Tag Archives: customer experience strategy

3½ Customer Experience Lessons from Copenhagen Airport

Airports are busy places with many different stakeholders and very different objectives. In that environment, the end customer can often be marginalised or even forgotten. With frustrations such as being taken on a meandering detour through a retail jungle when you are in search of a departure gate, struggling to understand why it feels like there is only one loo for every 1,000 passengers or having to sprint to meet the person picking you up so they avoid a £50 fine for waiting to greet you for more than 5 minutes.

That said, despite pressures from retailers and regulators, some airports can be places of inspirations with a wealth of Customer Experience ideas for any practitioners to learn from.

#1 Managing your customer’s expectations

Too often brands miss the opportunity to reduce their customer’s anxiety. Explaining what will happen next and when it will happen helps customers. As well as creating an extra engagement point. It also demonstrates a company know how to help customers by improving their emotional state. Which in turn connects the company to it’s customers at a deeper emotional level.

It’s played out brilliantly here. The time it will take to get to the departure gate is blasted to the ground (picture above). The anxious passenger can now assess their situation. With markings updating distance to the gate in time every 30 seconds, they can track their progress. If enough time, the passenger can relax more. If the passenger is short of time, they can speed up. Either way the signpost is helpful and increases appreciation of the airport facilities.

#2 Personalising the experience

I’ll never forget being invited to speak at an Airline conference when a customer aviation expert claimed the future of airline travel was about ‘personalisation’. He then presented several airline ticket, insurance and hotel bundles labelled as propositions such as ‘the weekender’ and ‘family fun’. He boasted that when bought together by passengers they were actually more expensive than the individual parts. But it would be made so complicated that customers wouldn’t be able to work it out! Even worse than this, the audience applauded! I felt very alone sitting on that ‘customer’ panel. It showed how outdated some thinking is in this space.

Customer Experience works when it’s ‘personal’ to a customer’s needs rather than personalised. I feel this example explains it well. At Copenhagen, like many airports, passengers need to pass through the baggage collection section to get to the exit. Those with only hand luggage don’t want to get caught up in there they want to find a way through.

For these passengers they want to get on with their trip sooner. That’s partly why they’ve crammed everything in to their hand luggage. This ‘fast exit’ message decal shouts out to this audience. Personal doesn’t need to be 1 to 1, it’s about being relevant to specific needs.

#3 Keep customers before you lose them

Some sectors are guilty of this more than others. Here’s the scenario; Retail company ‘A’ knows it has a problem with its returns because they receive social media noise reports and get angry calls to the call centre from disgruntled customers. But it’s not tracked in VoC because the VoC vendor hasn’t scoped that journey in their requirements. So, first the additional work is scoped and paid for. Feedback is then collected.  The CX team can then get to work on the issue (maybe after some more mapping). Eventually the team identify it’s down to the poor service contract in place with the outsourced collection courier. But procurement tell the CX team the contract with the courier was a keen one and is locked down for 12 more months. Following which a change can be looked at. 6 months on and the CX team start to work out what’s needed (a new collection courier company) and put together the Requirements Specification for a new vendor selection process. Which they initiate 6 months later. Which is also the first time customers find out about it.

However, in the meantime all the customers have left!

Why not share progress with customers throughout? If you know something’s wrong, flag it earlier. As you start to get an inclination of what’s gone wrong, get on with it. Keep customers updated throughout – tell them you know it’s not working, why it’s not working and that you are doing something about it. Share your plans with on how you will get it right and by when. Offer customers the chance to put in their views to help get to a better place. This involvement demonstrates you care and you are progressive. Customers value this sometimes as much as the fix!

At Copenhagen Airport there is major disruption, but it doesn’t feel like it becuase passengers are brought into the story and shown what’s coming and why. Even if the passenger passing through isn’t around to benefit from the final change they know it’s happening and accepting of the move from ‘AS IS’ to ‘TO BE’.

So that just leave the extra 1/2

For me this is about observation. It’s only half a lesson because it’s an approach rather than an outcome. Customer Experience is all around us. We interact with it daily and are a part of a company’s well worked plans too every time we enquire, purchase, use, enquire, visit or transact. There are lessons to learn from these experiences too.

I didn’t make a b-line for Copenhagen Airport to write a blog on my customer experience observations, I was there to help a client structure a business case for CX investment against return. But whether it’s walking through Copenhagen Airport on the return leg of a work trip, purchasing corner flags online from Sports Direct for a team development workshop (which turn up after they were needed) and getting radio silence when trying to return them or noting how many companies didn’t follow-up having given my details to them at the Grand Designs Show and how well those few that did have done from their attention, opportunities for CX ideas are everywhere.

So, put a Moleskin pocket-book on your birthday list, set you iPhone to camera mode and build your own insight bank of CX ideas and inspiration as you go about your daily business.

In the meantime, feel free to review our blogs, or contact me to raid examples from my much always growing collection of good, bad and ugly examples.

To finish, when it comes to finding new ideas for CX, as Ferris Bueller, the most eligible bachelor of them all, put it…

Happy CX hunting.

Posted by Christopher Brooks.  Director, Lexden Limited, Customer Experience Consultancy.

If you’d like to receive more articles on driving more profitable Customer Experience, please sign up to our free monthly ‘Customer Experience Update’.

Lexden helps deliver effective customer experience insight, strategy, content and creative activation clients seeking sustainable profit from customer experience.

Advertisements

With customer experience design, functional is good. But don’t stop there.

“Focus on the whole journey, not just the transaction”.  In the world of Customer Experience (CX) you will hear this phrase frequently.  But what does it mean?

It’s the difference between a task and a purpose.  The difference between a user story like the one above, and meeting a customer’s overall goal.  It is important to understand the difference between the two, because how you frame the interaction determines how your customer will experience it.

This is perhaps best illustrated with an example:

The background.  You are a lifelong customer of Locality Bank.  Your parents took you in to the bank open your first account when you were a child, and you remember how you felt when a moneybox was presented to you as a thank you.

Your dealings with the bank over the years have always been consistent, efficient and straightforward.  You don’t usually give banking too much thought, often using online services.  It just happens in the background.

But recently you decided to strike out on your own and start a business.  This is new and uncharted territory, and you are looking for help to get started.  Locality Bank are the first people that spring to mind.  You phone them to make an appointment – you don’t want to leave anything to chance.

Scenario 1.  The person who answered was fantastic.  She knew exactly what you were looking for, apparently quite a few customers are in the same boat, so they have put a package together just for people like you.  She invited you to come in , walk through how everything works, then decide which elements will work best for you.  She knew you had been with them for years, so they know you pretty well.  There will be very little form filling, and lots of talking about your business and what excites / worries you most about starting up.

Scenario 2. The person who answered was polite and efficient.  She asked if you would like an appointment to see a new business adviser.  You  asked whether that was the best thing, but she didn’t have any other options, so you booked an appointment anyway.  She promised to send a pack in the post which you can fill in and bring along.  It will help the Bank assess your suitability for a business account.  You felt a little unsettled by this.   What if they can’t help?  If you can get through this stage, it’s another step towards your little business getting up and running, but you will look at other options just in case.

Scenario 1 leaves you reassured, and looking forward. Scenario 2 leaves you anxious and looking for a plan B

We’ve all encountered these scenarios, where we’re left feeling a certain way by one supermarket/airline/store/bank and completely different by another.  It’s something you can’t put your finger on, but it makes you feel…something.

So why the difference?

In scenario 1, the business understood this customer’s whole journey.  The history of the relationship, their context right now (nervous excitement), and their goal (I want to start my own business, I need help to understand how it works).  It was efficient and easy, but it went beyond the transaction and delivered the total experience – which was reassuring, empathetic and human.  Almost as if they were standing beside this customer when she made the call.

In scenario 2, the business focused purely on delivering an efficient, easy transaction for their customer.  The customer’s goal is likely to have been framed as “I want to make an appointment to speak to a new business adviser”.  Nothing wrong with this – efficient and easy is the foundation of a good customer experience – but they were looking at the wrong goal…

It was all about the bank, not the customer.  The experience was functional, and process-driven, and left this customer feeling unsettled.

 Customers are human.  We all have complex brains.   When I set out for the supermarket I can be very task focused and impatient; I want to get in and out quickly (rational).

But I also equate food with home, and making people happy (not so rational).

Perhaps what I am really looking for is kudos from the family – a hugely effective distraction from price labels, and the reason why I often come out of the supermarket without the items I went in for (completely irrational).

So how do we avoid falling into the trap of designing purely functional journeys which miss the point for customers?

Map the journey.  From the customer’s point of view.  Journey mapping is a brilliant method of stepping back from the minutiae and seeing the whole picture:

Map the journey.  From the customer’s point of view.  Journey mapping is a brilliant method of stepping back from the minutiae and seeing the whole picture:

  • Get close to customers, in the moment.  This helps you to understand how customers think (and ex-customers, and near-miss customers)
  • Decide how you want your customers to feel, and what you want them to say about you.  What does your brand stand for?
  • Use journey mapping to show where you are hitting the mark, or not.

Journey mapping helps to clear the mist, so you can design interactions with purpose, which meet their true goals and deliver the total experience.

Reproduced with kind permission by Beth Richardson, Lexden Consultant – helping business get closer to customers.

5 Customer Experience Trends for 2016

20162015 saw increased budget diverted to customer experience with more and more companies adopting CX as a primary business model. We anticipate 2016 will see further senior executives and CEO’s taking a closer look to understand just how customer experience can be a more profitable competitive differentiator.

With this in mind, as independent customer experience consultants we’ve captured our CX predictions for 2016 below;

1.The CEO discovers a reliable measure linking CX to profit 

phils book2016 will be a wake up year for CX. We are already finding CEO’s questioning the value of chasing NPS Promoters and top box Customer Satisfaction. Our evidence shows these outcomes do not correlate to profit. In fact, according to Measuring Customer Experience by Professor Dr Phil Klaus less than 1% of profit can be attributed back to these performance measures. 

When discovered, for some this will mean the CX Programme is shut down, for others who continue with these measures it means potentially investing profits in initiatives which will drive very little if any ROI. in his book Phil, who is also a Lexden Director explains the value of pursuing behavioral based CX measurement which accounts for over 80% of profit. For those considering this option it could mean smarter profits, effective investment and meaningful focus on the CX improvements which keep the business ahead of the rest. 

2. Brand to finally join the CX party

Too much operational focus is on the ‘fix’ in CX or digital migration where there are no net new gains. Companies focussing on self-serve apps and online systems might reduce processing costs – but at what price? We’ve seen stats highlighting the unsurprising knock on effect of customer engagement and brand consideration levels dropping and with it comms effectiveness reducing. One of the main reason is that these are designed functionally and without consideration of baking in the brand difference.

We hope 2016 sees more emphasis on making the brand difference in to improvements to create sustainable advantage rather than just short term (and easy to copy) efficiency drives.

There are few in this space we find, but Virgin Money, Standard Life and Direct Line in FS are forging the way with CX becoming a key consideration factor for their customer’s preference. Direct Line in particular apply CX principles beyond promotions and propositions, they are connected to pricing. That’s when you really start to pull away from the competition because you are competing on a different playing field altogether.

We anticipate more will start to differentiate on their CX but it’s like any other point of difference, it needs to be just that, not just the basics done well. It will only be those with sound CX strategies focussed on meaningful measurement which will reap the harvest of their CX investment. Watch companies like The Co-op Bank, The One Savings Bank and Nutmeg leverage CX more in 2016.

3. From personalisation to proactive engagement

Data held (big or small) can be used to predict future eventualities for customers, using this more smartly can really help customers, a service which the brand can be remembered for. For instance a customer who goes overdrawn several months on the trot does not need a ‘when it happens’ notice when their options are limited. The patterns are there for the bank to tell the customers days, weeks in advance of the likely outcome if they sustain their rate of spend. Delivery services are improving on this, as are bus and train companies.

So helping consumers manage time to have more of it to consider more options is to become more important and delivered through a great experience will help companies stand apart.

4. Employee experience will get tangible 

Maybe 2016 will be the year of the employee. Companies who help their employees understand the value of CX reap the benefits sooner. Those who ‘push it on to’ colleagues to be done to customers, have themselves to blame. We have seen an increasing number of requests moving from customer experience delivery to employee experience engagement. Brands such as USAA and Zappos highlight the importance of this first stage. But recruiting the right skill set to help employees is key. Conventional training techniques wont cut it so assuming clients engage CX transformation specialists employees will get it and be able to deliver it better – a big focus in 2016 we anticipate.

5. Feedback Fatigue

We often get asked how to 1) increase respondent numbers and 2) reach a more representative cross-section of my customer base with feedback. It’s true, numbers are dropping inversely proportionate to the increase in feedback requests it would seem. There are now more companies requesting feedback overall than ever before and those who have been for some time are drilling deeper and asking for more from their customers.

We sat in a series of research groups last year looking at customer behaviour towards feedback nero surveysurveys. There is much contamination and conditional completing of feedback forms going on it seems. Consumers are wary, citing being asked for irrelevant and duplicated insights as well as seeing little improvement related to their feedback, as reasons for skimming, spoiling or ignoring feedback requests.

A gear shift will be needed otherwise the quality of feedback will become increasingly impaired. A more worrying trend is the professional survey completers who will complete forms on behalf of others (we haven’t figured out why yet) or bill the company requesting their feedback for their time (similar to focus groups).

So perhaps nothing seismic, but the relatively embryonic world of CX will need to find its feet in 2016 if it is to survive the most harshest of judges; the rising expectations of consumers and the CEO’s budget.

Posted by Christopher Brooks, Customer Experience Consultant, Lexden

If you like what you’ve read please sign-up to Lexden’s ‘Customer’s World’ Update for ideas, inspiration and insights to improve your customer strategy endeavours.

For further information on how we can help with your customer challenges contact christopherbrooks@lexdengroup.com or call M: +44 (0) 7968 316548 or T: +44 (0)1279 902205. You can also follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter or read client testimonials and case studies at Lexden Group.