Behaviours at the front line are being driven by the need to deliver a score rather than an experience.
As I sit in the car showroom waiting for my invoice to be printed out, the Sales Advisor passes me an iPad and asks if I’d mind completing a customer satisfaction survey.
He explains it’s from head office and it’s really important for him. He then explains that in the next few days I’ll receive a dealership survey from the car manufacturer and that the scores from the manufacturer survey make a big difference to the dealership (which is true – given how manufacturers reward dealers).
Hang on! So this whole wonderful purchase experience is now overshadowed by the need to complete an NPS survey so that the dealership gets a good review…and the person I’m reviewing is sitting right in front of me.
Shouldn’t the whole purpose of measuring my satisfaction be to improve my experience? Yet, here I am feeling under pressure, a bit uncomfortable and frankly a pit peeved that I’m having to undertake more paperwork - simply to ensure the right ‘score’ for the dealership.
I know this is not specific to one particular dealership or car manufacturing as a sector but it is symptomatic of the increasing focus on NPS or CSat scores as both a measure of customer satisfaction and a proxy for improved performance.
The attraction of a 20% improvement in Customer Satisfaction increasing revenue by 15% (McKinsey & Co) or 86% of buyers being willing to pay more for a better experience (Forbes) is a no brainer. However, it now seems that behaviours at the front line, where it matters the most in terms of the customer, are being driven by the need to deliver a score rather than an experience.
Meanwhile, back at head office, they will be nodding sagely as scores increase, thinking that the business is improving or, perhaps more likely, wondering why improving NPS scores are not translating through to the promised business benefits. And therein lies the dilemma.
Measurement is clearly important, but what’s far more important is how any measurement process is used to drive behavior at the front line and head office. Instead of a broad brush tick box exercise around measurement, which will only ever result in a quantitative ‘survey’ approach with your customers (as well as an aftertaste of annoyance), businesses should be thinking more qualitatively to use their NPS process to change specific activities and actions.
Here’s our top five things to think about to ensure your NPS or CSat measurement process actually improves your customer experience:
Be specific - discuss and agree at Head Office what particular processes need to be looked at and focus your measurement approach on talking to customers about how they would like these to be different
Provide training - train and monitor your frontline staff on the behaviours you want and expect to see for the benefit of the customer, including how to approach the customer satisfaction measurement process
Educate people - Remind all of your people that NPS or CSat is simply a tool to help focus on what’s important and not an objective or outcome in it’s own right. The objective is a happy customer not a completed survey
Reward the right behaviours – Ensure the reward model drives the right behaviours that does not rely solely on the scores. Look instead at the outcomes and behaviours that determine the scores
Engage the whole business – It’s not just front line employees who can impact on customer satisfaction. Ensure that approporiate customer measures are embedded across the organisation.
We all know about the carrot and stick syndrome. It's human nature to do what gets measured. If you want to get the desired results from a customer experience point view, take the target of NPS away and embed a more holistic approach to customer satisfaction insight instead. After all any NPS scores are only ever directional, pointing out the areas that, from a customer perspective, require attention.
The next time you look at your customer experience measures, NPS or CSat, reflect on how these numbers and importantly, the process that generates them, are tangibly helping to improve the customer experience or are they simply being viewed as a target to be hit?
In 2018 will we see something new in CX or will it be more of the same? If it is more of the same, then the experience gap that has opened will only get bigger. 2018 needn’t be another year of unfulfilled promise. Using the 6 E’s will help your company succeed. Rethinking your CX around my 6 themes will help ensure a Smiling Company and Happy Customers.
2017 promised such a lot. There was the motivation and there were clear opportunities to really begin to make a significant difference for customers and close the recognised experience gap.Success in 2018 will come from a refocus. We have a huge opportunity to close the experience and expectation gap. If nothing else, to be successful in refocusing on the customer
A short-termist approach of ‘fixing’ what may not be working, but isn’t necessarily of value to the customer, of ignoring the customer’s emotional experience and of keeping responsibility for the customer confined to a small number of people within the organisation means we may not see the current disappointing situation change for some time.
There is a real and present risk to this movement towards greater customer centricity and ultimately better experiences for our customers.
Every day we hear more about how technology is changing the world for customers and employees alike. We live in a rapidly developing world where virtual meets reality. Even brands are investing heavily in IT not only to be able to more deliver efficiently their customer experience but also to interact with customers on a more personal (data led) level. The art is to blend digital and real-world together and present one consistent face of the brand.
Building brand value, customer life time value and winning sustainable loyalty need to be uppermost in retailers’ minds. Black Friday customer interactions need to maintain a brand’s story in an authentic way whilst engaging in the customer experience. Think of it as an opportunity to showcase and engage with customers – where the customer’s experience is positive, painless, seamless, and relevant to them.
I would suggest that companies should not focus exclusively on efficiency, simplicity and optimisation of the rational and functional elements of the customer journey; they alone do not make up the whole customer experience.
Sometimes, change and customer experience optimisation is about baby steps. Sometimes, small steps can result in bigger leaps, or compounded marginal gains. For some organisations, this is a more realistic and successful approach than the implementation of a big CX transformation programme with a well-constructed business case, where the results may be similar in the end.
first direct have recognised that what set them apart for many years – their superior customer service, is not enough to stay ahead. first direct are constantly seeking to improve the basics and at the same time invest in innovation centred on the customer. Customer work, at first direct, is never done.