cheap). The payoff – increased sales and revenue – makes it worthwhile. Last year Domino’s CEO Patrick Doyle told CNBC the strategy is not demonstrating impactful cost savings, but improved customer experience is driving sales up.

Thinking Beyond the Phone

Domino’s incorporated Alexa and Goggle Home as ordering channels. The in-home connected devices are a significant part of the Domino’s voice strategy to create customer experiences that drive sales. Similar to JetBlue, Domino’s believes that future customer interactions with brands will be completely digital and not tied to devices like phones. JetBlue’s facial recognition product does not require customers to have any paper, or a phone, to board a plane. Similarly, Domino’s is building the ability to order pizza using only your voice.

Going Outside the Home

After listening to customers say they want to get pizza delivery on the beach or at a game, Domino’s announced its plan to deliver pizza anywhere their customers are. The brand took a customer need and built a product around it – a smart CX move executed in a bold way.

Dennis Maloney, Domino’s CTO, stated that this product is not a case of discovering new technology. Rather, it is an example of a new use of existing technology – this is exactly how we define innovation! Of course, there are caveats around the current version of the product. The delivery spots are pre-defined and not available everywhere. But that is not really the point. The point is that Domino’s stock has gone up 5000% since 2008 based on a new recipe and this kind of digital transformation. The brand put the customer’s needs and desires at the center of its product design and it is winning, big time. It is a great CX story to move from a tweet like “worst pizza I’ve ever had” to ordering pizza on Twitter using just the pizza emoji.

Making Hard Choices

Delivering an item to customers where and when they want it satisfies a standard customer experience need, but it is complex to accomplish. Brands like Amazon and Zappos grew their customer bases on that basic offering alone. But Domino’s is not just perfecting delivery with this strategy. The brand showed the strength to throw away a 49-year-old recipe. Many brands can’t manage to make a transformation like that, and suffer the consequences (see ToysRUs and so many others). In Shift Ahead, Allen Adamson talks about how National Geographic magazine died from its refusal to acknowledge the digital trend and shift to other channels. The book also covers Playboy’s inability to reinvent when times changed. Both brands did not move fast enough and fell into oblivion.

Domino’s shifted. Domino’s made the big bet on CX. For those of us working in customer experience, this is an impressive – and inspiring – move from strategy to execution. Building hot spots and a customer journey around those hot spots is neither easy nor cheap. If it pays off, Domino’s will have created an entirely new customer segment that does not exist today.

Now that is genius. Creating a new product, and a new industry/business segment? We’re witnessing the ultimate shift to the future.

 

 

 

*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.

drowning in data no insights

A Lot of Data, Not Enough Insight

A month ago I saw a Forrester presentation on Customer Experience measurement that began with a great quote from the Global Bank: “We are drowning in data and starving for insight.”

Aren’t we all?

Most organizations have more data than they ever could have wanted, but that data is either sitting idle in databases or cloud environments, or it is used sub-optimally. Why is it that WeWork can build a tool to manage its 350 properties as a website and digitally view every detail about every building, but Fairway regularly emails me with first time user coupons that I am not eligible for as an existing customer?

Make Data Usable

The answer to this question is fundamentally simple, but practically complex. The first step is to centralize and clean the data so it can be used in an actionable way to extract insights. For existing companies this requires organizational redesign. That makes this step complex, political, and difficult to execute.

In one case, a major brand acquired three small start-ups with the business strategy to grow its customer base. The brand worked on learning how the three customer segments feel and what each segment wants in order to optimize the brand’s offering with three different products. Even though this was the correct first step, the strategy did not progress well. The company was not ready to centralize the customer insights systems and the teams of the three distinct brands they had acquired. Each start-up had its own customer database and customer definitions. None was open about giving access to that data. Thus no insights were derived from any of the three brands.

This case only scratches the surface of how companies miss opportunities with data. Accessing and aggregating data is an essential first step for all organizations, but that is not enough to derive insights. Even after teams and data are centralized and aggregated, insights are not available until the definitions of the data are aligned. How is a customer defined? How far back should the data go? What spend per customer makes that customer “valuable”?

Get Everyone in the Room

Organizations must answer these and many more questions in order to make available the capability of data insights. Often, companies complete step one, aggregate the data, but fail to analyze it and define the key parameters of it. Why? The answers should come from the consumers of the insights, not the technology teams building the insights. And those people are not in the room. Until there is a real engagement by the business and a collaboration among the teams, no one is getting any insights from their data.

Democratize Data

The last step of getting insight out of data might seem the simplest, but it is often missing. The quality of insights is directly correlated to the quality of the questions asked from the data. I will repeat that. The questions asked of data are the engine of the insights derived from data. This is where democratizing the cleaned data with a very user friendly UI is key. Good questions are rarely formed on the spot. As business challenges arise and new situations emerge, questions come out. It is important that access to the data is readily available (no coding or SQL skills necessary!!) to all so the end users can run reports and get the answers they need – and can act upon – in real time.

Successful brands like WeWork turn data into a tool. When companies perceive data as a tool, they create real value for customers. And when they fail to make the difficult steps of organizational redesign and pay for cleaning the data, we receive those coupons we can’t cash in.

View more of our conversations about data, and send us your questions about how to democratize and optimize data to improve customer experience in your organization.

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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

data tips for customer experience

Lessons Learned at the Forrester Conference: “Data is the New Sexy”

Once a year I look for an event or a conference to attend where I can learn something new and get better at what I do. This year I attended the Forrester Global Council Meeting and the CXNYC2018 Forum in New York.  Usually, the big win from events like this is the opportunity to network and meet new contacts. This year, though, the Council meeting felt like school – which I loved. These are the aha moments I am eager to share with you.

“Stop decorating. Start renovating.”

Do not build a CX strategy that is disconnected from your business strategy and that nobody knows. Don’t maintain a VOC program that tries to fix journeys that were never built with the customer in mind. And stop obsessing over NPS scores versus improving the customer experience.

Instead, focus on your customer needs and what your customers perceive as value, then build your competitive advantage around that. Listen to your employees, who often have the best ideas. Create customer business value. Then execute, execute, execute!

Research is a real thing!

There are many tools customer experience professionals can use to conduct customer research. Depending on which phase of your discovery you are in, or how strategic or tactical the question you are working on answering is, you can use different tools. The broader the question you are asking, the more qualitative your methods should be.

At the discovery phase, when you are looking to find what problems exist, you can do interviews, diary studies or ethnography. If the problems are defined and you need to find the best way to solve those problems, you can get more specific with surveys and usability testing. If you are looking to evaluate a solution that you have built, you can do A/B/multivariate testing and cognitive walkthroughs.

“Data is the new Sexy!”

Customer obsession is nothing more than a dream if you lack the analytics to drive it. You achieve productive customer insights only when you are able to capture and analyze data across channels. CX insight professionals need to be comfortable looking at data from online to offline channels, and they need to derive insights from known data to anonymous data.

Customer analytics methods are interconnected and have dependencies that must be kept in mind. It is impossible to get to customer lifetime value without a solid grasp on customer churn. Understanding the sequence and educating your executives about the complexity and funding required to get end-to-end insights from data is imperative to your organization’s success and your customers’ satisfaction.  Without data, your strategy is based on opinion. You need a data-led strategy to survive.

Now start aggregating data!

If you like this article, please share with others so they can benefit. Sign Up for our newsletter to continue learning how to increase your skills and transform your organization! When you register now, you will get free access to our whitepaper on how to go from CX Novice to CX Expert

 

*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.

If you like this article, please share with others so they can benefit. Sign Up for our newsletter to continue learning how to increase your skills and transform your organization! When you register now, you will get free access to our whitepaper on how to go from CX Novice to CX Expert

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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.

What Is Big Data and Why Should I Care?

What is Big Data and Why Should I Care?

Big data has become part of our daily language. We read about big data. We see companies that are “experts in big data.” LinkedIn is filled with big data engineers and analysts. But what is big data, where did it come from, and why is it widely available now when it wasn’t ten years ago?

Big data is actually exactly what it sounds like. Big. Data. It is comprised of an enormous amount of 0s and 1s that carry all kinds of meaning. The volume and complexity of the data sets is so large that the Excel or Access analytical tools that we are used to no longer allow us to understand or manipulate the data. Big data is not new. It has always been available.

The big news about big data is that, now, the data no longer needs to be structured in order to be analyzed (read: less work for all of us to “prep” the data for analysis) and it is available real time vs. in weeks (read: no more need to schmooze your IT contacts to run a report for and send it a week later). I remember the days when I was in the banking industry and needed to analyze a set of trades within a month. It would take a week just to find who to talk to, build the relationship, explain what I need, and then another week to get my answers.

All of this inefficiency has been eliminated. Now, we have access to a real-time, friendly system that can answer questions about transactions as they happen. The enabler for all of this is new data storage options. In the past, it was impossible to store data in a flexible way. With the current advancements, that is now possible, making big data widely available.

This is the baseline answer to the “what is big data” question. Josh Ferguson, CTO of Mode Analytics, dives deeper to explain. “Big data is the broad name given to challenges and opportunities we have as data about every aspect of our lives becomes available. It’s not just about data though; it also includes the people, processes, and analysis that turn data into meaning.” In other words, just because we have more data, does not mean we have all the answers we need.

It is necessary to derive insights and information from the data. This is where most companies fail. They aggregate more and more data and never operationalize it. Sometimes they do not even report it. So much data is sitting dormant across all industries because there is no one engaging with it in an analytical way. Consider airlines and kiosk data. Airlines collect performance/usability data (how many days/hours the kiosk was working and/or was used), usability/UX data (which screen of the interface gets abandoned by the customer and how often), and a variety of transaction data (how quick was the kiosk response when people engaged with it). Does this data help airlines on its own, even if the data was collected for 12 months? Absolutely not.

Here is why this matters for customer experience professionals: because we can be the masters of data and control the insights and the messaging that comes from the insights. As customer experience leaders, we can recommend which kiosks should be REMOVED from the system because they barely get used (i.e. save total costs). We can build a dynamic maintenance contract to have maintenance performed only AFTER a certain usage number is reached vs. a static every 3 months maintenance cycle for all kiosks (i.e. lower maintenance costs). Consider how we can use insights that show when customers drop off. Finding that information allows a CX expert to fix the problem and increase the self-service conversion. That means more savings for the company! If a company has service agreements with partners, transaction speed data makes it possible to manage those SLAs much better. In other words, big data with the right critical thinker on top is a source of immense power and leverage. And that is why we should all care about big data.

So, the next time one of those companies approaches your organization saying it will empower your data, ask them who will be extracting the insights from that power, and make sure to build an in-house team of very smart people who can do the magic for you. Once that is set up, start asking good questions and fuel the engine of competitive advantage you can build with big data!

Learn more about Big Data

Rutgers University is offering a deep dive class on Big Data that gives you more of the tools you need to capitalize on this powerful resource. They have been kind enough to offer DoingCXRight readers 20% off the cost of the class. Sign up here to grab your discount and connect to the class.
*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.
Website Optimization and Customer Experience (CX) by Stacy Sherman

If Shoppers Can’t Proceed, They’ll Leave!

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Mobile applications have changed the way people shop and buy.  Consumers love apps for convenience and unique features, while companies benefit from the ability to easily engage with people and reward loyal customers. A great example of this is

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#CXTHUS Exchange Insights – winners and losers?

Attending conferences is a significant investment of both time and money. Even if you are speaker at the conference, like I was last week, the time away from your non-stop email flow can bring more stress than pleasure to your days. Once we reach a certain level of responsibilities, learning becomes a luxury. The key for all of us is not to let those other demands on our time stop us: there is no professional growth without learning from the successes and failures of our peers. Events like the CX Exchange Travel & Hospitality Conference make us more aware of what is going on in our industry and adjacent industries. They help us to better shift our own organizations ahead of our time.

So what did I learn from my peers at the conference?

A good expansion strategy may or may not work

TripAdvisor, the travel website that “enables travelers to unleash the full potential of every trip” reached 60% of all people who booked their travel online in the second half of 2017. TripAdvisor had a great strategy in mind – allow users to complete purchase without going to the hotel websites. Unfortunately, that strategy did not work. We are talking about this conference takeaway first, because we often overshare successes and do not talk enough about business failures. We can learn even more from our peers’ unsuccessful programs.

Conference speaker, Matthew Mamet, did not delve into exactly what went wrong at TripAdvisor, other than to explain that the hotels did not make it worthwhile to keep on TripAdvisor. You can imagine how long it took to build and launch this e-commerce experience on the travel site. Did somebody put the wrong assumptions in the financial model or did the contract with the hotels lack the proper incentives for commission? Regardless of the reason, sometimes things don’t work as planned. The best thing to do is move on and pivot as fast as possible. That is exactly what TripAdvisor is doing right now. An estimated 1 in 11 worldwide users visited TripAdvisor last July. I would not worry too much about the company. I am sure they will find another way to monetize such a powerful position.

Uber really gets it. All of it.

When Uber achieved 20% growth per month for 43 consecutive months, the company had to start from scratch with all of their processes and procedures. The innovator did not simply scale what it had (something many brands do). Instead, Uber used new technologies to reinvent itself. Uber uses machine learning to flag voice and text messages that over-index on negative sentiment, so they can pay attention to those messages and respond to them faster (read more about how Uber does this). The rideshare company uses the same technology to intercept customer care cases that are forwarded among many agents and do not fit a particular category (the ping-pong effect). Those cases are re-routed to a specialized team to handle. The AI technology also allows Uber to find a needle in a hay stack – the extreme cases in which something really bad happens to the customer. The algorithm looks for specific words early in the customer support message. When those words are there, the complaint is sent to a special care team.

COTA is the Uber in-house platform for digital agent assist that already has saved the company 9.5% – 10% of costs. Uber also does something very few brands do well. The company has a living document, a playbook. When they do something, they actually document it so other sites can replicate it. Not earth shattering in concept, but none of us does it! An important takeaway for Uber (and many of us) is that the saying about self-service – “build it and they will come” – is not working. Much more needs to be done in order to increase adoption of self-service. Many people underestimate the amount of effort and design required AFTER you launch something. Last, but definitely not least, Uber has already realized that the human agent of the future will have a completely new profile. He/she will have new skills, will come from different backgrounds and geographies, and will be paid much more. Uber’s estimate goes as high as 20% – 40% more pay. How do you fund that? With the savings from the digital agents that will be solving basic customer problems.

MGM Rocks

Before you read any further, watch MGM’s Welcome to the #SHOW ad – and pump up the sound. You will not be bored. I promise.

After the 2008 financial crisis, MGM had to find a new identity for the organization. “Welcome to the Show” is a story about the integration of 27 independent brands and the rebuilding of a company culture on the core belief that entertainment is a fundamental human need. To achieve that, MGM incentivized their executive leadership (through bonus and compensation) to travel around the world and become employee trainers on new service level standards. They made the MGM employees heroes and gave them a stage where to run their own shows. The brand is a year into this transformation so it is hard to prove results. One thing is certain though – MGM still strong and employee engagement scores are up. One lesson from MGM – stay longer at the local level when you think you are done, to ensure sustainability and reinforcement of standards. This is probably the hardest part of any hospitality program, especially with 27 resort destinations and 15 brands.

Hertz will not be in business by 2025

This may sound like an extreme prediction, but it is fairly obvious. One of the items covered at the conference was the need “to operationalize their loyalty program in the field.” What does that say to you? To me it says, our loyalty program is not working. The speaker talked about the realization that Hertz is not in the transportation business, but in the customer service industry. The conversation then became more about Hertz’s “concierge” program making “wow” experiences. I hope they have many loyalty members since it seems all efforts are channeled to those customers only.

The most alarming part was the Q&A during which the speaker said that the rideshare industry is NOT a threat to Hertz’s business. This is a classic case of not seeing the red flags as Allen Adamson writes in his great book Shift Ahead. Unless Hertz learns the importance of recognizing and acting fast on new business trends and shifts ahead soon, it will not exist in ten years.

Lessons from the CX Exchange Travel & Hospitality Conference abound. We are all returning to our offices ready to put into action what we have learned from the successes and failures of our CX colleagues.

The recording of my speaking engagement at the CX Exchange Travel & Hospitality Conference will be available for our readers on our Speaking Page in two weeks. Last, but not least, my favorite quote of the conference: “Do not confuse activity with results.”

If you like this article, please share with others so they can benefit. Sign Up for our newsletter to continue learning how to increase your skills and transform your organization! When you register now, you will get free access to our whitepaper on how to go from CX Novice to CX Expert

*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.

Design Is A Key Differentiator

Design Is A Competitive Differentiator

Design is a key differentiator when creating products and customer experiences. While price matters, it is not the only criteria and sometimes irrelevant when making purchase decisions. As an example, I recently bought Continue reading “Design Is A Competitive Differentiator”

ccxp certification test prep

Let’s get you certified as a CX professional!

If you are ready to signal to the business community that you are serious about customer experience and your intention to be part of its leadership ranks, it’s time to work on earning your internationally recognized Certified Customer Experience Professional certification.

Doing so makes you a part of an elite group of certified CX professionals who lead the way in customer experience innovation and action.

The Basics of the Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP) Certification Continue reading “Let’s get you certified as a CX professional!”

User Experience Matters by Stacy Sherman

User Experience Matters

The number of digital buyers continues to rise every year.  “In 2017, an estimated 1.66 billion people worldwide purchased goods online. During the same year, global e-retail sales amounted to 2.3 trillion U.S. dollars, and projections show growth of up to 4.48 Continue reading “User Experience Matters”

customer experience applications for ai

How Well Do You Understand AI Applications?

Last week I spoke about AI at the Argyle Forum webinar and at the ConnectID Conference in Washington, DC. Technology is emerging and we need to find a way to integrate it. In order to get approval for AI initiatives from our CFOs and/or boards and to get AI adopted by our customers, it must meet a specific customer experience need or fill in a journey gap.

As Jessica Groopman summarizes, AI can be broken into 3 major streams: big data, vision and language. These streams come with various applications that have clear business cases that we can learn from.

AI Big Data Application

Ancestry uses big data to explore DNA and compare it to hundreds of thousands of records it already has in its database to provide customers with insight about your genetics origin. Even my genetics specialist suggested last week that my husband and I check our ancestry there. Information is power, and knowing more about who we are and where we come from is a big gap in our journeys as individuals. Ancestry utilizes big data and creates a product and a customer experience that makes sense to the end user.  This is why their product is being adopted by customers.

AI Language Application

At Waverly Labs  Andrew Ochoa and his team are using machine translation to break down language barriers around the world. With an ear piece and an app, users can travel anywhere in the world and hold a real-time conversation with locals without learning the language of the country they are visiting. That is real game changer in communications. Imagine finally having a real conversation with your waiter in a small French bed and breakfast and ordering the best local dish. Or speaking to your mother or father-in-law without having to learn the mother tongue of your spouse (although understanding each other better could deteriorate that in-law relationship :)). These real customer experience gaps drove 22K people to fund Waverly Labs on IndieGogo and helped Andrew Ochoa raise $4.5M.

AI Vision Application

Facial recognition is one of the most common applications of vision AI. Yesterday at the ConnectID Conference we saw a variety of trials that prove the use of facial recognition at the airport to enhance efficiency and security for the customer and his/her journey. Airlines and airports all over the world are working on refining the value proposition of these deployments with the seamless biometrically enabled journey as the end goal.

Last year we wrote about eBay and their big bet to make AI the center of their product design. E-Bay is building the ultimate personalization, making it possible to design an outfit that does not exist!  We are all learning, but one thing is certain, chatbots are not the only application in AI and if you are a competitive customer experience professional, you better learn all the answers AI has to offer before you find yourself with a stupid chatbot in your contact center while  your competitor used AI to reimagine the customer experience, embracing a technology that drives them straight into the future.

If you like this article, please share with others so they can benefit. Sign Up for our newsletter to continue learning how to increase your skills and transform your organization! When you register now, you will get free access to our whitepaper on how to go from CX Novice to CX Expert

 

*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.

eCommerce and Customer Experience

E-commerce and Doing CX Right

Not too long ago, consumers had to drive to a retail store in order to buy and get a new product or service.  The launch of E-commerce has significantly improved shopper experiences offering more convenience, time savings, expanded product choices Continue reading “E-commerce and Doing CX Right”

time tips for cx experts

CX and the Gift of Time

Time is the most precious gift in life. If you think about it, time is the one thing we all want more of. As we get older and busier, time gets even more valuable to us.  Continue reading “CX and the Gift of Time”

"Companies Need To Focus On Holistic CX Rather Than Tactical CX"

​How To Take CX To A New Level

Many companies strive to achieve high customer satisfaction scores but end up falling short of their goals. One reason is that business teams focus on single parts of the customer journey instead of taking a Continue reading “​How To Take CX To A New Level”

CX Skills Builder: How to articulate your CX Value and secure your budget

Two weeks ago we urged you to find CX problems and fix them instead of diagnosing and mapping them. That is  Continue reading “CX Skills Builder: How to articulate your CX Value and secure your budget”

Expert interviews About Doing CX Right

Expert Interviews on DoingCXRight

One of the reasons we launched our blog is to build a community of people who are passionate about Learning and DoingCXRight. While we have been writing articles weekly from our perspective, as we “live and breathe” CX in our jobs every day at Verizon and JetBlue, we know there is tremendous value in hearing other professional views too. That is why we are excited to announce the upcoming launch of CXCoffeeTalk, where we will feature interviews with CX professionals and Customer Experience authors across different industries. They will share expertise on important topics such as:

  • Where should CX sit in an organization?
  • What are essential customer experience skills for a career in CX?
  • What are the ideal ways to measure CX?
  • And more on how to do CXRight.

Don’t miss out on valuable knowledge sharing. Sign up to get updates on our official launch of CXCoffeeTalk as well as receive ongoing ‘How To’ tips on DoingCXRight delivered to your email inbox.

 

 

*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 skills builder

CX Skills Builders: You May Have a CX Job and Not Know It

Last week we talked about the identity crisis of CX professionals and we urged you to fix any small problem or seam on the customer journey in order to build internal brand equity and buy in. Often, there is another scenario that is equally sub-optimal for your career development. You might be working on customer experience without recognizing it. The trouble with that is that you cannot sell your transferable skills when you don’t know that you have them. Continue reading “CX Skills Builders: You May Have a CX Job and Not Know It”

CX Skills Builder: Own the Customer Experience

Often, CX professionals do not believe they impact CX design and experience for their customers. Why?  What is the cause of this disconnect?

A month ago, I got a call from an acquaintance saying that her mom got the loyalty points for flying to her destination on an airline carrier, but not coming back. When she called the carrier, the person on the phone told her that since the booking was not made via the airline website, they could not find her reservation and help her.

Who is responsible for this bad customer experience?  More importantly, who has the power, skills and authority to fix it? The answer is easy. All. Of. Us.  Who do customers perceive as the person responsible to fix their customer experience problems? The Customer Experience Director.  I realized this, pointedly, when my acquaintance reached out to me.

In this example, typical of airline industry providers, it is true that we cannot find a reservation that has been made on another channel. It is true that our systems can be better integrated, more CRM-enabled, and easier to work with. It is also true that despite existing limitations, many professionals across the organization can do something to improve the customer experience in a case like this one.

The person on the phone can come up with a creative way to find the customer reservation using another tool.  The person in charge of partnerships can work on a better integration with other booking channels.  The person managing the points tool can enhance the tool so that every customer shows the last 2 flights, regardless of where that customer booked those flights. The list of can-dos and should-dos goes on and on. Yet, these customer experience professionals do not see themselves as owning the customer experience, nor do they feel accountable to do something to improve the customer experience.

To change that, it is imperative to shift the culture in the mindset of customer experience professionals at all levels.  This is very difficult to do.

Even the CX professionals who own the customer experience on paper frequently do not feel empowered to have a real impact. They do not recognize that something as simple as the example above can become a successful project in their portfolio. Instead, customer experience professionals journey map and look at holistic pictures, often without implementing or designing for real changes to the customer experience.

It almost feels like CX professionals have an identity crisis that prevents them from acting with impact. This may be because some are afraid of angering the operation, and so take a more passive approach. A passive approach does not advance the cause of customer experience design, nor does it make it easier to make real changes and to be heard at the table next time. Customer Experience professionals need a portfolio of changes to gain legitimacy in their organizations.  The best way to do that is to find a seam in the experience and fix problems. No matter how small a problem may be, fix it. Don’t just document it, communicate it and assess it. Fix it!

It is okay to jump in and fix the customer experience because this IS your job as a CX professional. At the end of the day, if you are not fixing things you really aren’t  doing your job. Own the customer experience. Be Brave. And you will see how much your internal brand will grow, and you will watch the operation start to come to you for solutions they know will work.

Like this tip? Sign up to have our next Own the Customer Experience CX Pro Tip delivered straight to your Inbox.

 

 

*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.

 

Your Culture Is Your Brand

How To Infuse CX Into Company Culture​

What is company culture, why is it important and how does customer experience play a role? According to Webster, it is “the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution or organization.” Culture is very important because it Continue reading “How To Infuse CX Into Company Culture​”

TpysRUs bankruptcy why

Do You Know Why The Iconic Brand Toys ‘R’ Us Closed Doors Despite All Our Memories? #RetailBlues

The year is 2016. You are the CEO of Toys ‘R’ Us. Your brand still controls 13.6% of the toy market although the company is highly leveraged, a strategy of your private equity investors. Amazon has its best ever holiday season and digital commerce is becoming the way customers purchase consumer goods more and more. You also have read about the epic miss of Kodak to move to digital photography. Last but not least, you have observed other retailers invest in their websites and build e-commerce customer experiences in an effort to avoid a “Kodak moment.” What do you do?

Nothing new, is the answer, and bankruptcy is the outcome that we are all reading about this week.

Sometimes, the ROI of the CX business case is survival. Literally. If Toys ‘R’ Us had listened to its customers and had build a digital experience on their website, the historic brand of our childhood would have become part of the childhood of our children. It is not easy for a brick and mortar business to reinvent itself into a digital business. It is not impossible. To survive, companies must evolve with their customers or die. The survival of the fittest in full effect on the business landscape, especially in retail.

Every organization has capital funds to invest in big bets (or not). Disruptive technologies today are redefining our way of life and the way that we consume goods and services. Big brands today need to ensure their boards and executive teams are made of bold, visionary leaders who are not afraid to recognize the future when the future is coming their way, and to invest in righting their ship on time. The leaders of Toys ‘R” Us were not aggressive enough until the end. This navigated the brand into oblivion.

Another 2016 scenario for Toys ‘R’ Us could have been to focus its remaining funding into a digital transformation, to build an interactive website and a user friendly app. The stores could have become places for customers to interact with the toys and order them on apps on their own devices, or on iPads in the store.

Toys ‘R’ Us could have built an interactive loyalty program following the growth cycle of the children who received toys from their stores. I have a Toys ‘R’ Us loyalty card and for the last 5 years I have not received a single communication from the brand about its loyalty program. No coupons, benefits or programming of any sort.

I do not know what Toys ‘R’ Us has invested in, in the past 5 years. One thing is evident. The brand did not have an aggressive digital strategy and vision to stay relevant in today’s world. A better management team would have never let this happen…while they were buying their new smart phones with more and more apps and digital products on them every year.

 

 

*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: New York Times Beats Google

One of the most disrupted industries in the last 10 years is the newspaper media. Newspapers have always had a certain sophistication, history, and nostalgia associated with them. This makes it particularly hard to observe their disappearance. Of the newspaper industry’s most recognizable brands, the New York Times is one that brings an additional layer of style that makes so many of us never want to let go.

At the same time, even I, a New York Times devotee, have to admit that my interaction with the famous brand has changed. While I used to subscribe to the New York Times in 2009 and 2010, today I am a digital subscriber. Although I love the idea of the newspaper, even I stopped buying it. Although I married a man who reads the New York Times (it was one of the requirements), I am not reading the digital subscription nearly as often as I used to read the paper itself, in college.

Because of my personal affinity with the paper, I was even more happy to read that the Times’ overall digital business is growing faster than Google and that the annual growth of new online subscriptions is averaging 46% since 2011.

Now that is a noteworthy shift that not many “old school” and “traditional” businesses are able to execute.

How was the Times able to do this? By being bold and building a strategy in 2015 that they are executing flawlessly today. The Times did not wait to fade into oblivion before it chose to re-channel itself. Since April 24th, 2017, the news outlet added the millennial channel to their portfolio by joining Discover on Snapchat. This shift is arguably the most digital signaling a news brand can give to tell its customers, “I am where you are. I have not changed my core value proposition of reliable, credible news delivery. I have just adapted to the times (no pun intended) and I am doing it in a different way.”

For a brand to do what The New York Times is doing it needs courageous leaders. It needs leaders who are able to know exactly what they are selling and who are able to recognize, in time, that their customer has changed. The New York Times has earned its position in our CX Bold Moves Series for doing all of this and not having an identity crisis.

We see brands in such crisis every day. Brands that are holding on to the image of their past customer or who are so afraid of change that they say they are investing in a digital transformation, but all they do is hire a Digital Transformation Director with no support infrastructure around the role.

46% average annual growth only happens when an organization is focused on that goal and when leadership and funding are appropriately allocated to this big, bold, transformational move. The New York Times clearly has that focus and courage. Do you?

 

 

*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.

Make It Easy For Customers To Get Help by Stacy Sherman

Make It Easy For Customers To Get Help

Considering it is less expensive for companies to keep a current customer than to acquire a new one, it is essential for businesses to deliver exceptional support at the moment people need it. While providing help is not a novel concept, many brands fail to do it Continue reading “Make It Easy For Customers To Get Help”

Autonomous Customers, Traveler Privacy and More Questions for CX Professionals in a Changing World

“As we move toward a more automated culture, most travelers will adapt to a Jetsonian, automated lifestyle.  Every industry we know will be disrupted.  For those of us in aviation, this signals the shift from aviation as a service industry to a transactional one that is potentially devoid of the personal touches that made the romance of flight an event.”

As I am boarding my flight to Denver today to speak at the AAAE Conference on “Autonomous Airports,” I can’t help but question, what does autonomous airport really mean.  The customer experience value of an airport itself is not autonomous.  Rather, the emerging autonomous airport experience aims to give birth to, enable and empower autonomous customers.

That brings about even more questions for CX professionals, particular customer experience professionals in the aviation world.

What is an autonomous customer?

The autonomous customer uses his/her time better and has more of it. Today we have a “holding room” at airport gates. Holding room… even the term itself sounds limiting.

What is a customer supposed to do in a holding room?  Be on hold?

Autonomous airports are open spaces with no physical or process boundaries between the individual customer touch points (check-in, bag drop, etc.).  As a result, there also is no barrier between crewmember and customer. Eliminating barriers in autonomous airports shifts the power from the airport procedures and processes to the traveler. This makes travel more enjoyable.

Because of this customer experience-driven design, the autonomous customer can go through the experience at his/her own pace.  The autonomous customer is not “held” anywhere. The airport becomes a menu of tools and services that the autonomous customer is empowered to choose to use or not. Who would not want to do that?

What about Grandma’s journey?

Autonomous airports enable both customers and crewmembers. A roving crew has access to much more information and tools on the go that enable them to take care of the needs of all customers of all ages, particularly those who do not want to or are unable to do so themselves.

Maybe the first time, Grandma will be intimidated (although not all grandmas are alike!) by the autonomous airport environment, but she will quickly get used to and appreciate the self-driving device that can whisk her and her bags from one gate to another in a few minutes.

What about my privacy? Does autonomy mean my airline knows everything about me?

Autonomy is also about accountability.  On both sides. Customers want information and adequate services at the right times.  It is impossible for any brand to deliver that without access to certain customer information or preferences.

Customers also want seamless journeys across the airport. To design that airlines and airports need access to certain customer history. For example, if you want the airline to wait for the customer one extra minute at the gate, the airline needs to know that the customer is physically at the airport. Even more so, the airline should know whether the customer has passed security already.

In the case of JetBlue’s autonomous airport CX design, Bag Buddy, one of my ideas, was designed to pick up customer bags at their homes and transport them directly to their destinations. That seamless movement of objects and people lays on the foundations of data sharing. More specifically, it rests on good data that is appropriate and useful in delivering the experience customers want.

Questions remain, and as CX experts continue to design autonomous airports and meet the needs of the autonomous customer, new questions will arise.  For now, let me demystify the autonomous airport for you. At the heart of the autonomous airport, from the CX perspective, is the information that will allow the airport as a physical asset to expand its boundaries and reach people’s homes. Data allows physical boundaries to merge and creates one big experience of transporting people and their belongings across space. That is a future we all want, Jetsons fans or not.

 

 

*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 Design – Make the Customer Know Who You Are

Now that we have helped you become experts in the design of space and function and the design of feelings it is time to take care of the aesthetics and connect customer experience to the brand identity. T5 is an expression of the JetBlue brand. When customers enter the space they feel and know that they are flying JetBlue and not another airline. How can you make customers know without a doubt that they are experiencing your brand?

Know your brand!

At first pass, know your brand is self-explanatory, but you would be surprised by how many professionals believe that only the marketing department needs to know brand identity. In today’s digital and mobile world every member of a company must know the brand. Without a deep understanding of the brand you represent, you are a blind painter. How can you even begin to express values and beliefs you do not know and understand? Know your brand. If you don’t, find a way to learn it! Now.

Convince your CFO that brand equity funding is long term investment

If many people do not know the brands they work for, even fewer fail to understand the fragile nature of brand equity. If you go to your CFO tomorrow and ask for funding to “infuse the brand” in whatever physical or digital experience you are building, you will be asked for the ROI on this undertaking. You will also be told that it feels like this “brand stuff” is a “nice to have,” not a “must have” feature.

If there is one moment when you can self-destruct the business case of Customer Experience it is the moment you agree with this statement. The right answer is “Investment in the brand side of customer experience is a must-have feature because without reinvestment in the brand equity, the customer will not connect the experience you have built with the brand you represent.”

Treat your brand with the same empathy you treat your employees and customers

If your brand is strong, it has personality. If it has personality, you can treat your brand as a person – with empathy and care. JetBlue’s persona is smart, fresh and stylish. As the CX designer, I translate this to edgy and innovative, taking a modern view – chic and modern, regardless of time. What does that mean during the design phase? Obsession over every detail.

Details make the customer experience memorable and unique. Nothing is too small for the CX designer to touch. The kiosks in T5 are slim, white and without the “catcher” boarding passes. Brand-driven decisions and compromises made this happen. Crewmembers would have preferred wider kiosks to lay down their cups of coffee. They also would have preferred another color that does not require as much cleaning. Customers would have preferred the metal, functional and protruding catcher for the boarding passes.  The brand persona did not fit with any of those functional needs, so they are not in the lobby today.

Without attention to details the look and feel of the T5 lobby would not have screamed JetBlue the way it does now. By respecting the brand identity the design came out sleek and customers tweeted praise for the design, comparing it to Apple.

Location, location, location

How the customer experience touchpoints are sequences also can express brand identity. JetBlue is “nice.” Flying with JetBlue is a “nice experience.” JetBlue is “human and comfortable.” So when the decision was made to invest in custom-made repack stations with integrated scales, we took the brand identity into consideration. The table could have been made more cheaply out of metal. It would not have made the experience “nice.”

Instead, customers would have felt either like they were in a factory or, best case scenario, in surgery. The tables also were conveniently build in close proximity to the new real “Bag Drop” to it more comfortable for customers to move between the two touch points.

Customer experience professionals must be the loudest brand ambassadors and brand managers. CX professionals deliver on the promises the brand marketers communicate in their campaigns. Without this link and without that collaboration, customer experience feels disconnected, or worse.

As a customer experience professional, you must own the brand equally to the marketers and serve the brand’s values. Without that, you are delivering a customer experience without a soul and you are missing the opportunity to build a deep, meaningful, memorable connection with the customer – the ultimate goal of every brand.

Image courtesy as featured in Cosmopolitan Magazine

 

 

*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 design brand goals JetBlue Liliana Petrova CX

CX Design – How Do You Want Customers To Feel?

Last week we talked about CX Design in terms of space and function. Today  we continue our CX design journey to talk about the design of feelings. The new look of the JetBlue T5 lobby enabled customer experience interactions in more open air space for both customers and crewmembers.

 

The next part of the design drives the make or break of ROI. It is also the most overlooked.  Meeting the functional needs of customers is only the base of the experience pyramid, but most brands stop there, believing that meeting those basic functional customer needs is enough to deliver great customer experience. In his book Harley Manning revisits the three levels of the CX pyramid  – “meet needs,” “easy,” “enjoyable.”

 

To design great customer experience like we did with the T5 project, we jump right to the top of the pyramid, working on making our customers say “I feel [blank] about this experience.” Who you fill in that blank depends on your brand and culture values.

 

How do you want them to feel?

 

It is important to think through the emotions you are designing, since those emotions will trigger repeat business. As Maya Angelou said “…people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” That memory is both a risk and an opportunity to create a long lasting relationship with your customers. When we were designing the lobbies, the customer experience team wanted our customers to feel efficient, taken care of, empowered and smart enough to do things themselves without help. We knew the goal – create simple, personal and helpful customer experience. All we had to do was think about what that means in terms of emotion.
 
How big is the change you are introducing? Are you adding enough new customer experience elements that compensate for the discomfort of the ones you are removing?
 

Start with the change management.  When we removed the podiums at the lobby, we essentially took away our crewmembers’ comfort zone – their anchor, their place to hold personal items. This change was disruptive to their daily lives. It was important that, as we took away tools, we also needed to give crewmembers new ones to make them feel heard and understood. So we designed the hospitality training – a CX soft training with standards and tips on how to interact with customers and keep the brand promises we have made.

 

With the hospitality training, JetBlue crewmembers had the cultural/brand guidelines of service delivery that perfectly complemented the new space we built. One of the whys informed us that the only thing a “Bag Drop” position should do is check IDs and scan boarding passes and bag tags. Podiums and computers were replaced with Blackberries to do just that and the transaction times at bag drop dopped in half.  Customers spent 30 seconds dropping their bags and continuing on their (CX) journey. The lines disappeared. The negative comments about long lines in our VOC surveys also disappeared. We had a drop of 65% of any mention of “long queues”.

 

 
Does your corporate culture support the internal disruption you are creating?
 
Since we completely disrupted the working place of our crewmembers we needed to think about the soft side of this innovation. At the time, we were the first airline in North America to remove podiums at bag drop. This is where JetBlue’s culture is a true differentiator. The CX design did not stop with the Customer. It included the crewmember. We treated our employees as customers. We spent equal time deliberating how to design (and pay for) the new bag drop positions to minimize the functional changes in the lives our crewmembers. For example, where would they leave their phones, purses, wallets when they worked? We built drawers in the blue arcs above the intake bag belts to meet that need. The thinner design matched better the overall open space approach of the lobbies. Despite that, we built them thicker, making the tradeoff between brand look and function to manage the customer experience of our crewmembers and their acceptance of change.

 

 
The design of exceptional/memorable/unique customer experiences requires empathy. To connect as a brand to your customer, you need to go beyond meeting the functional needs of your customer. Making the experience easy is very hard. No doubt about that. But ease only connects with the rational side of your customers. To generate more ROI through CX, you need to also create a positive emotion that will trigger the irrational decisions to (hopefully) pay for your product or service at a premium next time. Not only because it was seamless, but because they want to relive that feeling again. You will be one of the few brands that is not just offering a product or a service.  You are offering amazing customer experience – you are a well oiled machine for feelings.
 
Image courtesy of JetBlue
*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.

Why I Don’t Love Chat Bots

Today, we tackle the value proposition that chat bots are more valuable to companies than customers. I reject this.  The ROI simply is not there, especially since better customer experience is not there. I have experienced both fully automated bots and “augmented” service agents interactions using the chat channel, and neither delivers on the promises of chat bots as the game-changing resource we all need.

For our blog we use a photography subscription service. They push chat support heavily. When I used it, it was slow. The person either did not know English well enough or was multi-tasking several chats, but it felt like he was not present. On occasion, it felt like he was not answering the question I was asking, but rather providing a generic response. The base for effective communication is connection. When I felt unheard by the “support,” my frustration almost led me to drop the service (there are plenty of options for photography sources). Suddenly the chat offering threatens to cause the loss of a customer… and the organization PAID for it, for its integration, monthly support fees etc. I do not like that. It makes no sense.

empathetic response ai photos

AI presentation photo by Liliana Petrova, CCXP

Let’s talk about the fully automated chat bots. Allegedly, this is where companies see the real efficiencies. Again, no real value for customers unless the automated chat function allows them to fully self-serve. The problem is, the fully automated chat bot today is stupid. It can perform only very distinct functions.

The customer faced with a chat immediately tenses up with anxiety. He/she knows that the chances are pretty high he/she will have to channel switch pretty soon. How many bot interactions have you had that allowed you to solve your problem without switching to a human? Chat bot is supposed to deliver customer-centric experience. It is supposed to be customer directed, but the customer feels anxious that the minute the bot gets “stupid,” the customer loses control of the experience. Suddenly, the power is with the bot.

What is the future for chat bots? Disturbing is a word that comes to mind. Soul Machines is the company to check for the preview. They have developed a digital human that has a BRAIN built on a virtual nervous system. Now that is equally exciting and terrifying. It reminds me of the AI empowered female voice that sounds like a human one (the digital human is also female…just saying). It will take some time before the digital human agent becomes the norm, but one thing is for sure, the next version of “stupid bot” will have empathy.

According to Forrester, 60% of us prefer not to use a chat bot at all. I bet you if you ask why, you will also hear that the bots just stupid. So how can chat bots become smarter? We are back to the data conversation. Chat bots are as smart as the power and scope of the underlying data they can pull/learn from. In the case of the JetBlue customer experience team, without an integration to our reservation system, the chat bot cannot change or re-book a passenger’s ticket. Until then. customers will keep reading “please speak to an agent.” That is hardly a way to feel the love.

 

 

*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.

How to Sell the C-Suite on Customer Experience

You finally got your big career break and you are leading a project that requires executive approval. Now what? Intuitively you know that this is a chance to make a first impression on the right people, but you have no idea how to approach this process. There is no set procedure and your leader can be good or bad at this, so going to your boss might not be the first right step. Where do you begin?

Overcommunicate – Know your audience

Begin by scheduling pre-briefings with each individual executive. Do not forget the Chief Counsel or the Chief HR Executive. When it comes to the Exec Crew, every function weighs equally. You never know who might help (or block) your business case. If you are asking for millions of dollars to build CX expertise in the enterprise, or to finally connect underlying systems that yield bad customer experience, you might find that the Chief HR executive is so passionate about customer experience that he/she is the loudest voice in the room.

Your job does not end here. You also need to assess the political capital of each executive. Who has been on the team the longest? Who has the strongest ties to the Board of Directors? The networking power of leaders can be stronger than the hierarchy of power.  It is invisible, but it cannot be underestimated.

Nothing is decided in the executive meeting/board room

The moment you realize this you will increase your success of obtaining funding for CX initiatives. You also will realize how much more work you have ahead of you to put the CX roadmap on your organization’s priority list.

The executive meeting is the ink meeting. It is the show. The real approvals and conversations that you need take place before that meeting. If these conversations do not take place, nothing gets approved. Many times, I have peers bring business cases to the executive committee without “pre-socializing” them. In the meeting, they are asked various business and political questions that they are unable to answer and nothing gets accomplished. The best case scenario is to get that approval “pushed” to the next meeting. One thing is for sure: no money or support is gained that day.

Cover all your bases

Never underestimate the power of the VPs and Directors. If you think you only need to sell CX to an executive to introduce the customer as a mindset, you are very wrong. The first thing a good Executive does is turn to his VPs and Directors and say “What do you think about this?” If you have not sold your agenda to them, the conversation is over.

Think of this work as an election campaign. Assess the benefits of each stakeholder or group in your organization. If there are losers in the landscape who, by design, will hurt, you need to acknowledge that every chance you get, in public. And you must thank them for sacrificing themselves for the greater good.

Have the keys to the gate

The Executive Assistants must be your friends. All. of. them. I know it is basic, but somehow, people still fail to follow this principle. Access is everything. Without it you have no voice, no audience. Take care of them every holiday season. Even without an occasion. Just do it.

Getting executive buy-in is not easy, but it is not an impossible task. Remember: think like a CX expert, know your Customer, personalize your message, and express empathy when you deliver your pitch. People want the same things, regardless of the setting – to be heard, considered and respected. Remember this, and design your approach accordingly.

 

 

*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.

Brand Image ROI

Two weeks ago we discussed the power of employee engagement for your brand and the true meaning and ROI of a working corporate culture. Today we will examine the business case of the engaged customer, the powerful brand image and the brand loyalty it generates – loyalty that drives repeat purchases, higher revenues and more engaged customers.
 
An engaged customer requires the investment of the ongoing conversation. The “conversation” dollars go to social media campaigns, closed-loop systems for customer feedback, and a responsive loyalty customer service, among other customer experience levers.
 
Invest in people as much as product
 
Two weeks ago, I received a complaint from a JetBlue customer. In order to keep the conversation going with this customer, I had to relay the information to the teams that were accountable for his experience and get back to him with a comprehensive and empathetic feedback about his experience. CX professionals call this close loop, but close loop is a policy. My taking the effort to connect with people across the organization and CARING to get answers is employee engagement on my part, and that is generated by our corporate culture.
 
This culture is what maintains customer engagement and, which, as a result will create an ancillary purchase in the future. Often, people and service are more important than the product of an organization.  People and service build an organization’s brand image when customers interact with the brand. Customer experience relies more on human interactions with the brand than on the technology that enables those interactions.
 
Empathy and Innovation
 
Magazine Luiza is another great example of impacting ancillary sales and seeing a 35% ROI as a result of deliberate investment in empathy and innovation.  The Brazilian virtual store offers products on credit to the under-served customers in rural areas. Customers can see pictures of their desired products then go home and wait for the delivery in the next 48 hours.
 
To achieve loyalty and repeat business, Magazine Luiza also functions as community centers that offer free internet, literacy, cooking and basic banking classes. This investment contributed to the build out of a strong emotional connection between the brand and its audience, transforming Magazine Luiza into a powerful lifestyle brand to its customers. Even customers apprehensive of taking credit visit a place where a friendly face walks them through the experience of borrowing money while their child learns how to write for free.
 
The brand image of growth and development that come from the education components Magazine Luiza provides is, in a way, transferred to the “product” of buying on credit.  Once customers are empowered to buy on credit initially, they return to buy more things because each of those purchases makes them feel economically empowered.
 
Engaged customers are the blood of every business
 
Without engaged customers, business cannot grow. They provide the steady cashflow and the free cashflow that allow a business to invest in products and customer acquisition. The ROI of engaged customers lies in the growth of the organization and the incremental revenue that ensues. Depending on the growth stage of a particular organization, that ROI also can mean an organization’s survival.
*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.
the customer experience effect jetblue liliana petrova

How Do You Know You Are Making The Right Big Bet?

In the last post for JetBlue’s Into the Blue blog series on customer experience lessons learned in 2017, Liliana Petrova and her guests explore different ways to envision the future so you can build it effectively.

“Don’t tie it to technology, tie it to an aspiration.” is the advice of Allegra Burnette, former Forrester consultant.

Liliana’s and JetBlue’s leap into the unknown is using micro-innovation and empathy to create consistent memorable experiences for the customer at every possible interaction while keeping in mind their true North Star.

Read more and watch the video.

 

 

*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.

the customer experience effect jetblue liliana petrova

Keep The Customer In Focus For 2018

In her latest post for JetBlue’s Into the Blue blog series on customer experience lessons learned in 2017, our own Liliana Petrova explores how to combine innovation and knowledge of human behavior to keep the customer in focus at the same time CX professionals are developing new strategies.

Read more and watch the video.

 

*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.

 

the customer experience effect jetblue liliana petrova

What Did We Learn About CX In 2017?

In Post 2 of Liliana Petrova’s series on CX lessons learned and best practices for the new year on JetBlue, she explores the importance of “keeping the human touch” when implementing CX innovation tools.

Head over to Into the Blue, the JetBlue blog, to learn how to keep the human touch, and create better human connections.

 

*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.

 

Is AI Really The Answer?

Earlier this week we shared some of the pitfalls of implementing  self-service and highlighted the importance of strategic and empathetic implementation.  AI (artificial intelligence) is one of the self-service tools in the customer service professional toolbox today. It is also one of the new buzzwords, together with blockchain (for the curious ones  – my favorite explanations of blockchain are this video and this article).

The primary current positioning of AI is in call centers. The value proposition is that with AI, companies will empower customer service employees to make better decisions/recommendations, thus increasing employee engagement. Additionally, through AI, organizations will achieve significant ROI by automating the role of the customer agent (in JetBlue’s case, the crewmember) and scaling customer support without incremental headcount.

So what exactly is AI? Do you really understand what this technology can and cannot do? If you do not, keep reading as all working professionals today should understand at least the basics of AI. If you are like me, you probably get 100 sales emails every week telling you that you are running late and must leverage AI in your call centers. But do you really need AI? What problem do YOU need to solve? And is AI the best way to do that for your company?

Last month I was invited by Execs In the Know to join their AI Advisory Committee with the below mandate:

“The final group output will come in the form of a report. The exact nature of the report will be determined and framed by the group, but may include areas such as:

  • A summary of ways AI is enhancing CX channels
  • Best practices on where and how to start
  • Trends and technology in AI to improve service
  • ROI of current AI customer service initiatives
  • Perspectives and predictions about the future of AI and customer service”

This is no small mandate and it is encouraging that we have a group of professionals who are examining these questions before we all get ahead of ourselves with AI and compromise the ROI we all want so much.

The most common use of AI is ML (machine learning).  Basically, this is data mining and predictive learning on steroids that enables a computer to make decisions and interact with a human. With that basic understanding I already have a few questions to all the companies that are calling, emailing, inmailing etc., to offer me AI enabled solutions. Who, or rather what, is enabling those solutions? Is it my company’s data? Because if it is, I have a lot more work to do internally before I respond to those sales pieces.

Erik Brynjolfsson and  Andrew Mcafee provide a comprehensive explanation of what AI is and what it is not in their publication The Business of Artificial Intelligence. In it they state that AI technology is ready for implementation in the business world and that “[t]he bottleneck now is in management, implementation, and business imagination.” I do have the business imagination, but I also am taking my time to know exactly what capability I am buying with AI. It might be cheaper to streamline processes and fix existing software tools or integrations to enable my employees to deliver excellent customer service, instead of paying for yet another software integration that makes decisions based on my bad data (since I would have prioritized the purchase of the expensive AI solution over cleaning my existing data).

Although it is clear that AI will be a solution that needs demonstrated ROI and employee adoption for success while it is learning, it is also clear that we cannot wait too long to get comfortable with this new technology. As Erik and Andrew say, one thing is pretty sure: “[o]ver the next decade, AI won’t replace managers, but managers who use AI will replace those who don’t”.

That is the exact reason I chose to join the AI Advisory Committee. More to come!

 

 

*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.

When Not To Invest In Self-Service Technology?

Every progressive brand today aspires to have more self-service. Very few implement self-service successfully. Self-service is a new tool to optimize a company’s workforce by removing transactions from the system. All industries are looking at self-service as a strategy of the future.

Hospitals, airlines, and hotels are installing kiosks to self check-in while grocery stores and taxi companies are implementing self-service check out with digital payment products. The list goes on and on. What differentiates a successful use of self-service as a building block of innovation from a failed implementation that adds more effort for the customer that leaves him/her angry and frustrated?

Successful self-service is self-sufficient. It enables customers to meet all their needs by themselves. If users can do only some of the steps of the whole process alone then self-service adds costs to the business, adds complexity and effort to the experience. For example, if a customer can print his/her food voucher when there is a delay, but cannot rebook him/herself (i.e. still needs to call customer service) then all the brand has accomplished is to add steps for the customer to get the same value he/she could have done before with ONLY a phone call.

Another thing to be aware of with self-service is what type of labor is optimized and what labor is part of the self-service solution. The business case of self-service might not work if the solution requires incremental (and expensive) IT resources while removing existing (and cheaper) unskilled resources. As Matthew Dixon says in  :  “[t]he challenge is not in getting today’s customer to try self-service. The challenge lies in getting today’s customer to avoid channel switching from self-service to a live phone call… the self-service battle isn’t about getting customers to go, it’s about getting them to stay.” It is important to launch the solution that solves all the needs of the customer before launching a technology solution to avoid getting the wrong results.

Design for 80% of the customer base, not the high touch 5% – 10%.  The 5% base solution is more expensive and most probably will break the business case.  Be ready for all the people who will question the design that will NOT cover 100% of the customers. Questions about the exceptions will keep coming up: “What is the customer does not have a credit card? What if the customer does not speak English? What if …?” The answer to all of them is: “They will go to the full service option at that touch point. They will not self-serve.” Be strong and keep the focus on the goals of self-service – to alleviate, not eliminate, the calls to the contact center; to allow the employees to offer a better service to those people who do not have a credit card and/or do not speak English. It is counterintuitive, but by not solving for them through self-service, we are building a better service for the exceptions as well.

Be brave! Some people will not like the self-service design. You will hear a lot of push back about de-humanizing the experience for the customers. Anjali Lai from Forrester studied the emotions of brand interactions (see below) and was able to show that there is no significant difference in the perception of the customers when they self-serve (from interacting with a live person).

What is more human? To have a human tell a customer that he/she is not able to solve the problem, because the process is not designed well or that they will be put on a brief call to speak to another person, or having self-service solutions that empower customers to create their own experiences in a personalized and independent way (without telling their names and confirmation numbers 2 or more times).

Self-service is an integral part of the future, but unless self-service is designed and executed in a strategic and empathetic manner it can drive more costs and complaints than savings and satisfaction. The basic value creation mandate is critical in this business strategy: unless self-service creates real value for the customer he/she will not embrace it.

So ask yourself, if you were the customer, would you gain anything from doing a task yourself vs. getting help from the company? As the company, do you gain anything by self-serving? Is it faster, easier or simpler? If you cannot answer yes to any of those questions, do not invest in self-service technology.

 

*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.

Liliana Petrova

From Pain Points to Magical Moments: Transform the Customer Experience

Argyle Journal recently interviewed customer experience professional (and Doing CX Right writer) Liliana Petrova about emerging self service technology and meeting and exceeding customer expectations in airports.

Liliana brings out a point that is integral to all technology-based customer experience solutions, namely that “[w]e want to create something that feels like magic, without breaking any foundational rules.”

Of that magic and the quest to create it as part of customer experience, Liliana explains, “[i]f there is a way to create a seamless and invisible experience, we want to find a way to get there.”

Read more about how she and her team are working to do so.

Play the audio below to hear Liliana speak about the magical customer experience.

 

 

*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 customer experience news t-mobile replaces remote workforce

CX Bold Moves: Mobile Provider Eliminates Remote Workforce

When it comes to customer support we all want the same things. We measure the efficiency metrics FCR (first call resolution), average wait time and talk time. We train our contact center agents to be personal and helpful.  Some of us even build incentives around goals for ancillary sales. When it comes to delivering on those KPIs right, customer experience managers have a lot in common. None of us has figured out how to deliver on all metrics. We are happy if we get one of them right!

Making Customers Feel Good when They Call

At JetBlue, our contact center is our heart. Our Contact Center crewmembers live the company’s mission to inspire humanity. If you want to feel what JetBlue is about, dial 1800 JetBlue where the customer experience is driven by empathy and understanding. And that is before we even train our crewmembers on our hospitality standards (that will happen in a few months as planned on the rollout roadmap).

JetBlue further empowers those crewmembers to be BlueHeros – to act as citizens, protect the JetBlue brand, and do the right thing for the customer when things go wrong. This is how we approach contact center management.

Loyalty that’s Worth the Wait

T-Mobile, self-described “Un-Carrier” is taking on a different approach. Two weeks ago at the Forrester conference in San Francisco, Sid Bothra shared the brand’s new strategy of call centers management. Instead of having frontline agents work from home, T-Mobile launched mini-call center “pods” of approximately 50 people each that cover specific geography and have cross-functional agents. Those groups are managed as P&L centers, not only as cost centers.

This is a completely new and risky approach that maximizes FCR at the expense of wait and talk times. Yes, in the new world, customer calls will not be transferred a second (or third) time. With this design the agent who knows data sits next to the network specialist and the international calls expert. The agent’s efficiency loss, however, will be substantial and impact both wait and call times.

The results Sid Bothra shared were inspiring. As expected, customers now wait 2x longer (from 40 seconds to 1m-1.3m), but NPS went up by 50% and employee retention increased by 75%. In addition, customer share of the wallet also increased because now, callers are more open to buying ancillary products.

Sid Bothra’s plan is a great example of thinking outside of the box and challenging the norm. Very few traditional call center leaders would agree with this new approach.  In the long run, though, giving employees a sense of ownership of the business is the best way to inspire excellent service and care. It sounds like T-Mobile has found one way to do just that. It is one thing to feel like a cost, a burden to a business. It is another thing to feel empowered to earn money for your company and manage profits for your investors.

Recalibrating Goals

There is a third view on call centers that contradicts both JetBlue’s strategy and T-Mobile’s. Matthew Dixon in his book states that “any customer service interaction is four times more likely to drive disloyalty than to drive loyalty.”  Dixon argues that our efforts to make customers happy when they reach out to our contact centers is not the right approach because at the point of the call, we have lost their loyalty.  Dixon recalibrates the goal of customer service to mitigate that negative impact by reducing effort because reducing effort is more tangible to the customer and more sustainable to organizations than our current work to delight our callers.

Regardless of the approach you decide to take with your call center management, I urge you to be disruptive, even to yourself, and not to look at the traditional models. Technology advancements are adding more tools to our toolboxes and the new workforce is looking for more meaning and impact in any job. T-Mobile has addressed both opportunities in a creative and innovative way that has potential to differentiate them in the future.

That could be you!

 

 

*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.

How to talk to your CFO about customer experience and revenue growth

Last month we introduced the topic of Customer Experience ROI and the complexity of building a good business case for it. The Customer Experience business case is strong, but not easy to prove. Today we will dive deeper in two big wins of a successful customer experience investment – revenue and customer growth of your business.

Revenue Growth

Proving customer experience-driven revenue benefits is a surmountable challenge. It is a project that involves team members from each level of your team to engage cross functionally and build a comprehensive analysis with many assumptions and commitments in the future. While the doers build financial models, senior leaders need to get buy-in from their peers and put on paper the process and policy changes required for the desired impact of the future employee and customer experience.

The first step is to quantify what is the current customer experience.  Do you offer any self-service?  If you do not, do you expect call volume to go down once you implement self-service channels and products? How much in vouchers and credits are you giving out today to irate customers who had bad customer experience?  How much will that number go down if you build intuitive experiences and frictionless customer journeys? To do that you will need data from different systems governed by siloed teams. Once you get all the access you need comes the fun part – structure and connect the discreet data dumps to bring actionable customer insights to life. So arm yourself with patience and start those conversations.

Revenue benefits are not the only financial impact of a successful customer experience transformation. Explore cost benefits as well.  Redesign of customer interactions with your brand naturally will drive redesign of existing roles and introduction of new tools for employees to deliver seamless experience. These changes will bring cost benefits as well. Quantify the transactions you will eliminate and the value of the new services that the employees will be enabled to offer to customers in future state. This analysis requires “future-thinking” and is valuable both for the design of new customer experiences and the quantification of its benefits. As a bonus, new processes and tools will bring transparency that increases financial controls and reduces cases of fraud.

Customer Growth

Customer growth is a less linear benefit to prove. To quantify it cross-functional collaboration is key.  In her book , Jeanine Bliss lays out a customer experience framework that begins with “managing and honoring your customers as assets.” She urges customer experience leaders who build organizational trust in the value/imperative of customer experience investments to prove the “right to customer-driven growth” by connecting the value of customers to business metrics. Very often senior leaders focus on survey results, which is too myopic. Jeanine Bliss concludes that without the extra cross functional work, customer experience is seen as another cost and “nice to have” bells and whistle, not as a successful growth strategy.

How can you persuade your CFO to invest in customer experience? Build the connection between effortless and memorable experiences and customer growth with an actionable CRM (customer information software that informs us of customer characteristics and past interactions with our brand). By actionable CRM I do not mean a database without user interface that you can access from the web. An actionable CRM is accessible, easy to use tool that analyzes previous paths to purchase and the customer’s journeys that you can use as a baseline for the new journeys that you implement for the customer. With those insight in hand you have built the connection between CX and customer growth.

Revenue and customer growth are strong arguments for the success of the customer experience business case. However, do not believe those who tell you they are obvious. Clearly, they have never tried to prove the link between customer experience and revenue and customer growth. Instead arm yourself with good analytical resources and build a CRM solution that can feed your business case for the foreseeable future. In other words, build a mechanism to produce real customer insights, not data dumps that nobody understands.

Next month, in part 3 of our Customer Experience ROI series, we will cover how to quantify the positive customer and employee engagement ROI of the customer experience business case.  Higher employee engagement drives better retention numbers, lower churn and happier customers. Happier customers spend more money with your brand and drive up ancillary sales.  Show me a CFO who does not want both.

 

 

*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.

VP of Listening, brand image, future purchases

One Person Can Make Or Break A Brand’s Image

We all interact with companies when shopping for products and services. Sometimes we talk to representatives in person, such as at a retail store, while other times we chat online or call customer care. Regardless of where the interaction occurs, Continue reading “One Person Can Make Or Break A Brand’s Image”

"Show value, create an experience and always strive to exceed customer expectations."

Delivering Unexpected Value Drives Happiness & Referrals

Great customer experience matters and delivering unexpected value is a big part of the equation.

My passion around this topic started when I received a package in the mail on a random afternoon. I was not anticipating a large box to be delivered, especially with a label that read “To Stacy, From Stacy.” Continue reading “Delivering Unexpected Value Drives Happiness & Referrals”

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Meet Doing CX Right

Are you passionate about Customer Experience (CX)?

Are you confused about where to begin transforming your organization to be more customer-centric? Are you wondering if you should even do this transformation or if Customer Experience is just another buzz word that will disappear in a few years? Are you a start up that has reached a point where your sales representatives have become complaint agents, and you do not know how to scale to gain repeat happy customers?

If you have asked yourself these and related questions, then you have come to the right place. We are two thought leaders, who are passionate about everything CX and have much to share given over 15+ years of experience. (Learn about us Here.) Our goal is to provide readers with relevant and actionable information, as well as foster a community for continued knowledge sharing.

While we don’t know where this journey will take us, we are committed to making a difference and excited to publicly launch today, October 3, 2017, also known National CX Day. We look forward to your feedback as “Voice of the Customer” matters in everything we do.

 

 

*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 ROI. Is It Worth Doing?

The business case for Customer Service is complex. Gone are the days when we bought a piece of hardware that depreciates over 5 or 10 years on the balance sheet. Customer Experience does not even show up on our assets list. At least not with that name.

The ROI of Customer Experience is in the revenue and customer growth of your organization. It is in the engagement of your customer base that leads to ancillary sales. It is in the strength of your brand image and the worth of your brand equity.The challenge business leaders face justifying investments (especially big ones) is because these relationships  are not linear. Today’s CFO need’s to understand the value of marketing more than ever. Customer Experience is equal to brand management and if you underestimate the importance of either, you might not be in business in 5 years.

Customer Experience ROI is the same as your company’s strategy ROI. If you don’t have a defined brand and marketing strategy backed up with a complimentary communications strategy you will not see Customer Experience ROI regardless of your investments. Think about your strategy and argue the case for Customer Experience investments as an execution of a strategy, not as a business case.

 

 

*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.