Do you remember the old commercial for Tombstone Pizza? The tagline was, “What do you want your tombstone?” (By the way, if you clicked through and it’s driving you crazy, the character actor is a fellow by the name of Oliver Muirhead, and if you also share my obsession with Seinfeld, he played Lubeck the pastry appraiser in the episode “The Frogger” who told Peterman that he could get an Entenmann’s—who do not have a castle in Windsor—in the display case at the end of the aisle.) Dark humor aside, it made me wonder how we sometimes gear our VoC programs to hear what we want to hear, and as a result, back our Customers into a corner.
Let’s take a deeper look at that. […]
As an Air Force Reservist, I’m always on the lookout for the ‘military discount’ to save a buck or two. Many brands offer a markdown of some sort: Flash your Common Access Card (CAC, the unnecessary obviously-has-to-be-an-acronym term we use to mean, “Military ID”) at checkout, and a lot of places knock 5, 10, or even 15 percent off the total for your purchases. […]
If you manufacture widgets, you may have market dominance based on being super-duper great at making widgets. Perhaps you’ve got a niche in a particular type of widget or a certain feature. Likewise, if you’re a service provider and you have perfected a certain sort of experience in delivering that service to your market, you’re likely in a very comfortable position because when people want not just the service you provide, but want it in the way you provide it specifically, they know you’re the one to deliver. In either instance, however commoditized your product or service has become, you’ve differentiated yourself (and so have become very competent in that differentiated experience) enough that within the world of what you sell, how you deliver yours is what you’re known for…business comes to you from people who want it like you do it. And to put a finer point on it, lots of business doesn’t come to you (because other players in your field offer these things with a different touch that you don’t care to provide), and that’s cool too.
Wise players in certain lines of business own several different brands that can appeal to various tastes: Nissan owns Infiniti, for example; and the InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) includes brands ranging from Kimpton and Crowne Plaza to Holiday Inn Express and Staybridge Suites. Smart leaders in these organizations will maintain overarching corporate principles and values, but leave the branding (and fulfillment of the distinct Brand Promises) to each of their subsidiaries to best leverage their respective niches. […]
Nothing is 100%. Things fail, products break, even very important services go dark from time to time. A Customer who expects and demands perfection is certain to be disappointed pretty often, and in fact is being somewhat unreasonable, if you ask me.
With this understood and its obvious importance, then, why is Customer Support so often the place where CX takes the hardest hit? Surely some Customers are emotional or freaking out when something doesn’t go right. But for the most part, people understand that accidents happen and we live in an imperfect world. As upset as a Customer may be, when they call in needing support, they’re likely entering with a good degree of generosity and goodwill, even if tinged a bit by anxiety. So why do so many brands squander that? […]
May I offer a modest suggestion about CX? Here it is:
The purpose of Customer Experience as an endeavor (a department, a practice, a field of study, etc.) is to improve the alignment between what your company says it’s all about (call it mission/vision, corporate values/principles, or simply Brand Promise) and the experience your Customers have when they interact with your brand. […]
I’ve written previously about how silly things like Net Promotor Score’s ‘Likelihood to Recommend’ question can seem. I think, generally, that comes more from a place of complacency than downright lunacy. It’s more likely people are asking questions like that less because they’re off their rocker than simply because, well, that’s what everybody is asking.
So the solution to such groupthink, I think, is to start…thinking.