People often ask me for advice on how to increase their CX skills. They want to understand more about the customer experience field and proven methodologies to differentiate their brands. While I mentor them based on my 20 years of CX experiences, I also share additional ways to learn. Below are some of my favorites sources. Whether you are new to the CX field or a long-time practitioner, I’m confident that you will find value in reading my article. Continue Reading →
Not too long ago, consumers had to drive to a retail store to purchase what they wanted. Customer experience (CX) had a different meaning. The launch of digital apps and websites significantly changed our lives offering more convenience, time savings, expanded product choices, and easier access to offers and promotions. Though there are a lot of advantages to digital shopping, it’s harder for companies to differentiate their brands. Easy ordering and on-time delivery are customary. Free shipping and simple return processes are the norms. When it does not go as expected, then customers get irate, and satisfaction scores decline. So then….
How Do Companies Best Compete In The Digital Age?
The answer is simple, but implementation takes creativity. Brands need to focus on differentiating themselves by providing memorable experiences that remain in peoples’ minds even after a transaction is complete. The following is a personal story that demonstrates my point.
A friend of mine, who knows I love granola, suggested I try a new brand that she thought was amazing. At the time, I could not find a store near me to visit in person but was able to buy on the company’s website. My online purchase experience went smoothly. There was nothing that stood out UNTIL my package arrived. That’s when there was an ELEMENT OF SURPRISE that keeps me talking and referring Kelly’s Four Plus Granola (aside from its great tasting product).
- There was a card enclosed in the box with a message about how I purchased the “freshest Granola possible” and that it is “handmade in small batches in their Norwalk, CT kitchen.” I liked reassurance and felt confident that I made the right choice. But more importantly….
- There was a hand-written thank you note, as you can see below. I was impressed by the fact that management took the time to personalize it to me. It seems mundane, but I noticed and loved it.
The Point of My Customer Experience Story:
The company went up and beyond to make me feel good about my purchase, aside from delivering a great product. As a result, I’ve shared with people on social media and am authentically bragging about the company to you. “Word of mouth” recommendations are a marketers dream and the premise of NPS (Net Promoter Score). I believe every company can apply similar principles regardless of industry.
Customer Experience Lessons:
- Show customers that you value them. Small gestures, like a handwritten note, can go a long way.
- Personalize as much as possible. Just because a transaction is digital does not mean you can’t humanize customer experiences. In fact, it becomes even more important when technology is involved.
- Take advantage of all channels to thank customers. A letter in a fulfillment box is a great tactic, especially if there’s a savings coupon enclosed. Service providers can also provide “Wow Moments” by giving a similar note to customers when visiting them onsite.
- Communication is a sure way to delight customers. Read my other article about 5 Tips To Improve CX and EX.
Kelly’s Four Plus Granola is not the only one to differentiate its brand in a personalized way. Stacy’s Pita Chips is another company that deployed a brilliant marketing and CX strategy. Read my unexpected customer experience story here, which actually ignited my interest in the CX field.
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There’s an article in the Wall Street Journal that is creating some commotion. It raises the question of whether or not “Net Promoter Score,” otherwise known as “NPS,” is a good measurement of customer satisfaction. Many customer experience (CX) experts say yes. They depend on NPS as a sole metric to determine customers’ perceptions and feelings about their brand. However, others debate the validity and usefulness of Net Promoter Score, saying that “the science behind NPS is bad, and it’s been oversold.” Continue Reading →
I’m constantly focussed on new ways to maximize customer satisfaction (beyond price factors) and increase employee engagement. Whether I am at my day job or on vacation, my CX hat is on. I pay attention to everything, including how employees communicate with customers as well as how employees interact with one another. My recent trip was no different when visiting The Lodge At Woodloch with my family. I could write a book about my Woodloch experience, however, there’s a specific CX example that impressed me the most. Continue Reading →
There’s an increasing amount of conversations about both customer experience (CX) as well as diversity in the workplace, and. I love it! I believe that the next generation, including my own daughter, will have more opportunities to share their voice, without judgments, and pursue jobs that they may not have in the past.
I’m writing this article for two reasons:
There’s a common phrase, “Happy Employees Bring Happy Customers.” It is so true! When people feel valued and enjoy their workplace, they are more likely to be engaged and committed to delighting customers and maximizing their satisfaction and loyalty.
So, how does a company apply this principle to achieve business growth? The following are 5 effective ways that apply to all industries:
Create a Customer-Centric Organization
A centralized customer experience organization is able to monitor the quality of the experiences they deliver.
This kind of organizational setup enables teams to take action on Voice of Customer (VOC) feedback, including structured data (i.e. surveys) and unstructured sources (i.e. social media.). It helps ensure there are clear actions and ownership in the company, plus a champion of customer-first culture at the top.
Empower Employee Engagement
Employee engagement is essential to deliver exceptional customer experiences. Collecting customer feedback is great. However, this is a wasted effort if employees don’t execute on improvement plans.
Employees have a direct impact on customer experiences. In an environment with low employee engagement, success metrics like NPS scores inevitably decline. If you think about the most successful brands, they trust their employees and routinely measure their level of job happiness.
Again, if you want to delight customers, make sure employee satisfaction is included in the overall strategy.
Train Employees on CX
Every level of the organization must be educated about the importance of customer experience and how they can make a difference! This includes front line employees, managers, and executives.
Furthermore, every employee must be held accountable for delivering customer excellence. To promote accountability, I highly recommend including CX metrics in everyone’s annual objectives. Include the ability to get bonuses when employees achieve goals, similar to other key performance indicators (KPIs). I have tested this theory throughout my career and can unequivocally say that, when CX is a shared goal among all employees (not just a few) business results are significantly better.
Emphasize the importance of humanizing customer experiences throughout your organization. This starts with meeting customer needs without over-complicating processes.
Often, small things mean the most. For instance, using simple “please” and “thank you” statements help make customers feel like they matter. It is actually the secret to Chick-fil-A’s success. Also, “eye contact and smiling go a long way in the drive-thru experience.”
When customers feel appreciated, they are more satisfied. And they are more likely to recommend brands to others. The concept is obvious. Yet, it’s surprising how often employees forget the human element when they interact with customers.
Leverage Technology The Right Way
Many companies use tools and platforms to fully understand what customers are saying across channels and touchpoints. However, they don’t always incorporate the Voice of Employee (VOE), which is a key element in building a successful customer-centric program.
Employees need to know their opinions count. When that happens, they become better performers who are more motivated to serve customers, fix their issues (“Close The Loop”), and do the right thing even when their boss isn’t looking.
If you want to drive accountability and a CX culture, focus first on employees. Then look at technology. Not the other way around.
WANT TO INCREASE YOUR CX SKILLS & TRANSFORM YOUR ORGANIZATION?
- Sign Up for my newsletter. You’ll get instant access to my free whitepaper. about how to go from a CX novice to a CX expert.
- Contact Stacy for support and mentorship.
*All opinions expressed are Stacy views and do not reflect the opinions of or imply the endorsement of employers or other organizations.
How many times have you gone to a restaurant that does not take reservations and felt frustrated about the wait time? If you’re like me, it is too many to count.
While many companies tend to focus on customer experiences at the point people are actually using products and receiving services, brand perception and customer judgments occur much earlier in the customer journey. People don’t care if there are internal company process challenges. If expectations are not met, customers will go elsewhere.
Editor’s Note: Below is a guest post from Customer Experience Design professional Jose Mateo. Jose shares his thoughts in the power of design thinking and the importance of creating customer-centric experiences.
For some time, applying Design Thinking as an approach to human-centered design, and examining how it amplifies (or benefits from) other frameworks, has been my obsession.
The Design Thinking Toolkit
The Design Thinking Toolkit offers a framework and a common language for design efforts. This framework is driven by a mindset that puts the customer at the center of the design effort. Applying the design thinking mindset has helped me improve, re-design, or completely re-imagine physical spaces, sites, and seamless omni-channel Customer Journeys.
Design that Doesn’t Delight
When it comes to experience design efforts, I have had successes. However, the reality is Customer Experience design efforts often flounder. In fact, I have even led and participated in efforts that had no impact.
Despite hard work, and the fact that these efforts had real potential to delight the customer, they died a slow death. Or worse, they became zombies: pet projects that burn resources and do not tangibly impact Customer Experience.
Why Do Experience Design Efforts Fail?
We know that great Customer Experiences are necessary to win with Customers and against top competitors. So, why do so many efforts fail, even though they have the potential to create better Customer Experiences? Some cite that up to 70% of Experience Design efforts do not materialize into improvements that actually touch customers.
There is a simple reason these efforts do not succeed. They do not succeed because they are not framed, funded, completed or re-purposed in the context of a clearly articulated Business Strategy.
how Customer Experience Design efforts benefit from a Business Strategy
A well articulated Business Strategy has a Measurement System that includes Financial Metrics. These can re-confirm, amplify, or complement NPS (Net Promoter Score), CSAT (Customer Satisfaction), and other metrics that can justify Customer Experience Design efforts.
Cross Functional Alignment
Typically, the exercise to formulate a Business Strategy is sponsored by a Leader at the very top. Often, that is the CEO or the P/L owner. This effort includes participation and explicit buy-in from top functional Leaders.
That explicit buy-in is a solid base from which to acquire active cross-functional engagement. This engagement is necessary to deliver customer-centric experiences.
60% of Consultancy Services and Experience Design Professionals cite differing functional priorities as the leading cause of failures for Experience Design Efforts.
Executive Governance and Support
Connect with Jose Mateo
More from DoingCXRight
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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.
Does Customer Experience matter more for B2C companies (business to consumer) or B2B (business to business)? The answer is they both matter equally. The reason is because people buy from people. Continue Reading →
My obsession for Customer Experience (CX) started when I received a package in the mail on a random afternoon. I was not anticipating the delivery of a large box with a label that said, “To Stacy, From Stacy.” Continue reading “HOW 1 EXPERIENCE STARTED MY CX PASSION”