Do you love your Customers as much as your employees do?

We hear all the time that hiring is destiny:  You have to be very careful when looking for new team members—especially those who are on the front-line and Customer facing—that they’re empathetic, Customer-focused, and just plain nice.  In fact, there’s an entire cottage industry growing around hiring for your support/services/sales teams to ensure you’ve got the right fit.  Once they’re in the door, we spend tons of time (and money!) explaining our processes and procedures to our new hires so they can make an impact right away.  We may enable them with some of the greatest technology, give them awesome benefits packages, and even stock the fridge in the break room for them.  Volleyball pits, shuffleboards, ping-pong, you name it.  We’ve given them everything they need for work, and play, it seems.

Then they sit down at their desks, put on their headsets, and take calls.

And the wheels fall off. (more…)

By | 2021-01-14T15:29:36+00:00 January 14th, 2021|Categories: CX Culture, CX Strategy, CX Thoughts|0 Comments

When you can’t answer, “Why?”

I wrote recently about an incident at a local grocery store that sparked some thought about how sometimes we provide excuses instead of offering solutions.  Likewise, sometimes at my gym, I come across a piece of equipment that’s out of order for some reason or another.  Usually, there’s a note pinned to it alerting us that it’s not to be used.  To some degree, I’m sure the team member whose job it is to put that sign on the equipment considered his job ‘done.’  The person whose job it is to fix it?  That’s another story.

Anyway, the punchline of these and other similar experiences is that Customers aren’t as interested in hearing about why their experience can’t be better (what we’d call in other scenarios “excuses”), they just want them to be better. (more…)

By | 2021-01-11T16:32:23+00:00 January 11th, 2021|Categories: CX Culture, CX Strategy, CX Thoughts|0 Comments

Whose problem are you solving?

I’ve written about Customer Effort Score (CES) before and kind of chided the intractability of defining it specifically.  Of course, it’s not fair to pick on CES, as I’ve written in other instances, even common definitions like First Contact Resolution runs into definitional problems when they encounter actual Customer opinions (we all have our own definitions).

But specifically, when it comes to Effort (or, as I sometimes will call it, “hassle”), I remember a wise Process Engineer who used to work for me once noted:  “we’re defining ‘hassle’ from our own perspective.”  And he was correct to point it out in that instance.  I wonder:  Are you doing the same? (more…)

By | 2021-01-07T16:49:39+00:00 January 7th, 2021|Categories: CX Strategy, CX Thoughts, Process Engineering, VoC|0 Comments

It’s the experience, not the channel

Surely I’m late to the game on this but I had always found it curious and interesting to read accounts of peoples’ CX and more specifically support experiences through Twitter.  The concept of pinging a business via their public handle and then getting a resolution seemed pretty cool to me.  It’s mostly anecdotal but I feel the vast majority of those instances were travel-related.  It may be because that’s all I think about these days, what with the world shut down.  But if I remember correctly it usually had to do with people otherwise having issues checking into a hotel or in-the-moment flight cancellations and such.  The scenario usually went somewhat like this:  I had an issue with this airline or hotel chain right there at the gate or in the lobby checking in.  So I pulled out my phone and tweeted them and within a few minutes, I was all squared away thanks to their crack team of tweeters who jumped on my case and resolved it for me right away.  The vision I conjured in my mind was a cadre of little elves flipping switches behind the scenes, unleashed by this great new immediate technology.  Needless to say, I was skeptical but intrigued nonetheless.

Recently, I gave it a shot myself.  I performed an experiment wherein I engaged with a couple of big companies through their Twitter.  I’ll reserve the names because none of them really came through the way I’d anticipated. (more…)

By | 2021-01-04T16:22:32+00:00 January 4th, 2021|Categories: CX Strategy, CX Thoughts|0 Comments

CYA is not CX

The other day I spent about 45 minutes round-trip (short by standards…read on) and about $45 mailing Christmas cards.  Happy Holidays to our family and friends who receive one from us!

I use the word “mailing” deliberately because that’s all I was doing.  I wasn’t shopping for them, digging through my computer to find the file where I keep my list, writing them, addressing them, or stamping them.  This was just to mail them.  Some of them are a bit bulky, and the box of cards we bought this year (a very clever, diverse, and creative collection of truly lovely cards with lots of adornments and festoonery) even came with the caveat that they “may require additional postage.”  So, just to be safe, I bundled up and headed out to the post office.  At this time of year, doing that at 5pm wasn’t the best idea, but I got lucky and headed right to the front of the line.  That’s where my luck ended. (more…)

By | 2020-12-17T15:52:43+00:00 December 17th, 2020|Categories: CX Culture, CX Strategy, CX Thoughts|0 Comments

CX professionals are the best (and worst) Customers

The Wall Street Journal has a daily column called “Best of the Web Today.”  Its originator, James Taranto, created it as a bit of a light-hearted end-of-the-day quick-hit piece with a bit of political commentary thrown in as well.  A recurring gag is to make little jokes about headlines published around the Web that, regardless of the actual story attached, sound funny or irreverent when read on their own.  A meme he used a lot was to append a clever label to such headlines as, say, “Florida man critical after bout with runaway gator” pithily with:  “Everyone’s a Critic”.  When it comes to Customer experience, all of us CXers are, well…critics, no?

And if we’re doing it right, if we’re truly curious and hungry to learn about CX broadly, we’re actually looking for the good and the bad in our experiences with brands.  Just like a food critic doesn’t want it known that the restaurant he or she is visiting is being evaluated, lest they go all out to deliver a spectacular meal just for the review, and just like a theater critic wants to (to the extent possible) see the performance through the eyes of his or her readers, we as CX professionals won’t learn much if we all treat each other better than the average Customer.

That has an upside and a downside.  We as CX professionals can be the best Customers but also sometimes the worst. (more…)

By | 2020-12-14T16:36:57+00:00 December 14th, 2020|Categories: Consulting, CX Culture, CX Jobs, CX Strategy, CX Thoughts|0 Comments

Communication is key

One of my Five Principles of Good CX is Communication.  You can screw a lot of things up with your Customers and they’ll still forgive you, but if you’re keeping information from them or leaving them in the dark, there’s really little excuse.  Sometimes you don’t know things, but letting them know you don’t know is at least better than leaving them to wonder if you’re even paying attention. (more…)

By | 2020-12-07T17:05:11+00:00 December 7th, 2020|Categories: CX Strategy, CX Thoughts, Principles of Good CX|0 Comments

Your CES isn’t telling you enough

With all due deference to Matt Dixon, sometimes “effort” is a tricky thing to define.  I worked with one team that ran around and around about it constantly it seemed.  Matt’s Customer Effort Score (CES) metric basically asks the Customer to rank his or her satisfaction with the amount of effort expended to solve an issue or otherwise accomplish something.

Now, right away you can see the question begged:  How do we even know the issue has been solved in the first place?  This, of course, goes to an age-old conundrum of how we can ensure a Customer’s issue has been solved before we send out a survey for feedback, regardless of the survey type.  After all, it’s insult added to injury if we ask, “hey, how’d we do?” while the Customer is still waiting for a solution.  But let’s put that issue aside for now as it’s a common concern (NPS, C-SAT, and all the others have the same limitation). (more…)

By | 2020-12-03T16:04:08+00:00 December 3rd, 2020|Categories: CX Strategy, CX Thoughts, Measures & Metrics, VoC|0 Comments

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