Richard DaveyRichard DaveyJuly 18, 2019
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9min145

Customer service is a vital part of obtaining and retaining business.

In fact, 73 percent of buyers indicate that Customer Experience is an important factor in their purchasing decisions. To ensure they are servicing their customers in the best way possible, many brands are looking towards Customer Recovery Loops to prevent customer churn and improve CX.

As with any new initiative, it’s important to have a clear understanding of what success would look like before getting started. As a business, you want to have smart, realistic goals in place that give you something tangible to aim for and continually measure against, to ensure genuine progress is being made.

That said, in the world of CX, some indicators of success are easier to track than others. Measuring the effectiveness of your Customer Recovery Loop may seem tricky, so here are five ways to check if your Customer Recovery Loop is working for you.

1. Repeat customers

Far too often, brands have their data siloed, meaning that they’re not getting the full picture when analysing the success of their Recovery Loop. The technology now exists to enable companies to link their customer feedback with any existing data they hold, including key things like purchase history, to provide a single view of the customer.

If you can establish that your unhappy customers have continued to buy from your business after going through a recovery loop, that’s proof of its success – and a big win for your company! Companies need to ensure they’re using all the information at their disposal when checking if a strategy is working.

2. Reduced customer churn and complaints

It’s no secret that complaints can hit a business hard, particularly those that are escalated to regulatory bodies. It’s vitally important to take preventative measures as soon as possible to stop these problems from escalating further. By intervening and taking action promptly, brands can mitigate the cost of such penalties.

With that in mind, it’s best practice for companies to take note of their typical customer churn rates, complaint numbers and, if applicable, regulatory ratings. From there, it’s possible to set goals for improvements and give yourself targets to aim for. Half the battle with analysing the success of your Customer Recovery Loop is simply understanding the key metrics that represent success and tracking improvement against them. If you can track trends in the data that show customer churn or complaints are decreasing since your Recovery Loop was implemented, that’s a sure-fire sign it’s working.

3. Scoring higher

There are lots of different metrics that companies will use to judge success across different aspects of the business. Often, these will differ depending on the industry or business you’re working in, the people you’re reporting in to or even the stage of the customer journey you’re monitoring. Regardless of what your preferred metric is, what matters is to take note of the numbers when you first decide to deploy a Recovery Loop.

Ultimately, what’s important to everyone in the business is seeing those scores go up – whether they’re Customer Satisfaction or Net Promoter Score matters not; improved scores will positively impact the bottom line.

4. Reducing cost

One of the main considerations when justifying any business decision is cost – companies want to see a return on their investment. While it needn’t be expensive, a Recovery Loop is still an investment, and customer service teams will still want to see the financial benefits of their decision. Cost per contact and call handling times can be significantly reduced by capturing feedback in real-time, proactively keeping customers informed, and putting preventative measures in place for reoccurrence.

By empowering frontline staff with the right information and the tools they need to assist customers effectively, they can reduce the average handling time and cost of each call. Over time, this could lead to fewer calls and greater savings.

5. Better-engaged employees

The key to great customer service is that happy employees lead to happy customers and vice-versa. So much so, that McKinsey & Company has reported that companies that make a concerted effort to improve their CX also see employee engagement rates rise 20 percent on average. Frontline call centre staff will often be who a customer first engages with, so it’s important to get it right. First impressions are everything. If customers are coming to the brand with a problem, they need to be greeted with empathetic and knowledgeable staff to help them – but it’s up to the business to arm them with the tools they need!

At the beginning of your journey, capturing the voice of your employees as well as your customers in real-time can often add meaningful context to your customer feedback. For instance, if a customer complains that their payment was taken late, whilst your employee flags that the billing process is manual and time consuming, you have some context. This information can be used not just to improve the customer experience but to help out staff as well. Measuring employee satisfaction scores, staff retention, and productivity can help to see if the changes you’re making are having the desired impact. If not, you are then in a position to tweak accordingly.

In summary, checking whether or not your Customer Recovery Loop is working comes down to planning and metrics. You need to get a sense of the key metrics that measure the success of a Recovery Loop for your business. From there, you’ll have the base stats to compare and a benchmark to aim for, so that you can confidently say your Customer Recovery Loop is effective.


David BovisDavid BovisJuly 18, 2019
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12min139

The author of this article, David Bovis, is a judge at the 2019 UK Business Awards.

 

 

 

 

“We cannot reasonably expect that any one should readily and obsequiously quit his own opinion, and embrace ours with a blind resignation to an authority which the understanding of man acknowledges not. For, however it may often mistake, it can own no other guide but reason, not blindly submit to the will and dictates of another. If he you would bring over to your sentiments be one that examines before he assents, you must give him leave at his leisure to go over the account again, and, recalling what is out of his mind, examine the particulars, to see on which side the advantage lies; and if he will not think over arguments of weight enough to engage him anew in so much pains, it is but what we do often ourselves in the like case; and we should take it amiss if others should prescribe to us what points we should study: and if he be one who wishes to take opinions upon trust, how can we imagine that he should renounce those tenets that time and custom have settled in his mind that he thinks them self-evident, and of an unquestionable certainty…” 

John Locke (1632 – 1704)

“You cannot impose anything on anyone and expect them to be committed to it.”

Edgar Schein, Professor Emeritus, MIT Sloan School

“Those who have a ‘why’ to live can bear with almost any ‘how'” 

Viktor Frankl (1902-1997)

Isn’t it time to take this wisdom, apparent across centuries, and introduce leaders to the biology and psychology that can now deliver the facts to support such observations?

The paradox is this: the neuroscience and psychology at play, which interprets the presence of anything ‘new’ (e.g. language) as a threat (to status, ego, ID), cannot be understood and addressed by those unaware of the principles they themselves are subject to, via their own brains.

In other words, if you don’t understand the transition a human brain goes through in a change environment, you can’t hope to adequately plan, manage, or lead change effectively (i.e. address the barriers to change), in yourself or others.

The bottom line is that this significantly impacts the bottom line.

Change initiatives go over budget, over time, deliver less than expected, and fail to develop internal teams. Knowledge transfer is superficial, based in logic and tools. This doesn’t provide the catalyst for a shift in a leaders beliefs. We look at only a part of a system (process/technology) and fail to re-define ‘good’ when considering a broader system (people/process/technology).

In practice, we see leaders express an interest in knowing more about effective and efficient organisational change, but the pre-conditioned expectation within the market, is that ‘change’ is something done by consultants and teaching tools.

When it’s suggested there might be more to it, which requires a higher level of engagement and understanding, the coping strategy in an already busy, intellectually challenging, politically charged, full-time role – that also challenges the work-life balance of the leader – is denial/avoidance.

The problem with this is that a leader’s brain (despite multiple claims to the contrary) is still an adult-mammalian brain and it doesn’t adapt (form new wiring patterns…i.e. learn) by letting other brains have an experience. It ‘learns/adapts’ in response to it’s own sensory stimulus.

I truly believe it’s time we raise the bar and introduce language into the mainstream which allows us to have informed conversations about ‘change’, where people are recognised as the primary and major part of the ‘complex system of complex systems’.

We can put this subject under any banner – OCM, HR, Leadership, Systems Thinking, or Lean – but the label is less important than the change of action urgently required – globally!

So, how do we break through the psychological barriers that stop leaders assimilating knowledge from current experience to use as justification against the need to know more?

It’s a bit like diagnosing a fault in a car. When the basic mechanics and relationships between the various parts is understood, the driver’s approach toward the driving and maintenance of the vehicle is more likely to change than it is in the case of a driver who cannot comprehend cause and effect throughout the system (including their own attitude and behaviour).

The driver might notice certain quirks of the car – i.e. it won’t start when cold – but if they knew about the viscosity of oil and the drop in capacitance in a battery in lower temperatures, they wouldn’t have to talk in loose terms about the issues, and they could be much more effective in addressing problems.

It’s like that with people – if we can talk about dopamine and the triggers related to its presence (tangible, evidence-based science), we don’t have to talk about ‘motivation’ and ‘engagement’ as if those words in and of themselves are enough to inform corrective action.

So, let’s unpack the car analogy a little.

If a person drives fast and erratically, it might be for any number of reasons. They might be a young man aiming to impress and attract a mate (peacocking), or, the driver might be insecure in themselves and therefore lacking confidence behind the wheel, leading to an inner narrative that reinforces their inadequacy, which manifests in them trying to get the journey – any journey – over as quickly as possible.

Driving whilst fearful/panicking, in response to a low self-concept, can lead to different parts of the brain engaging and reducing the energy available for the parts required to drive well, and diverting glucose energy away from the pre-frontal cortex and executive function, leading to a lower level of awareness and a failure to indicate at roundabouts or perform the mirror-signal manoeuvre.

This is because mirrors and other drivers don’t feature in the mind of someone acting from a position of insecurity/fear.

Now, if that person is one of your drivers (i.e. is in charge of company equipment that has to perform a task as part of a process, like a lathe operator in a factory or computer operator in an office) and your focus is on fuel efficiency, tyre-wear rates, and the amount of brake pads you get through each year (i.e. KPIs), do you address the design of the metaphorical wheels, tyres, engine or fuel?

Do you look at the route the vehicle has to follow? Do you provide the driver a new set of tools to analyse the route or change the tyres and brake pads faster?

Or do you understand the emotional predisposition of the human behind the wheel and what is causing them to respond/act the way they do, and if they will be able to adapt to the presence of the new tools or integrate the principles of those tools into their world view, such that they are able to apply them for a sufficient amount of time to allow their use to become natural?

The popular approach in the market for the last few decades has been focused on the application of Tools and Techniques, keeping Process and Procedure in focus, often in stark contrast to the realities and requirements surrounding the transition people are required to make in an environment in which they perceive change that is imposed upon them.

The populist logical approach just doesn’t address the need to shift an individual’s belief before you can expect a shift in action (behaviour), or the fact the imposition of anything ‘new’ is a primary fear trigger, often resulting in the dreaded ‘resistance to change’ at a cultural level (group think/herd behaviour).

Isn’t it time we stopped driving our companies and people as if they are cars and openly acknowledged the biggest change follows a change in the person behind the wheel?

With significant advances in neuroscience and psychology, it’s now possible to explain every aspect of Locke’s, Shein’s, and Frankel’s observations with science – to move the conversation away from generalisations that only a few come to understand, into hard and fast action for reasons that not only make sense, but translate into top line and bottom line benefit.

Let’s raise the bar and replace the assumption that we can understand things, but everyone else needs it dumbed down; we don’t need issues surrounding ‘transition’ dumbed down…we just need to include them in the conversation.

For too long we’ve been dealing with Process, Procedure, Policy, Strategy (Hoshin), Structure, and Systems as if they are detached from the people expected to adjust to their presence.

It’s always been about people and that means the starting point has to be Brain, Mind, Change, and Culture before we can do a better job of introducing strategic deployment models and tools and techniques.

Lets stop defending the past and move into the future with the language the present provides us.


Ben FettesBen FettesJuly 17, 2019
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10min332

Personalisation is now firmly engrained in every marketer’s vernacular.

From the simple ‘salutation’, right through to more complex behavioural tracking for subsequent ‘predictive offers’, but despite great inroads in data and technology capabilities that can drive relevant and personalised experiences, many brands are still falling short of reaching their true potential to connect with their customers.  

Here we take a look at five common personalisation mistakes brands make, and how we can shift our mindset to see personalisation as a ‘product’ in order to connect with customers in more meaningful ways – at scale. 

 1. The merry-go-round of ‘use case’ and ‘purpose’ 

One of the key challenges many companies face today is struggling to understand what personalisation really means to their company. This creates a merry-go-round of diving into the ‘use case’ and the ‘purpose’ and inevitably, the brand always ends up at the same point.  

It’s time we strip it all back. Forget about customisation and individualisation. Forget about the use case of personalisation and the ‘single customer view’. Instead, in this era of unprecedented change, we can start thinking about personalisation as a product.  

So what does “personalisation as a product” actually mean? It’s about taking an iterative approach to the delivery of various experiences to the market, via activating all channels with contextual relevancy. Getting it right means it enables you to scale, pivot, and deliver more meaningful experiences to your customer, while testing and learning faster than before. 

2. Focusing on the definition opposed to the capability 

The concept of personalisation is a lot more fun and glam as opposed to its hardcore capability. Coming up with concepts around ‘moments that matter’ is great, but it’s also expensive, time consuming and has absolutely no relation to the capability that you have. 

Feel free to define what it is to you – moments that matter, connected customer, audience first – and even drop the money on shiny new branding and design. But these steps should not be done at the expense of ignoring your current personalisation capability and the future capability you require. “But what if I don’t know what capability is needed?” Great question, that means you are….  

3. Creating a use case opposed to a product 

The biggest difference with seeing personalisation work is the mentality between seeing personalisation as a tactic and personalisation as a product. Feel stuck understanding which tactics define what personalisation is to your brand? Then unfortunately you’re going to go around in circles and struggle to expand it beyond that one tactic. 

Looking at it from a different lens, a product manager’s role is to connect the customer with the product, regardless of delivery or channel. Their sole focus is to scale an experience. So, if you put your focus on treating personalisation as a product, then you: 

a. Build the foundations for scale – regardless of the use case. 

b. Stop caring about the tactics, because your baseline product is already enabled the organisation. 

c. Enable the organisation to take a collective stance on owning the tactic. 

 4. Focusing on details as opposed to scale 

But what about if a customer signs up, deletes the cart, then logs in six times and then the session ends? 

Well, personalisation is about delivering contextual relevancy, not edge-case fringes of the experience. An experience should always be contextual to the recipient’s current actions, then heightened by the relevancy that the messaging exchange is providing. 

Think, “I want to bring my product, which is personalisation, to market, regardless of the channel. I then want to be able to iterate on my product in a cycle of optimisations.”

Now that’s called scale.  

5. Putting the channel before the customer 

In a customer-centric digital ecosystem, if you find yourself incessantly talking about channels, then you’re in the wrong conversation. Personalisation when treated as a product, with capability and scale in mind, reduces the conversation about channel to a conversation around the iteration or delivery.  

This is because channel is just a given. When everyone knows that it is possible to achieve regardless of channel. This shifts the conversation from “what about email and social” to “we have just delivered a next best product model to all the channels, and are testing with the site and email capability to then extend it to display and social – as we believe this will impact the customer the most”. 

It all starts with a mindset shift and taking the tactical measures to bring the focus back to personalisation as a product. Because it’s only then when we can start to really focus on organisational enablement, to deliver context to a customer with the right brand communications. At the same time, we’re using data and technology capabilities to drive scale – regardless of the tactical iteration on the baseline product.  

Where to start?  

 In summary, here’s a checklist of tips to help marketers start shifting towards a ‘personalisation as a product’ mindset: 

  • Integrate channels: ensure that an experience can be triggered from any entry point, e.g. If a customer start’s their journey from an email, start the experience there. If they come direct, then start the experience there. 
  • Don’t focus on purely defining what it means for your organisation: shift your focus to activating various personalisation products, as there is never one experience to rule them all. 
  • Focus on how that personalisation product will be delivered to the customer.  
  • Make sure that the use case can hit the masses to achieve the best result: if five percent of your audience are known on the APP, it will be hard to scale. 
  • Deliver data points to all channels: this will enable all channels to act on core data points – and actually build the capability for personalisation within your organisation. 

 


Fabrice MartinFabrice MartinJuly 16, 2019
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7min357

It’s important for brands to provide a great experience every time a customer wants to engage.

As the channels to engage continue to expand, brands will want to be accessible and ready to serve. Research indicates that customers who start and end service requests using digital channels have a satisfaction rate that is significantly higher than those using traditional channels. Additionally, the costs per digital customer interaction can be between five to 12 times cheaper than when they engage using the phone.

It’s clear that improving digital efficiency can be an opportunity to minimise costs for the contact centre and improve the overall experience for customers.

So, to boost digital effectiveness, here are five steps:

1. Listen to every feedback source

As the old adage goes – you can’t fix what you can’t measure. Similarly, brands can’t enhance what they don’t fully understand. When embarking on the journey to enhance digital effectiveness, understanding feedback is the only way to prioritise opportunities to improve Customer Experience.

Listen up: Understanding feedback is vital for your CX

Calls are very important, but they’re not the only way that customers are reaching out or looking for support. Emails, social media posts, review sites, surveys and chats need to be considered and these sources should be integrated with CRM data to reveal the full picture.

2. Prioritise opportunities that will have the highest impact on CX

Customer Experience tools can help brands to analyse unstructured text feedback from these channels by overlaying sentiment and effort scores to understand high friction points in the Digital Experience. They will also look for language around “suggestions” when customers are explaining what they wish could be better.

When analysing phone calls, it is typical for organisations to aggregate all mentions of failures on online channels to understand pain points. They can also analyse short duration calls that typically have a singular call driver and prioritise these for digitisation.

3. Create a priority matrix

Using the techniques above, action-oriented organisations can create a priority matrix that ranks each digital opportunity along the two dimensions of customer impact and level of effort. An opportunity that is deemed to have a high customer impact but will only require a low to medium level of effort to implement quickly jumps up the prioritisation list.

4. Understand the full customer journey

Customers want to communicate via their channel of choice, and nowadays these are digital. When they start a transaction online or via a mobile app, they want to be able to complete their transaction within that channel. This is not always possible and they are forced to make contact on the phone or via chat for further assistance. We often hear comments like “I don’t know why we get so many calls related to buying a ticket when our customers can easily do so via our mobile app or our website”.

Digital desire: Channel preference for customers is increasingly digital

Looking further into it, these transactions are often more complicated and multi-faceted than the simple act of purchasing a ticket. There is often another related event that complicates the transaction and causes a channel switch. It may be that the customer is trying to buy a ticket but using loyalty miles or trying to apply a discount code that is not working. Understanding the co-occurrence of such related events to the main transaction is key to designing a digital solution that meets even the more complex interactions.

5. Leverage the power of chatbots

Chatbots provide a way for customers to self-serve on known issues, or to collect important information that facilitates a seamless transition to a contact centre agent. Chatbots are increasingly popular and a 2016 report by Creative Virtual finds that introducing a virtual assistant for customer service can improve chat and phone service levels by 10-15 percent.

Brands can train chatbots to improve customer experience in a variety of ways. By understanding customer ‘intent’ during a live chat interaction or phone call, they can start identifying opportunities for chatbot automation. Organisations can also listen for the words that customers use to express frustration and high effort while accomplishing a task. By understanding these linguistic patterns, brands can train chatbots to express empathy and route a frustrated customer to an agent with a skill set that specialises in the topic that is causing frustration.


Sandra ThompsonSandra ThompsonJuly 16, 2019
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8min401

Whether you’re looking for a qualification to validate your existing experience in the field, or you’re starting out in a CX role and want to attend a course to help establish your career, the Applied Customer Experience Course could be perfect for you.

“My expectations were met and surpassed on this course. It is collaborative and very applicable,” says Laura, Applied Customer Experience participant, 2018.

Hear more of what our participants had to say about the course.

The way we’ll learn

The Applied Customer Experience course provides participants with three core ways to learn.  

  • Robust theory: We’ll debate relevant theories in neuroscience, behavioural science, psychology, and business strategy through interactive seminars and workshops, to ensure you have the knowledge to make effective decisions.
  • Guest speakers: Senior CX practitioners and authors share their experiences each week, reinforcing the course curriculum with practical examples.
  • Learning resources: Each week participants are invited to complete topic pre-reading and follow up materials are available to everyone who wants to learn even more. Two core books are also provided. 

The topics we’ll cover

We cover the following eight topics on the Applied Customer Experience course:

  • Psychology in Customer Experience
  • Culture and leadership
  • Emotional intelligence and Customer Experience
  • Compelling business cases
  • Meaningful customer journey mapping
  • Plotting your own map
  • Effective Voice of the Customer programmes
  • Self-awareness in Customer Experience
  • Employee engagement (and organisational structures)
  • Actionable measurement of Customer Experience

The Guest Speakers

The following speakers will be among those sharing their experiences and giving participants some invaluable CX advice throughout the course:

  • Tony Berry, Visitor Experience Director, National Trust,
  • Nicola Langley, Customer Experience Development, Volvo
  • Sam Johnson, Head of Customer Experience, Engie
  • Adrian Swinscoe, author of Punk CX and How To Wow
  • Richard Chattaway, Vice President of BVA Nudge Unit (behavioural science)

Accreditation

Upon successful completion of the end-of-term assessment, you will be accredited with the Pearson Business School Professional Certificate. Pearson Business School is a part of Pearson, the global learning and FTSE 100 company, giving this certificate both academic and commercial credibility.    

 Your course facilitator 

The Applied Customer Experience course was founded and is facilitated by Sandra Thompson. In 2019, Sandra published her first academic paper on Emotional Intelligence and Customer Experience. She is also the owner of a CX agency founded in 2010 called Exceed all Expectations, having worked on CX projects with brands such as Vodafone, Arsenal Football Club, and Waitrose.

The details

Where: Pearson Business School, Holborn, London

When: September 25

Duration: 10 weeks (Wednesday evenings)

Places on the course are limited and an Early Bird rate is available. For further information just get in touch. 

Find out more: https://www.pearsoncollegelondon.ac.uk/cx

Email: shortcourses@pearsoncollegelondon.ac.uk. 

Let’s talk: 0203 441 1303

Try before you buy?

Join our next webinar on Psychological Safety in Customer Experience on August 13 to hear about the power of psychological contracts and how to test psychological safety within your business. We’ll be joined by a CX practitioner and a Chartered Psychologist.


Kay HutchinsonKay HutchinsonJuly 15, 2019
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7min361

Client and commercial focus have always been important with consistent high quality seen as a key brand value.

When I was Director of Client Services working in TV, our clients were other broadcasters. We provided all the elements that make each channel appear seamless to the viewer. Performance levels were exacting and measured in a few seconds of outages/errors against a full year’s output (8,760 hrs). Over the years, I have managed large teams under pressure as well as working one-to-one with ‘on-air’ talent and small creative teams.

In my early career I believed success required constant effort; in fact I believed the more effort I put in, the better would be the results. However, I discovered there’s a limit and, over the years, I have realised how important it is to take a step back and allow some space to put the many and complex business issues into some perspective. Doing this has benefits for you as a person, as well as for your clients and customers. 

Overly focusing on tasks and performance levels can sometimes spill over into the nervous system and lead to exhaustion. I found that some therapies you’d normally associate with your private life have enormous benefits in the work context too. I believe, in today’s frenetic world, it’s important to look after yourself; to help you stay the course, continue to make good decisions, and ultimately be successful. But you can only do this if you’re in a balanced state of mind and your physical system is healthy and functioning well.

Apart from nourishing your body by eating well (put down that doughnut) and exercising regularly, do something that keeps your mind healthy too.  Here are a few suggestions.

Silent meditation

I tried silent meditation – strictly no talking for ten days over Christmas one year – and it was a full-on calming experience, if a little extreme. The benefits of silence are significant, and you can do it yourself any time. No unnecessary expense or fancy kit, just a few minutes in a quiet space.

Silence is golden: Quiet meditation can work wonders for your mind

Switch everything off. Relax in a comfortable position and simply focus on yourself. Close your eyes, breathe slowly. Become aware of the sensation of air moving in and out, expanding your ribs and gently filling your lungs.  If your mind drifts off, gently bring it back to your breathing. Continue for 5-10 minutes until you feel fully relaxed.

Make it part of your daily routine. You should find it easier to be more objective in tricky situations and to consider other points of view, especially those of your customers.

Acupuncture or massage

If you prefer a more direct approach, try acupuncture or massage. They both help regularise the energy flow around the body. If you tell a good therapist exactly what you’re looking for (releasing tension, improving performance, relaxing the mind), they should be able to focus their efforts in exactly the right places to help. Ask your GP to help find a qualified practitioner or look up the AACP (aacp.org.uk) or CNHC (cnhc.org.uk).

Hypnosis

If you’re stuck in a cycle of constantly working late, sleeping badly, or having anxiety attacks, perhaps it’s time to try something more regular. A course of hypnotherapy can fundamentally change your habits as it works with the subconscious mind to help disrupt any repeating cycles of negative behaviour.

If you want to do this in private and keep costs down, then I’d suggest you listen to any of the gurus of positive thinking. It’s not hypnotherapy, but it can help you change your behaviour through positively affirming a new approach. Try Tony Robbins or Louise Hay – different styles and approaches, but equally effective.

Your colleagues should notice the difference…and I expect your customers will too.

My Life in 37 Therapies by Kay Hutchison is out 4 July 2019 and is priced at £9.99


Nan RussellNan RussellJuly 12, 2019
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9min1021

As CX professionals, it’s our job to understand and predict the needs of customers and to present experiences that fulfil those needs.

Unfortunately, the reality of our role is rarely so simple.

According to a study from Bain & Company, 80 percent of businesses believe they are delivering a “superior” Customer Experience, and yet, only eight percent of customers feel they’re receiving such an experience. Clearly the realities of CX don’t match the stories that we as CX professionals tell ourselves.

Given this disconnect, it’s hard not to wonder what other common misconceptions we as CX professionals hold. Even more importantly, what are the steps that we can take to overcome these myths in future?

With that in mind, here are four common myths to rethink in your own CX approach.

Myth 1: Loyalty is the number one priority for CX

CX professionals often emphasise the importance of customer loyalty and the role that a positive CX can play in encouraging such loyalty to the brand. These are great concepts – and when loyalty is earned it is of huge value to a business. But what do we really mean when we talk about loyalty?

Loyal and true?: Misconceptions surround attitudes to customer ‘loyalty’

Research by Forrester shows that most consumers “perceive loyalty programs as an opportunity to save money”. But ‘saving money’ isn’t loyalty. Discounting programmes aren’t loyalty programmes. In reality loyalty could refer to repeat purchase behaviours, or it could refer to intent to recommend. It all comes down to the goals of your business and what you choose to measure.

These are the types of considerations we need to account for before prioritising customer loyalty as the central goal of our CX approach. Concepts such as loyalty are only valuable if brands take the time to define these terms, hone their approach, and focus on the areas that are most important to their overarching business goals.

Myth 2: Customers need to be delighted at every interaction

‘Delighting’ customers is a notion that gets thrown around a lot in the CX world. While we obviously all want to provide our customers with positive, memorable experiences, it’s important not to get too caught up in short-term wins, rather than focusing on long-term success

Delighting dos and don’ts: Customers prefer consistency over one-off promotions

Pleasing one off experiences are beneficial, but they shouldn’t take priority over consistent positive interactions with a brand. Creating this consistency and ensuring that each of your brand touchpoints is optimised will lead to far greater long-term value and customer loyalty than a one-off promotion or event.

Myth 3: CX is all about minimising customer complaints

Complaints are painful, but minimising customer complaints should not be the core focus of a brand’s Customer Experience approach. For each complaint, there is an opportunity to demonstrate that the individual is valued by the brand. Which is why service recovery can have such a powerful, positive impact on your Customer Experience.

Comprehending complaining: A customer complaint is an opportunity to build on their engagement

As long as a customer is engaged enough to complain, there is hope. It’s the customers who quietly disappear, unhappy, unengaged and unsatisfied that should terrify us.  Do we want to minimise the causes of complaints? Absolutely.  But the complaint itself is not the problem. As hard as it is to remember: feedback is a gift, even when it’s painful. Feedback represents hope and provides brand with the opportunity to make things right for the individual and, ultimately, right for the business in future.

Myth 4: Customers want full personalisation

While many CX practitioners see full personalisation as the Holy Grail of experience, it’s important that brands don’t burden their customers with unnecessary data collection as they strive for the perfect personalised experience.

As just one example, airline brands know a tremendous amount about each passenger. If that knowledge is spread across multiple internal systems, however, then the availability of data can make the Customer Experience worse not better.

Personalisation perils: Unnecessary data collection can cause complications for customers

If an airline already knows what flight a customer is taking and whether they have checked in a bag, then there is no reason to ask customers those questions again at the airport. It’s crucial to solve such integration gaps before making the passenger do the heavily lifting. Save the customer’s valuable feedback time to focus on the unknown: what the experience was and how to improve it.

Much of what we talk about in Customer Experience is based on inaccurate, but shared, misconceptions. Thankfully, CX is not static – and we can always improve how we deliver it and how we talk about it. By understanding the nuance of some of our core CX language, we can challenge basic assumptions in ways that free us up to maximise our full potential and deliver memorable experiences that benefit both the brand and the customer in equal measure.


Alf RehnAlf RehnJuly 10, 2019
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6min692

The following article has been written for CXM by bestselling author and Professor of Innovation, Design and Management at the University of Southern Denmark, Alf Rehn

 

We might call this the tragedy of niceness…

So used are we to thinking of business as a cold, hard space, bereft of emotions and ruled by calculated rationality, that even when issues more aligned with caring and compassion are discussed, they are often presented as marginal concerns.

Consider, for instance, the issue of diversity. A plethora of studies has shown that diversity is a key business driver. Organisations which rate high in diversity, particularly when this includes top management, outperform less diverse companies when it comes to things such as performance and profitability, and in particular when it comes to innovation.

A recent study from the Boston Consulting Group showed that companies with more diverse leadership teams reported almost double the innovation revenues than companies with below-average diversity scores. In today’s highly competitive environment, such figures can literally be the difference between life or death for a company.

That said, diversity is still often discussed as a ‘nice to have’ for an organisation, rather than something of critical and strategic importance. I’ve sometimes referred to this as “the aestheticisation of diversity”, by which I mean that diversity is looked to more for its superficial benefits and less for the manner in which it responds to core business requirements. Coupled with the tendency to frame diversity as an ethical and moral issue, this ends up presenting diversity as a fundamentally nice thing – and this is a problem.

Damaging: Alf Rehn highlights ‘the aestheticisation of diversity’ as a problem for firms

As long as issues such as diversity – and we could easily replace this word with e.g. care, compassion, or civility – are presented as issues that make ethical or aesthetic sense, they will fail to become adopted as core logics in an organisation.

This is not only problematic from the perspective of diversity itself, it actively damages companies. We thus need to push far harder for the point that diversity is done for logical reasons, fully in line with the profit motive companies tend to operate under, if only to ensure that these principles are taken seriously.

In my research into innovation, this has played out in the starkest ways possible. Studies have consistently and for a very long time shown that team and company diversity are some of the most critical deciding factors for creativity and innovation success there are. Further, I have myself seen how organisations that embrace cultural values such as respect and compassion do considerably better when it comes to idea generation and development than organisations that are lacking in these dimensions.

Still, whenever talk turns to the way in which diversity and compassion might be developed in an organisations, CEOs and key executives often treat these as marginal issues. Rather than seeing them as strategic engagements, they are shunted off to HR, or given short shrift by at best being discussed as a possible theme for a workshop some times in the future.

This needs to change, as in an increasingly competitive environment, companies simply cannot afford to lose the cognitive surplus that lies in having diverse and compassionate organisations. Whilst it might sound troubling to some, diversity isn’t only nice, nor is compassion just pleasant. Both deliver where it counts, in creativity, in profit margins, in improved customer relationships.

Squandering such riches isn’t just about being a boor, but about being an incompetent executive. So let the aestheticisation of diversity and compassion take second place to what truly matters – the cold, hard reality that diversity and compassion drives results, generates innovations, and makes companies better. That they’re nice is a lovely added bonus.


Sharon WilliamsSharon WilliamsJuly 10, 2019
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7min501

Recruitment has never been an easy task, regardless of which industry is facing the challenge.

Difficulties in finding the right people, at the right time, with the right skills, is something all organisations encounter. One such industry is contact centres. Outsourced contact centres are extremely people-focused, meaning that it’s imperative to get the recruitment process right from the offset and meet the challenges faced head-on.

In a contact centre environment, there is a need for recruiters to not only meet seasonal demand, but to be able to find the right person for each position, focusing on retaining employees that are skilled, motivated and committed to the role. A successful contact centre will find, train and retain staff that can meet customer expectations and work to make sure teams have the right attributes to properly represent the organisation they work for.

However, there are numerous outsourced contact centres getting recruitment right, and by following a few simple steps, recruiters can build a successful recruitment strategy that gets it right every time.

Staff on demand

Numerous industries are known to face issues with peaks and troughs of demand, but one that certainly suffers the most is retail. With huge seasonal spikes throughout the year – Black FridayChristmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter – this industry understands what it’s like to see a huge rush of customers that can vanish as quickly as they appear.

Seasonal spikes: Retail knows all-too well the pressures of fluctuating demand

To cope with these hectic periods, it’s essential for organisations to be confident that the recruitment channels being used will reach the right people, quickly and effectively. Advertising locally on buses and billboards, for example, can be more targeted and help to enhance brand recognition for an organisation looking to seek local Customer Service Advisors, as an addition to online.

Additionally, contact centre organisations need to prepare for these peaks by working closely with their customers to understand when the demand might rise and fall, and what levels of staff will be needed accordingly. By reflecting on busy periods of the past, recruitment teams can work in harmony with marketing teams to figure out what works, what could change and then put a plan in place for the next peak time.

Talking the talk

Contact centres have undoubtedly evolved. Just look at the name; what was once referred to as a call centre has grown to become much more. The omnichannel world that consumers now live in means they expect to receive the same customer experience, regardless of which channel they use – whether it’s social media, a phone call, email, online chat, or through instant messaging. They expect answers instantly, and they want their queries answered or issues resolved in as few steps as possible.

Digital demand: Customers need queries answered – quickly – across all channels

Because of this, the skill sets required of Customer Service Advisors has also changed. Advisors now need to be proficient in communicating across a variety of channels, utilising strong written and verbal communication skills to make the experience as seamless as possible for the customer. This eclectic way of working means that Advisors need to be flexible, adaptable, and able to multi-task, providing the same, exceptional experience with each customer interaction. A coherent selection process will ensure that recruitment teams are finding the right people for the job.

Capturing brand personality

When it comes to the selection process, this not only needs to be tailored for each job role, but also for each brand – this is the very nature of an outsourced contact centre. Each organisation that is represented by the contact centre will require something different, and this shouldn’t just come through when the Customer Service Advisors are answering queries; it should start at the beginning of the recruitment journey.

CV savvy: Recruitment strategies should must help brands find the best people

Recruitment teams should actively work with the client to build the job description, which should then underpin the selection process. Recruitment strategies should also be tailored for each brand to find the most suitable people; who are the organisation’s target market? How do they communicate? Can brand advocates be chosen to ensure the Customer Service Advisor has a genuine interest in the brand? This ensures the brand’s personality can be captured in each customer interaction, through style, tone of voice and language used.

The recruitment journey

Developing a CX strategy starts with recruitment. With the end customer in mind, a recruitment strategy can be developed that ensures the right team is sourced and trained in line with the organisation’s requirements. Recruitment doesn’t have to be a challenge; a clear understanding of the organisation’s values from the outset is a simple way to get the journey heading in the right direction and, coupled with the right approach to customer service, means that contact centres can commit to delivering an exceptional CX, every time.


Sandra LoefflerSandra LoefflerJuly 10, 2019
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7min912

Today’s consumers want it all – freedom to research purchases using any device (66 percent), the ability to visit stores if the internet doesn’t meet their needs (49 percent), and personalised advertising offers (26 percent) – all as part of a seamless, integrated experience.

Businesses recognise these rising demands; globally, almost two-fifths (34 percent) plan to adopt an omnichannel model in the next year. Yet meeting this goal can be challenging. Ensuring consistency, convenience, and relevance requires a comprehensive view of individual journeys: insight that isn’t easy to obtain when shopping activity is highly fragmented.

With CX rivalling price and product as a factor that matters most to customers, it’s crucial for retailers to understand the always-connected consumer by adjusting their measurement approach.

The troubled status quo

Most retailers are already striving to keep up with convoluted consumer journeys: using siloed, channel-specific tools and metrics to assess the impact of online and offline marketing efforts. And these silos are only getting deeper, especially when cookies are becoming less effective, privacy regulations are imposing stricter requirements on data, and walled gardens are preventing meaningful insights into the consumer journey altogether.

As a result, retail marketers are left with fragments of insight they must attempt to piece together, making it increasingly difficult to gain a complete view of how individuals connect with their brand across touchpoints. Little wonder only seven percent of firms have successfully implemented an omnichannel approach. Clearly, measurement must evolve to match modern consumer habits. If marketers want a precise picture of where purchase paths flow, how their initiatives perform and what form strategy should take, they need the right measurement solutions at their disposal.

Making the right measurement choice

Modern marketing measurement approaches can pave the way to better customer engagement; giving retailers the means to analyse interactions across every channel and device, evaluate the impact of each touchpoint on sales, and power smarter future decisions. But different measurement models serve different needs, which means retail marketers must select the approach that matches their data, channels and goals.

For example, marketing mix modelling harnesses summary level data to provide a holistic understanding of what’s driving sales, including online, offline and external factors that can affect product demand. It looks at the historical relationships between marketing spend and business results, and is most valuable for retailers who want to inform their strategic and periodic planning on an annual, half-yearly, or quarterly basis.

In contrast, methods such as multi-touch attribution offer more frequent, granular analysis. Leveraging household and person-level data from addressable channels, it measures the influence that each touchpoint – from ad creatives and offers to placement, keyword, recency and so forth – has on consumer actions in near real-time. For retailers looking to make tactical optimisations to live campaigns, multi-touch attribution is likely to be the best option.

Comprehensive media coverage matters

It goes without saying that marketing measurement relies on a steady and comprehensive supply of data. The more complete the coverage, the more accurate the analysis will be. But amid the growing emphasis on data security, media coverage gaps are increasingly common.

Measurement providers must therefore be chosen as carefully as the models, and maximum coverage should be a top priority. Finding a partner that has strong relationships with large media platforms, ways to track data despite cookie limitations, and methods to cross-check the accuracy of data sources is key for getting as much visibility into the omni-channel consumer journey as possible. Only then can retailers dissect the complex web of factors that affect consumer decisions and make smarter, more impactful decisions.

The value of preparation

One final and often overlooked aspect of successful measurement is preparing for the future. In the wake of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and an increasing focus on digital security, the utility of cookies has significantly diminished – and with the e-Privacy Regulation (ePR) due to be enforced in 2020, its value is only set to fade further.

This makes it critical to choose a provider with the resources and ability to adjust to the ever-changing marketing landscape. Declaring intent to plan for a cookie-less world isn’t enough; providers should also be proactively demonstrating their commitment to future proofing marketers’ measurement success.

As consumer preferences for multichannel shopping grow, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for retailers to make sense of the fragmented data they leave behind and understand true marketing effectiveness. Instead of siloed tools that are at odds with the needs of always-connected consumers, retail marketers need a modern measurement approach so they can drive performance to the maximum and put their marketing investment where it matters most to their businesses.




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