Craig McVoyCraig McVoyMarch 15, 2016
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22min2072

I love the movies!

Don’t get me wrong I love to read a book too, or listen to one. But there is just something about the movies that can really make an emotional impact on you in a very short period of time.

Especially a great movie.

They have the ability to affect us in many ways. They make us laugh & they make us cry. They can have you making involuntary body movements as you are on the edge of your seat! They fill us with happiness, whilst at the same time give us gratitude for what we have in life.

You clearly spend too much time watching movies I bet you’re thinking! Well, I spent the last few weeks catching up on some movies I promised myself I would watch when I had the time.

I didn’t have the time, I just ended up going to bed later!

But the movies can also teach us so much about experience. About employee experience, customer experience or brand experience. And as we have already spoken about, they do this in many different ways.

So let me share with you the films I watched recently which I think sum up ‘The Value Experience’ really well. They are all true stories too, so these examples really happened.

Spoiler alert!

Purpose – Invictus

When Morgan Freeman stars in a movie, it’s generally good. But when he is playing the inspirational leader Nelson Mandela then you know it’s going to be epic. The movie picks up when Mandela is released from prison and elected into power, with South Africa in pretty bad shape after the Apartheid. The country is racially and economically divided, with high tension in many areas. Mandela brings the country back together, with the shared purpose of winning the 1995 Rugby World Cup. He sets about working with the South Africa Rugby Team Captain (Matt Damon) to help him bridge the divides that exist in the country, through the universal language of sport. The film follows the memorable journey of a team in disarray, all the way to victory in the final against the giant All Blacks and Jonah Lomu. (Sorry if that just spoilt it for you!)

But what does it teach us about Purpose? Well, when an audience of people with a common purpose come together they can achieve many things. The importance of a clear purpose being displayed to the audience (In this case 42 million South Africans) and great leadership present a vision and common goal which people can resonate with & share together. A collective ‘Why’ can be very powerful in bringing together a tribe and as shown in this case, achieve great things.

Audience – Steve Jobs

The topic of Steve Jobs and Apple could ripple through this whole article. The film only captures a very short period of his life, when Apple launched the first Macintosh, through to when he re-joined Apple and launched the iMac. Having read Walter Isaacson’s fantastic biography I was a little disappointed by the film. But nonetheless, if you follow the whole story of Steve Jobs then you cannot deny the man was a genius. (His documentary ‘One Last Thing’ is definitely worth a watch)

So what does his legacy teach us about audience? (By audience we mean customers, employees and non-customers aware of your brand.)

Well his leadership left something to be desired. But his ability to create an experience for his audience most definitely shows the power of emotion and engagement. Very few brands have a following like Apple and the launch events are unrivalled. Jobs was obsessed with creating beautiful products that are as carefully designed on the inside as they are on the outside. Creating products that would change our lives forever with a rare ability to see way beyond the needs of today’s consumer & what they find valuable. Anyone who has unwrapped a product from Apple can tell you that it is an ‘event’ to be savoured. And whilst other manufacturers deliver great products, there is something about the experience Apple deliver to its audiences that is unique, different & special.

As an extra bonus of how not to do it, watch StartUp.com!

How to build a $50m business and destroy it in 18 months with bad leadership, teamwork, design, implementation… the list goes on (Another true story too unfortunately!)

Approach – Moneyball

Moneyball is the true story of Oakland Athletics, a minor league baseball team in America. Based on Michael Lewis’ book, it follows the real life events of the 2002 season when GM Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) has a limited budget to chase success with. Knowing he cannot compete with the other teams on the same terms, Beane chooses a different approach to the season. He uses sabermetrics (What? I know this isn’t Star Wars!) to determine the statistical probability of success. By using an ‘On base percentage’ stat he can use unconventional players, which cost a lot less in the market. Despite a shaky start and some challenges around the hearts & minds, the Athletics go on a record breaking 20 match unbeaten streak to take them to the play offs!

The lesson? As we all know the way you achieve a goal can be reached in many different ways. We can’t all play on the same terms, as budgets and resources are not shared out equally. So the SME’s and Start Up’s have to compete on a different playground. They have to differentiate and follow a different approach if they are to be successful. In order to be successful in an established market you have to operate differently from the leaders of the pack. If you are creating a whole new product or service concept, then fine. But unless you are fixing a problem never previously tackled before, then you will need to differentiate to cause people to switch to your offer. This has been seen most recently by AirBnB disrupting the Hospitality industry and Uber affecting the Transport industry. Disrupters are popping up all the time. If you can make it easier, cheaper, less hassle or more efficient for someone, then you will disrupt the normal approach and create switchers. Which gives you competitive advantage!

Channels – The Social Network

The story of Facebook! How Mark Zuckerberg and his Harvard college roommates set up the social media giant that is now part of pretty much everyone’s lives! The story covers lots of ebb’s and flows of how Zuckerberg played with the early concept, whilst using some of the ideas of other students to get the channel off the ground. Initially meant for just Harvard, it quickly spiralled into other colleges then countries into the huge community it is today. Several law suits and evolutions followed, but essentially none of the parties involved did badly out of it. Its IPO in 2012 led to some of the young entrepreneurs involved in founding the early years becoming rich beyond their wildest dreams!

What does it teach us about the use of channels? Well, Facebook wasn’t the first social community online. But what it did introduce was a new channel that was easy to use, well thought out and evolved with its audience to allow it to remain strong where others fell away. (Remember Friend’s Reunited?)

Digital has been most businesses focus in recent years and with good reason. According to a recent study by Activate, Americans now spend more time each day on digital media and technology than they do at work or sleeping! McKinsey also stated in a report that nearly ¾ of all luxury goods purchases, even if they take place in physical stores, are now influenced by what consumers see and do online. The same experts at McKinsey believe in the long term 99% of purchases, whether online or taking place in the real world, will be influenced by digital in one way or another.You simply have to operate your business in the channels that consumers are using if you are to maximise your value, reduce their effort and stay in the game. Facebook may be today’s choice of social media, but in 5 years’ time who knows what channels will be strong once Virtual Reality kicks in!

Offer – Joy

One of the most inspiring movies to be released this year, Joy follows the real life story of Joy Mangano. Joy put her dreams on hold to look after her family and busy household after early years thinking of creating inventions. When she cuts her finger cleaning up a broken wine glass, she goes home and starts to create designs & prototypes for a self wringing mop. Watch as she enters a world of manufacturing product & patenting products for the first time before she gets a big break advertising the mop on QVC shopping channel. When the infomercial fails because of the approach of the presenter, Joy storms into QVC demanding she represents it herself in a new infomercial. After much convincing she gets her break and sells over 20,000 products in her first attempt by explaining and showing how it can be used as the audience would use it. There are many twists & turns in the journey, but I’ll let you experience those without me spoiling it! Needless to say The Miracle Mop was a huge success and Joy went on to invent over 100 more patented products, earning her over $10m worth of annual sales and a personal fortune of over $30m!

There are so many lessons from this movie, covering approach, audience and evolution easily, as well as the category of offer I have put it in. Put simply though, if you are first to market offering a product or service which makes peoples lives easier, you will generally be onto a winner! Combine this tailored approach to your audience with a channelled message and you can lead a market. Why do people who invent things not necessarily lead the market? (There were 20 search engines launched & 5 years before Google went live!) Well, those companies don’t get these key elements covered off before someone else enters the market and steals the march. Don’t let it be you! Make sure your offer is distinctly different, hits with emotion and makes life easier. Then get busy marketing the hell out of it!

Advantage – The Big Short

Another film based on a book by Michael Lewis, this time covering the events of the financial crisis, when greed led to the recession in 2007. The film follows the story of Michael Burry, who when looking through some data, uncovers an unusual trend which predicts the housing bubble bursting. A few others become aware of Burry’s activities and look into the details, only to come to the same conclusions. The banks and regulators though fiercely reject the facts surrounding the poor loans and CDO’s which have been incorrectly given AAA ratings. Not only do these traders predict the events that inevitably followed, but they bet that it will happen! Betting against the stable housing market which has always been rock solid. The banks fall over themselves to take their money into funds. People think they are mad, but as we know in fact the opposite is true! The crash happens, these guys get rich, with returns of 489% from funds invested & the financial world goes into crisis!

So apart from showing us these lucky guys are now smug & rich, what does it teach us? Well this section, advantage, is all about understanding your data by turning it into insights & value. Data is pointless if it doesn’t tell you anything, or you do nothing with it. Burry was clever enough to spot the trend and bold enough to back himself on it. Data is everywhere these days. Big data, small data, personalised data, we know more about our clients & customers than ever before. However, if you just collect data there is so much of it you will never see the value. The clever guys are able to choose what to measure so they create insight. They are also bold enough to use that knowledge to go in a different direction to the crowd. Make sure you have a clear advantage strategy to your business. Be aware of all the data you are collecting and make time to understand it. Choose the elements that are crucial to your success and analyse it to death, until you spot the trends that can make the difference. Then be bold. Be bold enough to put your money where your mouth is and back the horse! If you do what all the others are doing, you’ll get the same result. Unless they spot the trend before you do!

Evolution – Dogtown & Z-Boys

My last film isn’t a Hollywood blockbuster. It is though an award winning film documentary released in 2001 which explores the pioneering of the Zephyr Skateboarding Team of the 1970’s! Now why has he chosen a film like this you might be asking yourself, when Star Wars & James Bond haven’t even got a place? The reality is that any of the films mentioned here could fit into this category. They have all evolved and innovated from the norm. But this film shows a whole new phenomenon unfolding.One which creates an industry revolution! Skateboarding wasn’t cool back then. It had already risen and fallen once, declared a children’s pastime. These guys weren’t even skateboarders, they were surfers. But surfers who wanted to innovate boards and find the best way to hit the waves. Finding that they had a small window to surf in, they began to make smaller boards & bolted on wheels from roller-skates to practice their techniques on land. The introduction of the polyurethane wheels in 1975 changed the ballpark. They could now carve moves just like on the surf with wheels that stuck to the surface better than the plastic predecessors. Their style is unique at competitions and their bad boy reputation gains them a cult following. When the drought in California causes empty swimming pools in the gardens of homes, the z-boys start skating them. Evolving moves & styles which cause the start of a whole new trend, creating a $5 billion industry from nothing! Now that is evolution!

So the final part of ‘The Value Experience’ is evolution. Great companies evolve. They have creative DNA flowing right through them. They dedicate time, money & resources to long term innovation that is separate from the current budgets. They strive to understand more and when they do, they put it to good use. They lead the way instead of following others. And they are the ones who have raving fans and loyal tribes! They survive in the long run and those that don’t fall away. How much does your company fit this mould? Sure you may be successful today, but are you geared up for the next big thing? Or are you the ones introducing the next big thing?

So the movies then are far more than just an amazing source of entertainment. They teach us lessons about business, relationships & success. Like a good book they give us key messages to take away and use. But what about you? Do you have movies which have taught you valuable business lessons? Which ones would you have included under these headings?

Send them across and let’s share them. Let’s see what a trip to the movies is teaching the CX community.

Until next time, love your audiences!

Interesting links:


Craig McVoyCraig McVoyFebruary 1, 2016
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14min2542

February is the month of love! Valentine’s day comes just 2 weeks into the month. Men all around the country set reminders to make sure they don’t forget this special day. That, or they call in at the services on the way home from their commute! What makes them remember whilst balancing the demands of fast living? The frightening thought of forgetting it I guess overrides your current thoughts of being already half way through Q1! There is something about remembering those we love though. They are front of mind, fondly thought of and make you smile.

Now I can understand the love of your life making you feel this way, but your toothpaste brand? What is it about some brands though that make us love them so much?

With all the love and emotion around in February, it seems only right to focus this month’s blog on how some brands manage to achieve those same feelings. Those rare companies that reach that divine status as a brand that people love! Its not just their customers either. These companies are equally loved by their employees! They seem to have that special something that just makes everyone love interacting and being around them. So what sets them apart from the other brands we could choose?

At Consort we help companies to become ‘Love Brands’ by shaping their experience using our simple 7 step process. So let me give you a quick insight into those 7 steps to becoming a brand one just couldn’t live without!

  1. Purpose

    Brands that are loved have a very clear purpose that resonates with its audience both internally and externally. Their vision and values are clear in their communications, which deliver the company personality to everyone they touch. They are sincere and genuine, delivering consistently against their purpose to build emotional connection. Distinctly different from others in their industry they stand for something that connects to their target audience and creates a relationship rather than just a transaction.

  2. Audience

    ‘Love Brands’ don’t just connect with customers; they also inspire their employees and leave a positive brand impression in the community. When they touch each of these audiences with their magic dust, it consistently lives up to its purpose. Even brands that we don’t use can have this affect. For instance, take Aston Martin. It has that aspirational quality and style without the pretentiousness of some of its competitors, which makes it loved by a wider audience, not just its owners. But it doesn’t have to be expensive to feel like that. ‘Love Brands’ deliver their special personality in its culture, engaging people with a strong bond and building trust, making you feel like partners. It feels personal, bespoke and made to fit. Tailored in its approach to appeal to each generation, it fits into your life perfectly. It’s a brand you are happy to let into your life and proud to recommend. Note the use of the words ‘feels, happy and proud’. The brand emotionally connects with the audience and when you feel strongly about the brand, you build advocacy, loyalty and forgiveness.

  3. Approach

    The strategies of the company aredesigned specifically with their approach to their audiences. They are aligned to the purpose & distinctly different to their competitors. They are a breath of fresh air. Fresh thinking & receptive to 360° feedback. They integrate both their employees and their customers in their future development, listening more than they talk! Their communication transparently delivers their messages with the feel of their purpose, values and vision a constant theme. 2-way communication though, they invite their audiences to co-create with them. They care about their audiences and take time to map out journeys for each of them, using their feedback to improve the experience. Ensuring that the experience is one that differentiates them, one that isn’t easily copied. They have inspirational leaders and specific recruitment processes that only allow people into their organisation that are matched to them. Whilst it is impossible to be liked by all, they have few detractors and most people are either neutral or positive in their reaction to the brand.

  4. Channels

    By adopting an approach that appeals to all audiences, ‘Love Brands’ ensure that they offer a consistently positive experience whatever channel you choose to use. They effectively blend the use of traditional channels with the digital revolution. The experience is positive and feels ‘easy & enjoyable’ when you need to use it. Tailored for the channel of use, each journey is mapped to provide highs and neutral zones, picking specific areas of customer priority to over index. They place equal importance on making it easy for employees to use the channels effectively. Ensuring the latest channels and devices are able to be serviced with ease. They place high importance on the view of the customer and having an integrated picture of the customer interaction history. They not only collect big data but use it to drive their commercial advantage, but more on that later!
  5. Offer

    Products and Services are pretty similar now across most industries. They may even be the same in brands that you love to those you don’t. So what makes the offer any different then? Well it comes down to emotion again. How does it feel to buy those products? What is the experience like when you part with your cash, is it transactional or do you not even think about that? Do you know that 86% of people are prepared to pay more for the experience if it is a good one? 15% are prepared to pay double! Why do you think business class air travel sells? People are not interested in cost; they are interested in value! The difference is significant. When people feel they have got good value for money, the price is irrelevant. You were prepared to pay the price, providing the offer matches your expectation for the cost. (That is assuming you can afford the cost, which is a different argument!) ‘Love Brands’ know this. They gear their experiences up to match what you think you are getting, delivering consistently against those standards. This is even the case with their employee offer. Ensuring that they are treated fairly and rewarded well, recognising their effort for their part in the mission. So the offer is something that might look similar on a stat sheet, but in reality will feel very different in the experience of buying, using and interacting with that brand. Nobody does this better than Apple!
  6. Advantage

    Commercial advantage has shifted! It used to be on the product or service you offered. The price that you would pay for it or the availability of purchasing. But now that is all very similar a new competitive advantage has arrived. The effective use of insights is what differentiates advantage now. Not just collecting data, but knowing how to use that data and turn it into insight. Big Data was a flash word around 2 years ago, but now it has become bigger data! There is so much data available now that by the time you had worked through it all you would probably be out of business! ‘Love Brands’ know how to collect that data and then model it appropriately, knowing which parts to use. The value conversion comes from taking the analytics and turning it into meaningful insights, that enable you to create a differentiated experience for your customers. A personalised experience. One that is not generic, but specific for the insights relevant to that individual. One that flexes and learns behaviour and sentiment in its proposition, to deliver the best possible outcome for the audience. Sounds complicated, but it isn’t. Technology has caught up with the desires of todays customer, just not everyone has invested in them! You can be sure though that the brands who fall into this small utopian class are using insights to their advantage though!

  7. Evolution

    The final step in companies that lead the way is that they keep evolving. Evolving all parts of this discussion, with the exception of their purpose. Their purpose remains in tact as the company moves forward, the heartbeat of the businesses ‘Why’. Yet every other area evolves to stay ahead of the competition. They have creative DNA in their veins! Encouraging evolution rather than revolution. They invest in the future, looking at ways to understand more and then reacting to that knowledge. Pioneers in their industry, new technologies arrive and replace old. More choice, higher standards, making life easier with every step. Those that lead the way ensure they push the boundaries, not follow the crowd. Thinking about the next generation, ensuring they don’t become the next Nokia! In business you are either moving forward or moving backwards! ‘Love Brands’ move forwards!

Whilst we have only touched on what makes up a ‘Love Brand’ in this article. We delve into much greater detail around these concepts when we help brands move towards this goal. If you’d like to hear more about how we can help you, or want to take our new experience map to see where your company sits today, click here to leave your details and we will be in touch to help you get on the journey.

So don’t forget your Valentines gift in two week’s time, otherwise it could be your personal brand that ends up no longer being loved! Take this article as your friendly reminder, get organised now and win extra brownie points for making the experience special!

At Consort we think differently! We believe businesses can deliver brand value by improving the experience.

With our easy to follow 7-step process we can help you build the experience that can maximise your brand impact. Whether it is choosing the right technology or helping you develop your strategic plans, we can create an effective transformation programme that focuses on the areas you want to improve. With over 20 years’ experience working with the worlds most customer centric organisations, Consort understands how to help you deliver commercial success, build innovative business strategies & create effective operational teams.

Contact us today for a confidential discussion on how we can help you with your experience transformation on 0333 2221422 or email us at info@consortexecutivesolutions.com

Interesting links


Craig McVoyCraig McVoyDecember 30, 2015
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20min2685

It’s that time of year when we all set our goals and resolutions for the coming year. After over indulging in the Christmas period and sharing happiness with your loved ones, that first week back at work comes around quicker than you think! Will you stick to your healthy eating plan and actually visit that gym you joined more than once for your annual membership fee? Can your will power last longer than January, or will your best intentions start to fade away as the year progresses? We cant do your push up’s for you as the great Jim Rohn once said, but we can give you a steer as to where you should focus your goals in 2016 for your experience programme. So following our simple 7 step process that we use with our clients, we have listed the most important game changers that you need to ensure are part of your experience strategy for 2016.

Align your Purpose to your Strategies

Purpose is something that has really started to gain momentum this year as I explained in my blog article ‘Your Brand is really your Experience’. Understanding your ‘Why’ is something that has been building since the concept came to the forefront of the business community in Simon Sinek’s 2009 TED talk and subsequent book ‘Start with Why’. Customers and employees now have higher expectations than ever before. In 2016 both employees and customers will have a larger selection of companies they could choose. Who they choose to build long-term relationships with, will be dependent on how well they can relate to you. Not just with your product or service, but with the values and purpose that you stand for. The emergence of the millennial generation is influencing a change in behavioural values, as more enter the markets as consumers and employees. Companies are searching for loyalty and advocacy as their number one priority, so to achieve that they need to align their experience with the priorities of customers and employees. To put that into value terms, repeat customers spend up to 67% more than new customers so getting people to love your brand isn’t just soft and fluffy, it’s commercial! You won’t achieve that from the products or services you offer, you get that because of the way you make someone feel! Your purpose therefore has to be unique, personal and consistently aligned to the people who choose you. The most successful companies in 2016 will be the ones that focus their communication and engagement strategies with this purpose at its core. Truly great companies inspire!

Personalisation of Service

We already know that personalisation of service, results in a higher value proposition for a customer. The companies that are already offering this type of experience are reporting a 14% increase insales value! It is often thought that customers don’t want companies to have their details. What feedback is actually telling us though is that 44% of customers would actively sign up for more marketing from companies who understand them and then put that knowledge to good use when contacting them. If you bombard your customers or prospects with a one size fits all CRM process, is it any wonder that you will frustrate them? However, use it to make customers lives easier and they will not see it as an intrusion, but instead as a service which benefits them and puts their best interests at the heart of your company. This used to be the advantage of the small local business, knowing their customers better than the large corporate alternative. But offering that personalised service at scale is no longer a pipe dream. Using technology that is better integrated alongside the big data sources that are now available, means the experience can feel personal at every touchpoint. Of course the systems need to be set up and used in the right way. But choose your partners well and this experience can provide you with the small business advantage in the big corporate marketplace! Combine this with the knowledge we have that 86% of customers are willing to pay more for a great experience and becomes easy to see why delivering a personalised service will play to the commercial advantage of those who invest in it in 2016!

Employee Journey Maps

Customer Journey Mapping has been around for some time now and is a regular task that many businesses have embarked. However what is often missed is doing the same for the employee experience. In the same way that we map out the customer experience so we can understand the things we can improve to customer journey, employee journey mapping is just as important if you want to keep the employee engagement high in your business. We know that loyalty and advocacy is the destination point for our customer strategy. So we create experiences that are special to make customers happy and give us long-term value. The same though is true if you want to keep loyal employees that are brand advocates, you have to keep them happy, motivated and engaged in the business. We can achieve this by mapping the employee journey to look at all areas of the experience and picking out areas where we can improve the experience. If you spend time and energy finding great people for your business that match your goals, purpose and culture, then you want to make sure you keep them once they are on board. If you are committed to putting the customer first then you will already be looking at the processes and experience you put the customer through. Put that same effort into the employee too and you will see significant benefits. You can only create great customer experiences through a highly engaged workforce. And as I explained in my blog post ‘Evolve or Die’ companies that provide great customer experiences have 2.5x the amount of engaged employees to those companies who don’t hit the mark. The top 3 reasons for failed customer experience programmes are:

  1. Failure to modify key processes as a part of the customer change programme (31%)
  2. Lack of employee engagement (30%)
  3. A lack of senior leaders support (29%)

So you can see how important getting the employee journey right is if you are to be successful. I think we will see more Employee Journey Mapping in 2016, as part of a more holistic mapping exercise. It is an investment in the people strategy that will pay dividends.

Omni-Channel Experience

The move from multi-channel to omni-channel was a big topic in 2015 and I think it will continue into 2016. Businesses are engaging more with the fact that customers want a consistently seamless experience despite what channel they choose to use at that time. If you offer multiple channels in your business then they should be connected so that you have one view of the customer and they don’t have to repeat themselves when moving from channel to channel. 86% of customers use different channels when connecting with the businesses they choose so making that experience easy, hassle free and consistent is really important. 2015 was about companies agreeing that this approach was necessary in their business. Most businesses in the service sector now agree it is a priority, but have struggled to find the right solutions to integrate with their current platforms. 2016 will see the investment in new tools and the technology infrastructure to make this vision possible. Investment and ROI are often seen as a big challenge to overcome, but equally the fear of being left behind competitors and challenger brands has got the C-suite accepting this is a requirement they must support. We know CX is predicted to be the key differentiator on brand choice by 2020 but I think that the timeframe is accelerating so companies who win in 2016 will be those early adopters of getting an effective omni-channel strategy.

Differentiated Proposition

The choice of where consumers buy their products and services from is growing fast. Most are similar in terms of features or benefits and we are also seeing price comparison being ultra competitive. Therefore to stand out in the marketplace you will need to be different if you are to survive! Customers are looking for solutions that make their lives easier, quicker to deliver and simpler to understand. So to offer anything at a premium you will need to make a difference in a way no one else does. 65% of todays leading brands didn’t even exist 10 years ago! The likes of Uber and AirBnB were just a pipe dream and brands like Nokia and Blockbuster video were leading the charge! Banking is a sector that will see dramatic changes in the way people choose their bank. We will see Atom Bank come alive in 2016 as the first digital only bank with Mark Mullen from First Direct and Anthony Thomson from Metro joining forces at the helm. I think they will be a huge success and will make a real dent in the financial service sector, so watch the impact of being different come alive in the coming months! If you are going to thrive and survive in today’s markets you are going need to have a differentiator. Something that breaks the mould of how business is done today. 2016 will see challenger brands disrupt existing markets and only those market-leading businesses that embrace change and evolution will stand the test of time.

Meaningful Insight from Big Data Sources

Customer feedback has been collected for a long time now and VoC programmes are nothing new. However as I explained in my blog post ‘Customer Experience, Isn’t that just another name for….’ what we have seen in 2015 is the rise of Big Data becoming Bigger Data! As a result more and more information is available to businesses about their customers, their behaviours and the way in which they interact with their brand. 2015 saw companies collecting so much information and data they didn’t know what to do with it! Measuring everything and everything, but understanding very little. Whatwe will see in 2016 is a much clearer focus on using that data to provide valuable insights that are used to innovate the experience. Companies need to take the time to drill down into the data and understand it more, before choosing to measure the metrics that really matter in their business.Those companies though that will get it right will use all the data sources that are available to them. Utilising social channels and comparison sites such as Trip Advisor or TrustPilot alongside their own direct methods of feedback. The other big differentiator will be those whomeasure behavioural patterns and emotional intelligence, alongside the traditional process and satisfaction measures. Companies such as Clarabridge are now providing solutions that measure sentiment in customer conversations, to help brands understand how customers feel when interacting with them. Pulling data from all channels then using it to understand the whole picture about what customers think of you. Big data is nothing without the wisdom to know how to use it. So create an insights programme that reduces the number of things that are measured, but increases focus on those areas that matter to see real benefits from your customer feedback. Those who come out on top in 2016 will be taking into account all sources of information, looking at customer sentiment alongside behavioural patterns to create a holistic view of their customer feedback.

Digital Transformation

Finally the topic of Digital will not disappear in 2016. Instead what we will see will be further evolution on what has been a very strong topic in 2015. During 2015 most companies were creating a digital transformation programme to help move their business into the digital age. This is a long journey though which will require internal and external processes to be refined and integrated into businesses seamlessly so that they are consistent alongside other channels. Digital cant be done separately from everything else as we have already talked about the importance of a great omni-channel experience. Digital needs to integrate across all aspects of the business, from the customer experience to the insights programme. The digital strategy needs to include social channels and chat rooms as well as direct routes into a company as we mentioned above.The evolution of roles that go with the digital requirements and their reporting lines need to work within the business structure. Digital creates new channels for our customers to use, but in the same way that we don’t have a Chief Telephony Officer, or a Chief Face to Face Officer, we need to ensure it isn’t kept separate as roles such as Chief Digital Officer make their way into businesses. What we need instead is for Digital to be integrated into the way we do business. What then will emerge in 2016 is a greater emphasis on the seamless handoff across devices and channels, as well as ensuring that the security is there for that to be possible. Especially important to those companies working in a regulated sector, but important to any businesses working in an omni-channel environment. More and more data is being collected now, which means the risk of that data making its way out of the organisation is a key consideration for businesses today. Trust is a big requirement from the customers so keeping their data secure is a priority to retain credibility in the marketplace. So, Digital will not disappear from the focus in 2016, but instead will evolve into a tighter solution that offers a consistent approach to a seamless customer experience.

Bring the New Year in with a bang!

There are lots of exciting initiatives to get your teeth stuck into this year and the pace of change being applied in 2015 shows no sign of slowing down. The evolution of CX keeps improving and no matter where you are on your journey this isn’t somewhere that has a final destination. So pull together your strategy in January and get busy applying it at pace. The years go so fast that before you know it we will be in 2020 and we know what is predicted to affect business the most by then! Don’t get left behind and end up as the next Nokia!

At Consort we think differently! We believe businesses can deliver brand value by improving the experience.

With our easy to follow 7-step process we can help you build the experience that can maximise your brand impact. Whether it is choosing the right technology or helping you develop your strategic plans, we can create an effective transformation programme that focuses on the areas you want to improve. With over 20 years’ experience working with the worlds most customer centric organisations, Consort understands how to help you deliver commercial success, build innovative business strategies & create effective operational teams.

Contact us today for a confidential discussion on how we can help you with your experience transformation on 0333 2221422 or email us at info@consortexecutivesolutions.com

Interesting links:


Craig McVoyCraig McVoyDecember 1, 2015
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15min848

Brand is everything, isn’t it? That is the message I’ve heard many times over the course of my career, usually associated with an advertising campaign, a rebranding exercise or some product placement into the market. The meaning of brand seems to be evolving, taking on a new meaning in the marketplace.

Now more than ever it seems that the old statement could be true, but for reasons very different to how it used to be expressed! So what does a brand mean when it is seen in advertising, spoken about with your friends, or seen on social media? Is it product, placement or any of the other p’s considered marketing 101 by experts on your MBA course? Or is it that shiny new logo & brochure that has been added to your new website design that you created? No, your brand is much more valuable than that! Your brand isyour company’s personality that is being shown in every product, service and experience that you create and it is judged by everyone it touches, from your customers, to your employees, through to your partners and stakeholders you associate with. More important than the shiny new marketing campaign, there is one factor more powerful than any TV ad or advertising article could deliver, the experience that you deliver to your customers and employees affects advocacy more than any other factor!

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it”

is the famous underlying point from Simon Sinek’s TED talk and book ‘Start with Why’. Simon explains that people buy into a purpose beyond just a product or a price as a consumer and beyond just a job for an employee. Truly great companies inspire! They do this by connecting with people as to why they exist and why you should want to associate with them, because they believe what you believe. People want to connect with a company that stands for the same values that they do and delivers these consistently whenever they use the product or service, or interact with their people.

Employee Experience

As I mentioned in my blog post ‘Evolve or Die’, the experience that a person has will be the key differentiator on brand value, above product and price by 2020 and this is already accelerating at pace as the beliefs and expectations of each generation change. 2020 is also the date when 70 million ‘Baby Boomers’ are due to retire, to be replaced by only 13 million millennialsin the workplace! The workplace therefore will become a competitive ground that places power firmly in the position of the best employees to decide where they want to work. The expectations of Gen Y, Z and Alpha are very different to those of the ‘Boomers’, with a very different attitude to work – This generation work to live, not live to work! And work needs to be on their terms also! Work for them has to have a purpose that they can align to, can follow, be part of and provide a match to their social beliefs and values for their own goals in life. If you hire this generation because you will just pay them money, then they will do a job for you for a period of time, if you can attract them at all. If you can attract this generation though with a positive ‘Why’ your brand exists, then you will gain employees that believe in what you stand for. Then they will give you blood, sweat and tears and many more hours of commitment than you pay them for. They buy in to the cause, the purpose, the mission!

With a good staff turnover being 100% every 10 years and some successful businesses even achieving that figure as their annual turnover, you will need to invest in your company culture so that your purpose lives in its DNA if you are to deliver customer and employee advocacy & loyalty. In order to maintain and deliver an amazing customer experience, companies have to provide a mechanism to delivering a consistent experience that is delivered by employees who live your brand at every touchpoint, every day! With the choice of whom they work for swinging in the favour of the employee, to recruit and retain the best employee’s who give the best experience to your customers, you will need to have employee experienceright at the top of your list. This approach to creating the culture of your company has to start from the top!

The CEO has to provide inspirational leadership that follows and delivers the brand experience across every decisionpoint and through every department in the business. She/he has walk the walk and talk the talk, supporting the message throughout the business, retaining consistency and authenticity as it makes its way through the management layers. Every experience that doesn’t deliver on the vision and purpose set by the CEO chips away some of that authenticity in the brand whether that be for a customer or an employee. Strong leadership is required to ensure that any behaviour that doesn’t fit the culture and values set by the organisation is openly tackled rather than ignored or swept under the carpet. As soon as the standards are dropped then the rot starts to set and the message to your customers and staff is that we don’t truly live our values, they are just corporate wallpaper.

‘Be Opening Day Ready’ is a fantastic reminder of the consistent level in which we must perform day in, day out in order for our brand association to be linked with that of the highest performing companies for experience. In Ted Matthews excellent book ‘Brand, it ain’t the logo’ he reminds us of a scenario that is all too familiar and we can all probably associate with. Those standards and expectations that we set ourselves on opening day of a new building, new product launch or new initiative are generally very high and very proud. But it is all too easy to let those standards slip over time, whether it starts with the papers left on the photocopier, or the canteen left in a mess, these things start the rot and if not contained, can be the start of a loss of direction in reinforcing a culture that the company is built on. Warren Buffett famously quoted “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it!” which is why the consistency of the employee experience is so key toward creating an amazing experience that is associated with your business. It is then the CEO who owns the brand, not the marketing department and only by them taking on the role of the ‘Chief Brand Officer’ will the endorsement be cemented in the organisation.

Brand Experience

Building a brand then is much more than just building a product suite and a logo to go with your company, it is about building a brand foundation that explains the ‘Why’ that your company exists. A foundation needs to live within your company and be felt by your employees. It also needs to show externally its clear purpose to customers and potential customers. People need to get it! Loyalty is the Holy Grail that companies are looking for, that experience that makes customers ‘sticky’ to their products or services, and where the long-term value of a customer is found. You don’t get that from a product or service, you get that because of the way you make someone feel!

consort gold whiteEmotion isn’t always explainable, but if you want a customer to remain with your company you need to be thinking about the ‘Why’ not just ‘What’ you deliver for them. It is the reason why people are prepared to wait 24hrs outside an Apple store for a new product when it is launched, why people remain loyal when a new product from a challenger brand comes to market, why they are prepared to put up with those little niggles that they have to work around to use a product. But when push comes to shove they need to feel emotionally connected to your brand. In the same way that you cannot easily explain why you love the person you end up spending your life with, you can’t always explain why you connect with a brand that you choose. You can guarantee though it will feel right in your gut and those ‘Love Brands’ are what all we aspire towards creating.

So is your brand worth talking about? Does it stand for something that resonates with people? Does it have a social cause that people connect with and is that authentic rather than just thrown into the hat because some smart team member thinks it should have one? Does your culture show in the employee experience what you stand for and is your purpose translated to the external market so your customers feel it too? It needs to be personal and it needs to be different and it needs to be consistent in the way that it is delivered to your people.

Whatever your USP that differentiates you from your competition, it needs to be clear and consistent in every touchpoint of your business. The consistency in which you execute the elements of your brand foundation needs to flow through every channel you use and in every message you send to your people. It is the reason that marketers are obsessed with something being ‘On Brand’ and why agencies exist to deliver what your purpose is through your communications strategy. Otherwise if something enters your world that doesn’t fit, it confuses your customers & staff as it conflicts with your messaging. It would be the equivalent of Pret A Manger throwing away sandwiches, or Volvo producing a car that didn’t meet the highest safety standards, it would conflict with their brand foundation. The consistency is key and every interaction will either strengthen or detract from your brand advocacy.

It’s quite a bit of effort!

Creating and protecting the brand experience is one of the most crucial tasks for companies to deliver and getting the buy in of staff and customers to your ‘Why’ will form a huge part of that. Stories sell the brand experience and whether it is people aspiring to work for you or customers being loyal to staying with you, the quality and consistency of those stories will be one of the most valuable things you can invest in!

The Brand Experience is therefore so much more than marketing or advertising. A brand will live or die with the actions of every employee so the employee experience and culture of the workplace is key for the leadership team to deliver. Your brand strategy then doesn’t need to focus on products or services as its key differentiator, only the experiences will deliver the customer and employee advocacy that will create greatness!

Interesting links:


Craig McVoyCraig McVoyOctober 30, 2015
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16min20430

It has to be the biggest question I have heard this summer! “Ah, so you work in Customer Experience, isn’t that just another name for…” and then the top trumps list unfolds!

So it seems that across all industry sectors, people are taking their most favoured association with what Customer Experience means and are then tagging it to mean that when it comes up in conversation in their organisations and networking groups. So I thought I would give you a run down of the top reasons I have encountered this summer when discussing this topic across focus groups & conferences, with customers and with networks of executives who have this on their agenda.

So, Customer Experience isn’t that just another name for:

Customer Service?

One of the most common misconceptions out there is that Customer Experience is just the new name for Customer Services, and in some companies that has been the case! Organisations have heard about the need for Customer Experience to be an area of focus in their business and have thought, “Well we have a Customer Services department already, let’s just rename them and give them a few more responsibilities” (Like finding out what CX really means, and also being accountable for it!) Without doubt Customer Service plays a big part in the Customer Experience, when a customer interacts with a representative, but that is only a part of the journey. Educating employees about the importance of the Customer and how to deal with scenarios with empowerment is certainly valuable, but it isn’t a like for like replacement. More to the point, you can’t make someone responsible for Customer Experience just by changing their job title and expecting it to be any different, you’ll still get what you always got, you’ve just re-badged it! The importance of good customer service should flow through both your sales teams and your aftersales teams to make sure that a customer interaction is a positive one. This will give you the best chance of a consistent experience and also to recover those situations where other parts of the CX have let down the brand.

Digital?

With the rise of digital being such a hot topic at the same time as CX, they inevitably get linked together quite often. There is quite a difference though between the digital experience and the customer experience. Often the UX (User Experience) and CX (Customer Experience) are thought to be the same thing, whereas in reality the UX is the experience of interacting with your product, whilst CX is the overall experience of dealing with your brand. Inevitably the CX generally contains within it the UX as more and more interactions are through the digital channels with the rise of mobile, self service, online etc. A customer can have a good experience with your UX whilst using your website, finding the appropriate webpage easily through an optimised SEO, being able to get information on products and complete tasks easily through a good web experience. At the same time their overall CX could be poor as they have struggled to get through to the call centre for extra help, been given bad service in the retail store, or experienced problems with their product once they have purchased it. So it isn’t enough to just consider the UX strategy and then be sure of offering a great customer experience. Its one of the key considerations you must make, but one of many!

Omni Channel Technology?

Another big technology topic that has been on the lips of many this year is the company strategy towards Omni-channel communications. Linked to the rise of Digital it is now uber important to ensure that you have an effective Omni-channel programme as part of your customer strategy. Previously the aim was to have a Multi-Channel communication strategy for your business, but with the rise in the digital channels it now means that it isn’t enough to have individual solutions for your social media, online and call centre channels. Today’s customer is using multiple channels when they interact with you, choosing to use whatever channel is convenient for them at the time they want to interact. This means that they could start with a web browsing approach on their smartphone, continue at their desk pc at work whilst interacting with the online web chat, before finally calling the call centre to ask a question that isn’t in the FAQ they are viewing on their tablet on the journey home and then arranging collection at the retail store after purchasing through the original channel for web discount! Now this may be the most extreme of examples but a version of it does happen more often in your business than you think.Over 86% of customers use more than one channel to interact with their company of choice so are you tracking and reacting to all this behaviour? Your customer expects you to be able to see that they have emailed in when they call, and what the content of the subject was. They don’t expect to have to repeat themselves when they contact the retail store about a chat session they had earlier today, they expect you to know about it! Customer personalisation is now a very important commercial strategy with outcomes of +14% increase in sales for those who adopt this approach. The best companies are linking together all their channels and their single view of the customer, which is the expected experience of the Millennial customer who knows no different (Remember, they don’t even know why you would need a CD, and Cloud has nothing to do with a silver lining!)

Big Data?

Big Data has been increasing in priority for many senior executives as the rise of the machines started to take place from the turn of the millennium. Although Big Data is becoming Bigger Data, and the amount of information about our customers is now far exceeding the capability and capacity of many companies R&D or Marketing teams. At a dinner recently one attendee went as far as to suggest that CX was purely about data, nothing else! His argument being that CX is just a commodity of using data to create insights and a competitive advantage for a company to make more money. Now in some respects he is absolutely correct about the commercial advantage of knowing your customer through the insights produced from big data. Inevitably the more we know what our customers like and dislike, want and desire, we can position our proposition more personalised to their requirements, and we know the value of that can be significant (See above paragraph). Although in the same way that UX is part of CX, so is the use of data. If data and insights is all that you base your proposition on you will only win those interactions that are data dependant, not those that require empathy or emotion. The use of data needs to become part of your toolkit or armoury when striving to deliver the ultimate customer experience. Your data and insights strategy will become a significant advantage to that of your competitor, but only if you use it in the right way to trigger ‘Moments of Truth’ that a customer will remember and value when interacting with your brand. Otherwise, as soon as someone else can do it better or more sincere, then they will be off and become new best friends with your competitor or challenger brands!

“Who owns the customer these days anyway?”

Marketing?

Is it Marketing or is it the Operation, or maybe even the IT team who handle the data? No, surely it belongs to the Strategy team or the Finance department who know how profitable a customer is? It is any wonder the question is quite confusing? Traditionally the customer has been the responsibility of Marketing with the goal of increasing customer spend, share of wallet and customer retention. We often see the Customer Experience ownership sitting in the Marketing team and this is a sensible place for it to be based if it is just to manage the above areas. However it is finally becoming more common for businesses to have a separate CX department completely to manage the customer, with roles such as the Chief Customer Officer being created at the top table in companies that are deadly serious about the customer being their number one focus. The amount of information needed to be known about the customer is growing exponentially as the rise of big data gets bigger, and the amount of analytic tools to understand the data become more accessible. The owner of the customer has the requirement to know what the customer journey looks like across all channels& touchpoints, the processes that are followed by the operational teams, how all of that interacts with the digital strategy and how personalisation preferences can be added to the marketing strategy in a targeted approach that is suitable for the channel it is applied to and the timing of the contact cycle! It is a wide remit and needs to cross the matrix of departments that make up a company, engaging IT, HR, Operations, Marketing, Complaints, Product teams along the way. The investment in teams that can handle all of this has been a long time coming, but as the understanding in the value of CX starts to become known, more and more companies are finally coming around to thinking it is a worthwhile investment.

Employee Engagement?

In order for your company culture to be one that puts the customer at the heart of the organisation, it requires much more than just a corporate statement to use as wallpaper. It must be genuine and sincere, resonating through the whole organisation from the recruiting of new staff, to the customer touchpoints and documentation. But perhaps more importantly the vision and goal of being truly customer centric must being championed by the leaders of the business and withstand the test of budget pressures and priority of focus. You will only deliver a great customer experience with a team of engaged employees that believe the business genuinely cares about its customers. And this starts by caring about its employees. The service profit chain is nothing new having been first discussed by a group of Harvard researchers in the 1990’s, but its concept is as true today as the it was when first discussed – Get great people recruited and give them a fantastic environment to work in. Treat them well, making sure they are rewarded fairly and they will become loyal employees that provide a great service to your customers. Great customer service generally delivers a much greater customer loyalty, resulting in better customer retention, more recommendations and higher share of customer spend whilst delivering lower operating costs from reduced customer queries and complaints. The end result is that everybody wins, but it all starts with the employee experience. So when looking at the customer experience it isn’t enough to consider just the customer journeys, you must also look at providing the best employee experience too as 30% of all failed CX programmes do so as a result of a lack of employee engagement!

So which answer is correct?

Actually, in order to deliver an amazing Customer Experience you need to ensure that your Transformation Programme contains all of these elements if it is to deliver the kind of results that make a commercial difference to the bottom line.

Your CX strategy should to include a ‘People’ category that includes workstreams on Employee Engagement, Recruitment & Onboarding, Stakeholder Management, Matrix Communications, Training & Development as well as a compelling vision that has ownership and bandwidth at the top table of the C-Suite. It should also include a ‘Technology’ category that looks at the Omni-channel, Digital & Data strategies alongside solutions integration within the business architecture, to make sure that a single view of the customer is formed with intelligent decisions from insights, whilst the customer can experience a joined up interaction whatever channel they choose to use. Finally you cannot forget to consider the ‘Process’ category with focus on Operational Excellence, Standardised Process Ownership, CRM and Customer Lifecycle, which ensures the consistency of approach to a customer in the operational interactions and marketing strategy.

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