What CX is NOT about - 5 practices for CX success
Since I started my consulting career as a CX Specialist, I have become more observational as a customer when interacting with a brand or a company. I have so many examples of how companies destroy their relationship with the customers; in most cases they do not even realize how many OUCH experiences they deliver and what the impact is on their brand and their reputation.
Let’s see some personal examples that are NOT CX oriented:
Example 1- having excellent products without keeping a direct and personalized communication with your customer is not CX.
Recently I bought a bag from a company that sells good quality products. Later, when I tried to contact the company twice via email for a particular reason, I did not get any reply in a period of a month. I tried again by sending a message on their FB page explaining that I have contacted via email twice; the automated answer I got was "Thanks for your message, pick up the product you want from the offers, until we come back”. I attempted twice later with direct messages, and their final answer –probably automated again– was that I should contact via telephone or email to solve my problem.
The solution: Put THE CUSTOMER at the center of your business.
Put your customer first when it comes to designing a useful and differentiating CX strategy. Even if you have excellent products to sell, your customer must feel important and unique. It may sounds obvious, but companies often perceive a CX approach as delivering quality products or services, low prices or discounts, quick delivery, high-end technology apps, etc. These are not enough for delivering excellent Customer Experience. Human touch and treating your customers in a personalized & friendly manner, with human interaction, is vital for delivering superior CX.
Example 2- when your customer complaints about something, do not get offensive.
I ordered a household device from a large company via telephone. I never received a confirmation email or SMS. One week later, after a couple of attempts by me to contact the sales department, they announced me that the product is out of stock. They never informed me and the call center agent was offensive when I tried to express my dissatisfaction.
The solution: Empathize with your customer & deliver a Dazzling recovery for his complaint.
A complaint is always a challenge, an opportunity for the company -and the individual- to become better. A complaining customer is trying to keep the relationship alive with the brand or company. So there is no need to be offensive or indifferent to his request. Cultivate your team’s empathy skills, so they can handle the complaint and turn it into a chance for improvement or into a superior experience for the customer. Of course mistakes are possible in any interaction. Therefore a company with a CX strategy should already have recovery plans in waiting for converting an OUCH experience into a WOW Recovery. On the latter example, finally delivering the product –or a similar one- to the customer is not a recovery. The company should offer something extra, that the customer does not expect. 90% of recovered customers become more loyal to the brand or company –research by TARP worldwide.
Example 3- Not all touch points deliver the same experience.
Ordering a coffee from a large chain of coffee stores is much easier through the application rather than the telephone. Via the application I experienced an available catalog and price list but delivery time was over 30 minutes. Via the telephone order I didn’t have the convenience of a price list or a catalog, but the order was delivered on time; albeit, the dialog with the agent who was in a hurry, was not as friendly as I expected to be.
The solution: Include Customer Journey workshops to your CX strategy to optimize all touch points.
An effective customer experience strategy is built with intention and takes into account all the various touchpoints and tasks that a customer engages in. Great CX is "intentional, purposeful and consistent,” said Diane Magers, CEO and chairman of the board of the Customer Experience Professionals Association. And, CX is "not just about the transaction,” she added, it also "optimizes every touchpoint and takes into account all customer interactions, both online and offline.”
Running customer journey projects is the best way to help your team optimize all touch points and interactions with the customer. Take feedback from your customers, build your personas, and record all stages and interactions between the customers and the company –from awareness to purchase and after sales support. There are a lot of moments-of-truth that may be a challenge for delivering excellent experiences. Give your teams the authority to brainstorm ideas on how to better improve customer experience. You will be surprised by the creativity and pluralism of the ideas.
Example 4- Do not promise something if you cannot deliver it.
A telecommunications company has available an online chat service for its customers. I tried 3 times in 2 days and there was no agent available on it.
The solution: Brand and company promises must be aligned with customer experience.
Create brand promises only if you can deliver the experience you promise to your customers, each time they interact with your business. Systematically ensure that you live up to this promise consistently by creating a brand profile to rally everyone –staff and customers- around your brand values. The USP, the message, the promise, all details during all interactions must be executed at least as promised, to deliver to your customer excellent experiences.
Example 5- not all employees are aligned with the company’s CX concept.
Visit a retail store, let’s say a super market. You see different type of service delivery styles throughout the personnel. One may assist you to find what you are looking for by accompanying you to the particular shelf in a friendly manner, while another may simply give you directions how to find the corridor of the product you are looking for. The cashier may be friendly and smiling, or not. As a customer you may experience completely different approaches within 10 minutes!
The solution: Develop a cross-company CX culture, through all levels of management and all departments.
Communicate it through all your staff and make sure they adopt a unique approach of Customer Experience. Train your people to help them develop & improve this new skill and reward them for delivering excellence customer experiences. Do not forget; not all employees face the customer but, eventually, all serve a colleague that does.
Moreover, a CX specialist inside a company and a specialized partner are necessary to keep the CX philosophy alive through the organization via training, coaching, events, contests, newsletters and other engaging tools that help the CX concept to further grow, day-by-day. Do not forget that CX is a never ending process!
© copyright Evangelia Kouridaki