Customer Experience is still a relatively new strategy for businesses to follow. Whilst most have a feedback programme and a customer dashboard in place, many are still trying to figure out how CX will drive their business forward. Whilst this is playing out there are three options we’ve observed that have varying levels of effectiveness.
The ‘CX as a mission’ company
Zappos, the ladies online shoe retailer and part-time CX academy headed by Tony Hsieh. The strapline is ‘Powered by Service’. and with a number of legendary service delivery stories circulating they’ve become the ‘thinking CX practioners’ version of perfection.
One such story is that if a customer calls to buy shoes that they don’t have or sell, they will transfer them to a competitor free of charge so they can buy the shoes. Try that one if you are a telco or asset manager! But they have found when (and it’s when not if) the customer returns they spend 2.5 times as much on their next purchase. It’s baked in to who they are as any of their employee videos show.
The ‘CX as a measure’ company
I know of several companies who have put NPS up as a measure by which they will judge their CX success. Others even bonus staff on lifting NPS targets. I’ve also spotted NPS targets popping up in vision statements as well. But because it’s a number, it’s something that is aimed for and the business deems itself a success if it achieves it and a failure if it doesn’t.
I was at a conference recently and another speaker told me he’d seen car salesman rip NPS as a measure apart. It didn’t matter where the target was set they hit it everytime. And not a point more. They had worked out what they needed to do to achieve their targets. It had nothing to do with what mattered for the customer or how the company wanted to be portrayed. Scores like NPS are not what’s important, its the verbatim and feedback that they represent. This is the gold that helps the company get better and delight more customers. Be obsessed by customer betterment rather than the measure.
The ‘CX as a message’ company
It’s not surprising, with comms agencies taking an active role in CX strategy development, that some clients CX efforts focus on messaging their CX achievements. For instance, Kia have used the findings from what I assume would have been their VoC workshop inputs as the concept for a TV ad. With customer comments on post-its popping off the wall. It is then followed up with the boast of being voted No. 1 for satisfaction.
HSBC are in on the act too with a very beautiful ad. It parallels brotherly relationships with staff providing unexpected support and finishes with the strap line, ‘We reward our staff for delivering outstanding customer support’. Interpreted by a colleague of mine as, ‘We have to pay them otherwise they wouldn’t do it’.
Now having written a blog on the greatness of HSBC’s CX recently, I know it’s not like that in reality, so forgive my outburst HSBC – I love you still, but I’m not sure the ad agency or those briefing them, get what CX is. There’s a link below, make your own judgement but I think paralleling brotherly ‘love’ with customer service support is confused.
In their TV ads, Nationwide use their CSAT scores (from their own study not an independent one) to present themselves as No. 1 for Customer Satisfaction on the high street. My wife, a member, would argue that’s unnecessary media spend. She knows they are No.1 in her eyes because they’ve always delivered a great experience and have earned the right to be her bank forever because they always do right by her.
She would say they don’t need to tell everyone how great they are. I would say they should use this platform to demonstrate why they are No.1 instead.
Great customer experience is something a customer feels and experiences. Those like Zappos who have it hard wired in to their DNA deliver it with every customer engagement. Those who place importance on measuring it will find CX is only great where or when it is measured. Just because the customer completed a feedback survey, it doesn’t mean they actually score the company. They only do that because they were asked to. For consumers its less quantitative – they know it’s right because it works for them. It’s an emotional connection and often only realised way after the event.
The reward is the customer remains engaged with a preference. They will stand in the queues, wait at the bus stops and sit in the coffee shop telling stories to others about how great your brand is.
However, this advocacy is a key benefit of delivering a great customer experience that should be measured because it will reduce your marketing acquisition and retention costs because your customers are doing your marketing for you.
Making sure your customer experience is a mission means the measurements will be achieved and the messages created through stories on the street which is more powerful than a TV campaign.
Posted by Christopher Brooks
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