Are businesses ignoring the feedback we customers provide to improve the customer experience? And find out whether you are really listening to what your customers are telling you with our short survey.
Shortly after calling my telecom's provider the inevitable text message pinged onto my phone:
“Based on your call to us today, how likely are you to recommend us to family and friends”. Not very likely, as it happens. Not because they didn’t resolve the issue but because it really wasn’t one of those problems that makes you go out and tell anyone how wonderful/awful it was.
But it did make me ask some questions of my own:
Is the low score I gave the advisor a fair reflection of his performance? Yes, probably BUT the source of the complaint was not him, nor had he been briefed on the issue and he did his best to handle it with limited knowledge. However the scripted answers he gave bore no resemblance to the issue or my requirements.
Is someone actually going to look at the root cause of the issue I have raised, address it, educate staff and perhaps apologise to customers for the mistake?
How is the aggregated stream of feedback about the current offer going to inform the future design?
Businesses big and small are now bristling with the tools and systems to listen to customers better but are they really hearing what they are saying and building this into an improved and consistently delivered experience? I doubt it? Or at least not to the extent that their newly acquired insight enables them to do.
Extensive Voice of Customer programmes are being put in place – great products offering to get a good understanding of what customers are experiencing and saying about their experience, in real time.
However, at their own admission (and those of supplying the products) many businesses are not achieving the full potential of their newly found source of knowledge because the business doesn’t know what to do with it, how to embed it in the business and improve operationally and culturally.
So next time that text message pings up on my screen, I’m going to be thinking about the people looking at my feedback and wondering whether they are really going to make the most of it.
Finally, if you work for one of those businesses trying to work out if you are just hearing the feedback from your customers rather than really listening to it, why don't you follow this link and answer 20 simple questions to work out where you stand.
The airline industry is a highly competitive one. Technology, hand in hand with a human touch, will deliver better experiences for customers. The challenge is in the alignment of the culture, processes, systems and capability of the organisation, with the needs of customers in a way that employees are empowered and engaged to deliver. That goes for at any point in their customer experience, but is even more of a priority in times or disruption.
Customers need their experiences to be seamless and without friction. Importantly, they also hope that any problem will be proactively owned and resolved quickly and satisfactorily by the company or organisation with whom they are interacting.
When talking about touch points and channels, we refer most often to those within our control e.g. the call centre, email, the physical store, social media. We don’t often consider those which are delivered by another organisation for example a business partner. Companies seem only too ready to hand over responsibility for the customer to their partner. Yet some seem quick to blame them when things go wrong and act as judge and jury when their NPS scores, say, are not up to scratch. Delegating companies often seem to want it
What Alamo have done is they have not only managed to improve the customer journey and eradicate pain points or friction but have succeeded in elevating the customer experience and at the same time, become more operationally efficient. Smiles all round.
If we were to compare the energy sector to that of aviation, Richard Branson summed it up very well: “Look, I think that when we started Virgin Atlantic 30 years ago, we had one 747 competing with the airlines that had an average of 300 planes each. Every single one of those have gone bankrupt because they didn’t have customer service. They had might, but they didn’t have customer service, so customer service is everything in the end.” What will the energy sector look like in 10, 20 or 30 years if things don’t change?
AI in its current form is only part of the solution. AI requires a deeper understanding of customer needs so that it is an enabler rather than the answer for its own sake. The balance of AI vs. human interactions in the Customer Experience needs to be carefully orchestrated.
Does your C-Suite champion the Customer Experience? Is your CEO committed to Customer Experience success? The protagonists in your customer experience need to be shrewdly put in place.
As is often quoted, Customer Experience is not a department; it is a culture, a mindset and a way of doing business. CEO’s need to lead from the top, instilling this philosophy whilst harnessing their employees to deliver a consistent and valuable experience for customers over the long-term.
There are many more ‘excellent’ brands in the US in terms of customer experience. Some 58 brands (up from 24) in the US this year are categorized as delivering an ‘excellent’ or outstanding customer experience, according to the KMPG Nunwood calculations. Compare this to just four companies who cross that threshold in the UK. Evidently this means that brands in the UK are lagging by a factor of 15.
What would happen if your favourite coffee shop started acting like a bank? With an automated order system producing your caffeine fix based on assumptions, there would be no chance of a tall, soya milk cappuccino with sugar free vanilla syrup and an extra shot of Guatemalan espresso!
Customer Experience transformation requires a joined-up understanding of the end to end customer journey and the role that the call centre plays in this customer journey. Add to that, the challenge of how to align the role of technology related touchpoints and establish how humans and technology co-exist seamlessly (another subject for another day)!
Surveys are a key part of the big business of Customer Experience Management and Voice of Customer programmes – but they have become a victim of their own success. Your survey should be just one tool, supporting a wider customer experience measurement model.