I should start by qualifying our definition of ‘successful’ customer experience. At Lexden we always focus on success being about customer contentment, commitment and category contribution. The outcome of which leads to an increase in contribution attributable to Customer Experience investment.
So, what drives success in CX (Customer Experience)? According to Professor Dr Phil Klaus’ published studies only 10% of companies optimise the potential returns from their customer experience efforts. The globally renowned customer experience author’s studies also show there are three qualities common to the leaders in CX.
- #1 Measure What Matters
- #2 Customer Culture Conviction
- #3 Touch-point Management
Here we share our interpretation of these key qualities and the value of prioritising them in your business. If you would like a white paper on any of these areas of effective Customer Experience, please contact us:
#1 Measure What Matters
Too often in customer experience, customer sentiment or intention is mistaken for a measurement of customer commitment. The board sees an NPS (Net Promoter Score) or CSAT (Customer Satisfaction) score and assumes if the number is going up, the business is performing better.
However, it has been proven there is a very low correlation between these customer scores and the share of the customer category the company has. In fact, less than 1% according to Measuring Customer Performance (Author: Prof Dr P Klaus). The method used; EXQ (Experience Quality Measure) has been refined to assess the impact of customer experience on customer behaviour.
We’ve been involved in several client commissions using EXQ, which like the hundreds of other studies conducted, has highlighted the customer experiences which really matter most to customers and the actual share of category that converts into (which is what the board often think they are getting with the conventional CX measures).
It’s powerful stuff. A recent commission we conducted highlighted EXQ was 50 times more predictive than NPS in identifying the attributes which matter most to customers. Which provides a much more robust basis for CX budget discussions!
The CX leaders are tracking indicators which align customer performance to profitability AND tell you where to prioritise investment – that’s measuring what matters.
#2 Customer Culture Conviction
‘Putting customers at the heart of business decisions’ is a sentiment we’ve stuck by and one we believe helps embed prioritising customer outcomes in the very fabric of an organisation.
However, we find the interpretation of ‘customer’ and how to incorporate customer experience in the organisation varies wildly. Most have a commitment to customer, but few have worked out what a customer really want as an outcome, and less than being able to fuse that with the differentiation their brand positioning can fulfil.
We also find that customer experience is often pushed to front line staff, those engaging with customers. However, for a culture of customer commitment to become a natural state, every colleague in the organisation needs to incorporate delivering customer outcomes in their day-to-day activities. It’s as much the responsibility of the Head of Finance or Audit as it is the Contact Centre Manager or Store Manager.
It should also not be driven by brand, but must incorporate the brand. Brand agencies grab CX budget for extraordinary demonstrations of branded customer experience, but it’s the day-to-day experiences which will be remembered and influence decision-making. Ads should demonstrate the valued CX, but not try to be the CX.
To create a culture of customer commitment in the organisation you need:
- Common place behaviours
- Consistent delivery
- Customer outcome driven thinking
- Customisation to affirm brand advantage
To achieve this, we employ our Brand Experience Platform and Branded Customer Standards to ensure customer experience is delivered by all, consistently to fulfil customer outcomes in a way that emphasis the advantage of the brand.
With the platform established, training and socialising customer experience principles is straightforward. Which means translation and adoption happens.
#3 (Outsourced) Touch-point management
We have plenty of experience in customer journey mapping for clients. The value of these working documents is that they unearth excellence and shortfalls in CX. If equipped with the right tools (such as Customer Standards or EXQ Customer Attributes) the business can set about improvements.
That said, mapping is a very useful activity to identify what is and isn’t managed ‘on us’. What about those activities which are with third parties to complete? This recent example highlights the point well. A client noticed despite a high satisfaction rating on their VoC (Voice of the Customer) touch-points, client attrition was high so engaged Lexden to investigate.
We conducted a couple of days’ of exploratory journey mapping across several country regions. By doing so we identified the most important touch-points and then realised some had been outsourced to a third-party administer some time ago. It wasn’t clear why it had been set up this way, but it hadn’t been recognised as valuable to the overall customer experience before.
It was now managed through a procurement relationship where the annual emphasis was on reducing supplier costs by 10%. The squeeze was put on the supplier who had no relationship with the client (so used Google to better understand their company) and the impaired experience was leading to defection. But because there was no VoC set up against this outsourced touch-point it didn’t show on the feedback reports.
When you assess how much of a brand’s total ‘experience’ is outsourced, it can add up to an alarming amount. In the airline sector for some carriers more than 50% of customer interactions are outsourced; from website booking, ticketing, check-in, baggage handling and customer service. But whilst the customer perceives it’s the airline’s responsibility they will blame them when these touch-points fail.
Outsourcing can lead to irrecoverable customer dissatisfaction. Use Customer Journey Techniques to evaluate the efficiency v effectiveness of outsourcing.
We hope you can take these priorities back to your own programmes and review their effectiveness. If you’d be interested to head more or need either quick-fix or strategic support, we can help.
At Lexden, we’ve developed programmes to manage the most impacting drivers of customer experience success. Overviews on EXQ, Brand Experience Platform and Effective Touch-point Management are available on request; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lexden delivers effective customer experience solutions for clients serious about sustainable customer relationships.
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