The new book is out!  Pick it up here!


Customer screw-ups are your fault

Some of your Customers are idiots.

Hey, full disclosure, that includes me.

In fact, in some circles, I’m known as the “LCD,” or least-common denominator.  As the joke goes, Z is the dimmest bulb in the group, and as such, if I get something, everybody should be able to understand it.

Self-deprecation aside, the much-more-straight-faced point I’m making here is that we as brands need to develop our systems for the lowest-common-denominator Customer.  I don’t mean to treat our Customers like idiots, but…well, kind of to do that, yeah.

As I consider this concept, I’m taken back to a situation I recently wrote about where I had a difference of perspective from a brand I was dealing with.  As per their policy, they characterized what’d happened as my having made an error.  The point of my previous article was:  Even if so; so what?  Forget who’s gotten what wrong…the brand should hold some interest in making sure I’m satisfied as a Customer…that’s what goodwill gestures are all about.

But there’s another side to this; a more transactional perspective.  And it’s something that brands are even more loath to consider (mostly because it takes more work):  By and large, your Customers’ errors are your fault. […]

By |April 16th, 2024|Categories: Consulting, CX Culture, CX Strategy, CX Thoughts, Process Engineering|

They’re already robots

All the rage these days in Contact Center online webinars and consortia is the topic of automation and “AI”… “Bots”, “ChatGPT” (I still don’t understand what that does, but apparently, as far as you know, I’m using it to write this article right now.)

The ominous overtone to most of these conversations is that Robots are coming for your Contact Center!

Now, things like automation and self-help have been with us for a while, and it’s advanced civilization—if you don’t mind my getting a little melodramatic about it all.  After all, when’s the last time you had to call or email somebody to reset your password for a website?  Certain things lend themselves to self-assistance.  I’ve bought and sold stocks and index fund shares over an app on my phone while on the elliptical machine at my gym.

When it comes to things like Contact Centers and Customer Support and Customer Care organizations, some people are seeing this trend as “writing on the wall.” […]

By |April 2nd, 2024|Categories: Consulting, CX Culture, CX Strategy, CX Thoughts, Leadership|

Gate-keeper or problem-solver?

I wrote recently about how the term “representative” can take on a different meaning depending on whether you consider your front-line agents as representatives of you as a brand, or of your Customers as they navigate your systems.

When dealing with a hospitality brand recently, that came to mind.  There was a discrepancy and I kept repeating my point with every new escalation (I was passed off from one department to anther a couple times, and then up the supervisory chain).  At every point, all I got from the folks on the phone was a reiteration of the company’s policy.  Okay, I get your policy.  In fact, I was aware of it before I called.  That’s actually kind of why I’m calling.  What I’m asking for isn’t an explanation of it (over and over again from different people), but rather an exception to it (which reminded me of another article I’d recently penned, about not taking ‘no’ as an answer from someone who’s not authorized to say, ‘yes’).  Your telling me what your policy is over and over doesn’t change anything from my perspective. […]

By |March 19th, 2024|Categories: Consulting, CX Culture, CX Strategy, CX Thoughts|

Who can?

I once had a great co-worker and mentor who, when teaching his Lean Six Sigma courses, would drop the quote:  “Never take ‘No’ as an answer from somebody who doesn’t have the authority to say ‘Yes.’”

Now, in his context, we were talking about internal politics and change management in general.  As he was putting it, while working on a project, if you’re getting push-back from someone you’re working with, think hard about whether that person is simply gate-keeping or actually even has the permissions to make a change to a process or system.

As my career has evolved into Customer Experience, that’s a sentiment (and catchphrase, for that matter) that I’ve carried along with me.  Guardians at the gate, whose job, it seems, is to keep Customers from satisfactorily solving their issues, is one of the most common frustrations Customers have when dealing with brands.  The philosophy, some companies seem to have, is that Customers will tire out if they’re told ‘no’ enough times as we escalate.

How’s that for being Customer-centric? […]

By |March 5th, 2024|Categories: Consulting, CX Culture, CX Strategy, CX Thoughts, Leadership|

Some Customers Never Learn

“Your feedback is important to us.”  Sometimes those are just words.  And some Customers are suckers and will fall for it.

A while back, I had some work done with a service provider and, to say the least, the experience was not up to snuff whatsoever.  This was a luxury brand and as such I’d expected some pretty fantastic attention to detail, and to me as the Customer.

Our service lead was gracious and helpful…well, as helpful as he could be:  The organization’s systems and processes were very much not conducive to this poor fellow being able to deliver the sort of experience even he’d have preferred.  He was trying mightily and even seemed a bit apologetic about how he’d prefer to do this or that for me, would like to help me out with this or the other, but simply wasn’t able to.  In some instances, what I wanted was available, but he didn’t have the authority to deliver it.  It was the classic lack of Enablement and Empowerment  that I see far too often with far too many brands.

But the feedback was the saddest part of the experience for me. […]

By |February 20th, 2024|Categories: Consulting, CX Culture, CX Strategy, CX Thoughts, VoC|

Representative for whom?

Folks who work in your Customer-facing organizations have a lot of different names.  Agents, technicians, associates (which always makes me chuckle a little bit), service providers, and others.

One that often makes me think is:  Representative.

It’s curious to me because it can go either way, can’t it?  Whenever I get a ‘representative’ on the phone, I wonder:  A representative for whom?  Does that ever cross your mind? […]

By |February 6th, 2024|Categories: Consulting, CX Culture, CX Strategy, CX Thoughts, Leadership|
Go to Top