When Customer Support is the only number Part II

Last week I wrote about an interaction I had with a large well-known brand that provides services for homeowners.  It was a cautionary tale about how challenging it is to actually communicate with some brands.

A brief overview of that instance:  At home, we had a service provider with which we’d had a pretty mundane failure, and they fixed us up right away.  In the course of that incident, however, we discovered a more severe potential issue, but we had no way to communicate—or even look into—our concern about that, because it wasn’t related to the actual support incident itself and Support was actually an impediment to us addressing it.  Again, that brand is a huge, well-known name in their market, and my conclusion was that they likely simply didn’t care because they were so big; corporate inertia, and so forth.

As it happens, at about the same time we also had an incident with a smaller, start-up brand, that just happens to be in the home-services sector as well.  This is that story, which actually has some curious similarities, even though the brands are in such different places. (more…)

By | 2022-01-19T16:46:46+00:00 January 19th, 2022|Categories: Consulting, CX Culture, CX Strategy, CX Thoughts|0 Comments

When Customer Support is the only number Part I

I had a support incident a while back with one of the service providers we use in our home.  In fact, I had two incidents in close succession with two different brands. Each situation was similar in nature:  There was a technical issue that was quickly and easily rectified, but on further inspection (the technical issue brought to light), I realized that I wasn’t really getting what I’d expected out of the services I was paying for.  One of the brands is a large well-known home-service provider that I’ll write about here.  The other was a smaller, start-up brand also in the home-service field, and I’ll write about that in another article.  Both of them, however…and possibly for different reasons…displayed the same myopia when it came to my concerns as a Customer.

Without getting too specific about or directly calling out the big brand, the business model is that we pay a monthly service fee and as part of that, this company monitors one of the systems we have hooked up in the house.  At one point we noticed that our system was offline:  not working or responding to the remote function we have through apps on our phones.  Only, we weren’t alerted that there was a problem, rather we had to find out on our own after who-knows-how-long of our system not being operational.  Until then, we’d assumed that the company was actively keeping track of the status and health of the system…we’d surely be alerted via our app if, say, the system went offline.  Turns out not. (more…)

By | 2022-01-12T16:45:12+00:00 January 12th, 2022|Categories: Consulting, CX Culture, CX Strategy, CX Thoughts|0 Comments

The pilot cares the least

So, here’s a controversial statement, but keep in mind what I’m not saying*:  Usually, your flight crew, including the pilot, is the least motivated people on the plane to get where you’re going, let alone on time.

This occurred to me last year when I went on a mileage run.  The same crew that flew me from Denver to Los Angeles was flying me right back again about 45 minutes later on the exact same plane.  Or at least, that was the plan.

After we landed at LAX, I took the chance to check out the airline’s lounge and have a drink.  I was alerted via the app that my return flight was delayed ‘due to weather’ back in Denver.  Hm, really?  I’d just flown from there (and boy were my arms tired!).  Not only was it beautiful when we left, but we hadn’t passed any weather on the way out.  Conditions can change quickly, so I checked my weather app.  It was clear as ever, a beautiful day back home.

Now, my point isn’t necessarily to call shenanigans on those making the decision about the weather, rather for some reason I immediately thought of the pilot.  He surely didn’t have anything to do with it, but he likely didn’t pick up his phone and check his weather app to see if there really was weather like I and probably most passengers had, and neither did anybody else in the crew, I imagine.  That’s because he doesn’t have to care about it in any meaningful way personally.

You see, when you think about it, pilots, flight attendants, and all those folks in the air with you are all simply doing their jobs.  These jobs are important and, for the most part, they all do them well and admirably while also caring about their Customers.  But… (more…)

By | 2022-01-05T17:57:53+00:00 January 5th, 2022|Categories: Consulting, CX Culture, CX Strategy, CX Thoughts|0 Comments

When your numbers are more important than your Customers

I was flying home to Denver a few months back from a business trip.  It was an evening flight, perhaps not the last flight on the route (it was hub-to-hub for the airline, so the route sees a lot of traffic), but close to it, and we were—of course—late getting in.  It was a mechanical issue, not weather, so we were a flight that was alone in its circumstance.  Sometimes when there’s weather impacting a city (whether departure or destination), there’s a feeling that, well, at least the whole place is a mess.  There’s something more isolating when it’s only your flight that’s delayed.

Since I was coming home, I was a little perturbed, but not too concerned.  I, of course, wanted to get home from my trip, but once the plane landed, other than the drive, my travels were basically over.  As often happens, on approach the flight attendant came across the intercom and asked those of us who were terminating (I never liked that turn of phrase in this situation) in Denver to step aside and allow those trying to connect to deplane (another term I never liked) first. (more…)

By | 2021-12-22T16:29:38+00:00 December 22nd, 2021|Categories: CX Culture, CX Strategy, CX Thoughts|0 Comments

It’s not your fault but it is your responsibility

I recently wrote about how important it is that brands not just be competent in delivering the products or services they provide to their Customers.  From perusing your website, to making a selection there or in a physical location, to paying, to delivery, use, and re-purchase, Customers engage with your company along an entire journey filled with touchpoints not only directly related to what you build or do, but also in ways you might not even consider.  If your Brand Promise is ease-of-use, you may make your product uncomplicated and simple.  But if your ordering process or refund and exchange requirements are not simple, you’ve missed the mark in fulfilling that Brand Promise.

What’s tricky is that often, you actually have little direct control because you’re dealing with outside entities.  Perhaps you contract or otherwise partner with another company to help you out, like last-mile delivery or sub-contracted service providers.  But how closely do you monitor them, and how do you hold them to account for delivering your Brand Promise?  Or do you even bother? (more…)

By | 2021-12-08T16:07:50+00:00 December 8th, 2021|Categories: Consulting, CX Culture, CX Strategy, CX Thoughts|0 Comments

Adversity brings out true character

There’s a saying that you can really tell a lot about people’s character by seeing how they handle adversity.  Sure, when things are going well, everybody’s got a great disposition, the idea goes.  But it’s when we’re tested that our true selves show through.

I was thinking of that recently when we had an Internet outage here at home.  Now, anybody who expects perfect 100% around-the-clock unfailing coverage of services such as Internet is being unreasonable.  I’m not sure what planet those Customers call home, but it’s not the one of humans and systems that go down from time to time.  So yes, failure, even if rare, is inevitable.  And that’s the point that brings us around to that old saying:  How well brands plan for the inevitable (and therefore totally foreseeable, if not specifically schedulable) failures of their systems—and this goes for those brands who sell products too, not just service providers—tells us a lot about their dedication to their Customers.

It’s pertinent because here’s what happened: (more…)

By | 2021-12-02T16:01:36+00:00 December 2nd, 2021|Categories: CX Culture, CX Strategy, CX Thoughts|0 Comments

Where’s your deli?

Here’s a random thought that occurred to me the other day.  I promise I’m going somewhere with it, though:

The deli should be at the front of a grocery store.  Now, I’m in way over my head here, because I’m sure that there’s a lot that goes into the planning of the layout of such places and I’m no expert—an expert may tell me why I’m totally wrong from some sort of architectural perspective or feng shui reasoning.  But I’m going to stick with this proposition, at least from a Customer’s perspective:  Folks who are just running in to pick something up are often looking for something quick to eat, or perhaps are in a panic that they’ve got sudden guests.  Come to think of it, for that matter, the bakery should be out there too.  And you know what else?  (I’m getting greedy now, I know, I know.)  Put it on the side of the store where you also have the self-checkout lanes (if you only have them on one side). (more…)

By | 2021-10-28T14:46:39+00:00 October 28th, 2021|Categories: CX Culture, CX Strategy, CX Thoughts|0 Comments

Rethinking the ROI of CX

Articulating the return on investment (ROI) of Customer Experience efforts is a recurring theme among CX professionals.  As I moderate panels on webinars and sit as a guest on podcasts, listen to my peers talk, and read articles, I hear the questions all the time:  How do you define the ROI?  How do you sell CX to leadership?  I’ve even written about it myself on several occasions.

I know some of my fellow CX consultants go so far as to use the ROI of CX as their calling cards…not only engaging in the discussion but also leveraging it as the heart of their pitches to clients.  Some make bold promises and predictions, and some are simply advocates of the idea that you’ll boost your business results in some undefined (and sometimes not so undefined), yet unambiguously wonderful way with a dose of CX.  Now, of course, some are more circumspect than others, but there certainly seems to be a trend toward using things like revenues, sales, and market share as the driving reason for engaging in CX endeavors. (more…)

By | 2021-08-17T16:09:15+00:00 August 17th, 2021|Categories: Consulting, CX Culture, CX Strategy, CX Thoughts, Leadership, ROI of CX|0 Comments

Don’t abandon your Chief Customer Officer

I was recently speaking with a friend who’s a Chief Customer Officer.  She was in good spirits but nonetheless was lamenting a bit about her colleagues:  “It’s like I feel I have to defend my existence sometimes,” she said.  Oh, boy, have I been there.  My career has included time within PMOs, BPM/BPI organizations, and of course CX.  Some organizations approach these sorts of disciplines as nice-to-haves, often because it’s fashionable to put effort (or appear to do so) into these sorts of things.  At the end of a lean quarter, or if temporary business enthusiasm simply starts to ebb, you find yourself on the chopping block.  No matter how poorly sales go, it’s never sales they come looking to get rid of.  But our sorts of ‘ancillary’ organizations are often in the crosshairs.

Fortunately, my friend didn’t mean it that way.  She didn’t feel her job was on the line or that her team could be cut because people didn’t see the value.  That’s a relief.  But more frustrating for her was that she found it difficult to gain traction and buy-in for her CX improvement efforts.  She has the support of her boss, the CEO, who often speaks of the importance of CX and why having a Chief Customer Officer is so valuable.  But whenever she attempted with her peers to institute a change or to improve something in what they did in order to improve their CX, she ran into continual pushback. (more…)

By | 2021-05-04T14:56:20+00:00 May 4th, 2021|Categories: CX Culture, CX Jobs, CX Strategy, CX Thoughts, Leadership, Process Engineering|0 Comments