Unnecessary escalations

This spring and summer have been rough on travel.  My partner and I actually had a hotel cancel our reservation after the world ended.  It was complicated by the fact that we’d used a combination of credit card points and cash to make the reservation for two different rooms, one for us and one for my partner’s mother.

It was probably the somewhat complicated nature of the way we originally placed the reservation that made getting our refund such a mess.  Over the course of two months and four separate interactions, we spent upwards of six hours on the phone or in a chat with agents; some credit card people, some ‘points’ people (a lot of folks don’t know that in many instances, the loyalty program isn’t run by the same company with whom you have loyalty).

It was a comedy of errors each time we reached out and tried to reconcile the issue, and the refunds and return of points actually dribbled in over time with some points for one room here, the credit on the card back for the other room there, and so forth.  We couldn’t figure out what was so complicated, even given that we were dealing with two different entities, especially considering the cancellation was initiated by them in the first place.

While my partner was frustrated, I was embarrassed.  Embarrassed for our industry. (more…)

By | 2020-11-30T16:57:07+00:00 November 30th, 2020|Categories: CX Culture, CX Strategy, CX Thoughts|0 Comments

Getting CX Right: Sears PartsDirect

There’s plenty of bad CX out there.  But I had an experience not long ago with a company that was so good it’s inspired me to start a new feature in my writing (and new category on the blog) today called “Getting CX Right” to celebrate those organizations (naming names!) that knock it out of the park.  Here’s the first installation: (more…)

By | 2020-11-24T16:47:03+00:00 November 24th, 2020|Categories: CX Thoughts, Getting CX Right|0 Comments

Good CX Principle #5: Every Customer Elite

We’re now up to the last of the Five Principles of CX (you can find an introduction to this series here, and parts one, two, three, and four at these links), Every Customer Elite.  This may sound like the usual boilerplate feel-goodery that comes with CX leaders and writers all the time:  Put the Customers first!  Make every Customer experience perfect!  Always and everywhere at every time and in every instance do whatever it takes to completely and totally amaze the Customer!  Put your Customers at the center of your operations!  (Wait, what is it?  Put them first? Or put them at the center?)  It goes on and on…

But this principle applies mostly to those of us in the Customer service or Customer support arena.  There are applications along the entire Customer journey, but mainly this principle is reserved for those Customers we’ve already failed.  Now, it may not be a huge fail…like a true recovery event.  It may simply be that they tried to accomplish something online and need assistance.  Their widget needn’t have broken and they’re looking for a neck to wring for this principle to apply either. (more…)

By | 2020-11-19T16:18:00+00:00 November 19th, 2020|Categories: CX Strategy, CX Thoughts, Principles of Good CX|0 Comments

Good CX Principle #4: No near-misses

We’re up now to the fourth of the Five Principles of CX:  No Near Misses.  We’ve covered already how it’s our responsibility to avoid issues in the first place (Principle 1, Get It Right) and how important it is to keep the lines of communication open and take on the stress of our own internal processes so our Customers don’t have to (Principles 2 and 3).  This principle has as much to do with impressions as it does with the actual experiences we deliver for our Customers.

We’re all familiar with the joke about the window of time to expect service for utilities at your home being huge compared to the time it may take to do the work:  “We’ll be there between 8am and noon or 1pm and 5pm.”  As maddening as that may be (and as inconvenient as it may be to block out your whole morning for an appointment), at least you know when they’ll be there.  These days a lot of service providers have gotten the memo and broken the code and figured out how to do a better job of accommodating their Customers with smaller windows and even a heads-up when they’re on the way.

With this improved specificity, however, comes another lurking danger:  Not meeting those expectations when set.  In fact, that better more narrow window becomes something Customers will rely on more and many will build their day around that more specific time period as if it were any other appointment they have to keep. (more…)

By | 2020-11-18T15:55:51+00:00 November 18th, 2020|Categories: CX Strategy, CX Thoughts, Principles of Good CX|0 Comments

Good CX Principle #3: Take on the stress

Today I’m posting the third article in a five-part series on the Principles of Good CX.  There’s an intro to the series here, and parts one and two are here and here, respectively.

I’ve previously mentioned the tongue-in-cheek observation that our jobs would all be a lot easier without the Customers, right?  (Forget that our jobs would not exist without Customers, of course, but that’s part of the joke.)  One reason some of our front-line team members feel that way is because they’re usually trying to help Customers navigate our own internal processes when they need help.  Forget that, well, it’s our job to do that, and let’s concentrate on what it means from our Customers’ perspective.  The reason it may seem like drudgery at times to hand-hold a Customer as they try to wend their way through our online interface or manage a return event is that we’re so used to it.  We know how things work, and from that perspective, it makes the work of explaining it over and over again all day long a bit of a grind.  I’m sympathetic, believe me.

But if we walk in our Customers’ shoes we’ll find that our processes aren’t as straightforward or simple as we think they are.  After all, that’s why they had to contact us for help in the first place.  And frankly, they don’t have the time or inclination to concern themselves with our internal processes.  This is the heart of the third of the Five Principles of CX:  Take on the Stress. (more…)

By | 2020-11-16T15:46:23+00:00 November 16th, 2020|Categories: CX Culture, CX Strategy, CX Thoughts, Principles of Good CX|0 Comments

Good CX Principle #2: Communicate

In this, the second installment of a five-part series on the Principles of Good CX (Intro here, and Part One here), I’ll present the principle of Communication.  It’s pretty obvious that this is important, but that makes it even more surprising that so many organizations get it so wrong.

I recently spent literally two weeks waiting to hear back from my insurance company on a property claim.  It was a complicated issue (for me, at least, as the Customer) that entailed my insurance company, my neighbor’s insurance company, and the insurance company that covers my HOA.  There were all sorts of complicated (again, for me, I’m not in insurance) dealings between the three carriers having to do with liability and competing deductibles, and meanwhile, I had tradespeople working on repairs to our place who were wondering when and via whom they’d be paid. (more…)

By | 2020-11-12T15:57:05+00:00 November 12th, 2020|Categories: Consulting, CX Strategy, CX Thoughts, Principles of Good CX|0 Comments

Good CX Principle #1: Get it Right

In my time as a CX professional, I’ve developed what I call the Five Principles of CX.  I’ll go through them over the course of five articles starting here with the first one:  Get It Right (GIR).  (I posted an introduction to the series here.)  Although not universally the case, and it’s not a good idea to limit it just this way, a lot of folks consider CX in terms mostly of Customer support.  That is to say, that most of the time when we consider improving CX, we look to how we handle Customer requests when something’s gone wrong.

This is a narrow view, and we should avoid considering CS as the totality of CX.  A Customer’s experience begins before he or she even comes into direct contact with our brand—through word of mouth, online reviews, or just the sound the name of our business makes when spoken out loud—let alone has problems with our goods or services.  That said, though, Customer support can help us greatly when it comes to improving our CX. (more…)

By | 2020-11-11T19:25:28+00:00 November 11th, 2020|Categories: Consulting, CX Culture, CX Strategy, CX Thoughts, Principles of Good CX|0 Comments

An introduction to the Principles of Good CX

I wouldn’t be a self-serving, self-promoting consultant if I didn’t have a few frameworks to show you, so at the risk of shaming myself and losing my membership card, here’s another one.  Over the course of five articles, I’ll get into each of them, but here I’ll lay out what I term the Principles of Good CX. (more…)

By | 2020-11-09T16:03:40+00:00 November 9th, 2020|Categories: Consulting, CX Strategy, CX Thoughts, Principles of Good CX|0 Comments

Two roles of a Chief Customer Officer

The concept of a Chief Customer Officer (CCO or, sometimes, CXO) is still pretty fresh for a lot of organizations.  I’ve even posted a video to go over some of the simple questions like, Why should you have a CCO and what are the benefits?  But just what a CCO is sometimes feels foreign, even though the responsibilities are pretty simple to analogize to other leadership roles in any organization.  As with these other positions, the job can be broadly broken down into two main hats the CCO wears: one as a leader and representative of an important part of the organization on the leadership team, and the other focused functionally and inwardly.

If that sounds familiar, it should.  In much the same way as the Chief Finance Officer is responsible not only for the day-to-day keeping of the books but also for bringing insights from that bookkeeping into the leadership team in order to offer guidance and expert opinion on what those finances are saying and what we should do about it, the Chief Customer Officer likewise has a team of CX experts deriving Customer-centric insights and acting on them (day-to-day functions), while also representing that part of the business in a collaborative effort to make the best strategic decisions as a leadership team on behalf of the organization.

When it comes to the CCO functional responsibilities, they fall into three categories:  the Voice of the Customer (VoC) program, Process Engineering (PE), and Customer-centric culture.  These all work together to create an ecosystem from which the CCO draws insights to inform the rest of the leadership team (the other part of the CCO’s job) about how decisions they make will impact the Customer and the impact that will have on the organization as a whole. (more…)

By | 2020-11-05T16:00:51+00:00 November 5th, 2020|Categories: CX Jobs, CX Strategy, CX Thoughts, Leadership|0 Comments