Tag Archives: promoters

Beware of the vanity trap of customer experience – part 1

Beware of the vanity trap of CXI’ve always felt the Greek tragedy of Narcissus would make an excellent addition to the national curriculum. I think the story of the hunter known for his beauty who was trapped into worshipping his own reflection in the river until he died, would be a helpful reminder to those making choices based on looks rather than learning. 

However, I think having seen a few Narcissus moments recently brands could perhaps do well from reading the fable too. 

I am talking about those who spend time promoting their customers satisfaction or net promoter scores. There are a number of shortfalls in this ‘low budget’ marketing stunt which perhaps is lost between the insight team, the CX team and the marketers. That said, i think consumer’s see straight through it.

1. Love me, love me, say that you love me

Customer feedback is the most valuable of commodities. True CX vanguards know it’s not the score, but what contributed to the score that matters. How the company made the customer feel or how they delivered is what mattered most to customers in such a fulfilling way. It is these experiences that keep the company ahead, not the score. All this message is saying, ‘They love me. They Love me’. Memories of John Hurt’s portrayal of The Elephant Man come flooding forward. It’s all very ugly. 

2. Scoring would have been easier

I accept sometimes promoting scores is a corporate comms way of appeasing or impressing regulators and shareholders, respectively. Although someone should mention it to them that customers see (through) this stuff too. However, the shame of it is that there was a message in their which all stakeholders would value. 

Look beneath the veneer of a score and you will find fabulous content. Real customers state why they scored the company higher and how it has changed their behaviours. The caveat here is that these insights will only be forthcoming if real time feedback has been set up with closed loop case management capabilities and customers are informed of benefit of improvements. Which then brings me back to the point of this section. 

Beware of the vanity trap of CX 1

We have worked with brand agencies who find the detail of experience improvements too dull to convert into amazing communications, choosing analogies or celebrities to do the job instead. We work with end customers who are motivated by the former and switch off at the later. As a former brand planner, i know there is a balance. But if you put customer experience as a tick box on your churn or exit survey you will soon see the value of promoting what achieves the 95% rather than promoting the percentage. 

 3. Oops i did it again!

I am always amused by the way some organisations calculate satisfaction. As a paying customer, i have always viewed my definition as the correct one and even as someone who creates, manages and delivers voice of the customer’s programmes as one of the CX services we provide at Lexden, I still default to an elite band of academics who have spent years cultivating the most reliable articulation of customer assessment of experience. They have identified 25 different attributes (not 24 0r 26) which account for over 80% of a customer’s commitment to a brand relationship. This compares to less than 1% accountability or NPS or CSAT. That’s not a typo! (contact me if you need to hear more on this). 

This doesn’t stop companies choosing the slimmest of views, ‘are you satisfied’ or ‘will you recommend us to others’ and putting it on the most senior of dashboards. CEO’s can lose their position when the penny drops for those around him. 

Judging satisfaction based on what you do well rather than what drives customer commitment and contentment is pure vanity. I’ve never judged satisfaction on the number of routes a low cost airline has or the punctuality of planes landing on tarmac. These things have no bearing on my consideration of whether I use that airline again. Yet, I read they are No.1 for satisfaction on these criteria – oh dear. I can’t see that’s healthy for customers or the company either, especially as the experiences which drive true satisfaction under perform. 

CX is not a game, it’s a serious busy model (although ironically, ramification is a good way to get CX embedded in the business) where vanity has no place. Business leaders should look to drive better customer performance rather then chase promoters. 

There are many more points on this topic of CX vanity, so watch out for part 2. 

Posted by Christopher Brooks, Director, Lexden

Lexden is a Customer Experience & Value Proposition Consultancy

We help clients build memorable customer experiences and create engaging customer value propositions.

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 contact christopherbrooks@lexdengroup.com or call us on 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 http://www.lexdengroup.com.

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Three ways in which brands are optimising their customer experience investment

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.

zappos2One 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

kia adIt’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.

hsbc ad

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.

In summary

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

Lexden is a Customer Strategy Agency | We put customers at the heart of the decision 

We work with brands to attract and retain happy customers | We achieve this by helping them to understand what makes their customers tick, building memorable customer experiences and creating engaging customer value propositions.

If you like what you’ve read sign-up to our ‘Putting Customers First’ newsletter. Or for further information contact christopherbrooks@lexdengroup.com or call us on  M: +44 (0) 7968 316548 or T: +44 (0)1279 902205 .    You can also follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter or read client case studies at www.lexdengroup.com 

My Christmas 2013 ‘Customer Experience’ Crackers

Like many I decided to switch off and enjoy the recent Christmas festivities with my family and left my work behind. Those who know me will know that whilst a worthy ambition, it’s usually compromised. However, this year I did it!

I spent two weeks with the family. But what that meant is that I also spent two weeks as a consumer, without my Lexden Customer Experience Strategist hat on.

cracker

As a consumer I found dozens of interactions which made me feel warmer or colder towards the brands I engaged with and subsequently more or less likely to use them again. So whilst I wasn’t strictly working, I did capture a few of the best and worst experiences (see also My Christmas 2013 ‘Customer Experience’ Turkeys blog) to provide you with inspiration and ideas for your own CX programmes.

Here’s my three favourite Christmas Crackers delivering the gift of a great branded experience which will live on long after the decorations have come down. Loving…

myringgo2MyRingGo | My wife, my two young boys and I planned a trip to see the Snowman at the Peacock theatre. Travelling in on the train we arrived at the station car park. We realised we had no change! Ahhhh. Then I noticed a sticker on the car park machine offering a phone service to buy a ticket. With a low level of faith in customer friendly mobile payments from experience, I was sceptical. But hat’s off to MyRingGo. I called and within two minutes the automated service had texted me confirmation that my parking ticket had been purchased. All for a supplement of just 20p on the ticket. The message also told me it would take just 30 seconds next time now they have my details (ensuring a repeat purchase).

But the real magic came when 10 minutes before the ticket expired I received a reminder and options to extend the ticket. Having been caught out before by traffic wardens, this was a revelation – a real customer advantage of the mobile over cash.

jlpJohn Lewis | Like most I could default to John Lewis to buy all Christmas goods, including alarm clocks, bears and hares. At the Bluewater shopping centre store John Lewis had managed to spill the TV ad out across the store. With a looping Lily Allen version of a Keane track and TV screens playing the ad it couldn’t be missed. And surprisingly not that nauseating. We then came across a wonderful experiential version of the ad in the store. The children out shopping with their parents were captivated, almost as much as the parents were!

premier innPremier Inn | We travelled to Staffordshire to see family and found the most convenient hotel was the Premier Inn. Given the low price I set my expectations low. But that was unnecessary, it was just fine. The most impressive proposition was a ‘silent please’ family ground floor. As a family we were put on this floor and asked to ‘Shhhhh’ between 7pm and 10am. Having stayed in hotels when our children were babies and been woken by guests not unreasonably chatting in the corridors at not unreasonable times, this idea is helpful when settling children for the night.

But it was the lovely touch of an extra spy hole for children on the door which I felt added fun to the experience. It was something for the kids which proved a great novelty.

A great and relatively low cost addition to reinforce the ‘family floor’ proposition.

These brands have created a positive association (which could lead to incremental spend) with me their customer. The John Lewis example demonstrating how to optimise the value of your traditional TV advertising, and Premier Inn highlighting how a well thought through integrated proposition works.

It would be good to think all brands are pushing forward in this way. But I have also written a blog on ‘My Christmas 2013 Customer Experience Turkeys’ suggesting some have quite a way to go!

We collect customer experience examples. If you’ve come across any which have amazed or impressed you, please forward them to me at christopherbrooks@lexdengroup.com. We will periodically post and link them to you and your company.

Posted by Christopher Brooks

Lexden is a Customer Strategy Agency | We put customers at the start and the heart of marketing strategy

We work with brands to attract and retain happy customers | We achieve this by helping them to understand what makes their customers tick, building memorable customer experience strategies and creating engaging customer value propositions.

If you like what you’ve read sign-up to our free monthly ‘Putting Customers First’ newsletter. Or for a discussion on how we may be able to help you, contact christopherbrooks@lexdengroup.com or call us on  M: +44 (0) 7968 316548You can also follow us on LinkedIn Facebook and Twitter @consultingchris