Customer Experience in 2019: What are CX Leaders talking about?

A.I. is a game changer, and it’s coming soon.

   A.I. has moved from being a resource only leveraged by cutting edge, giant tech organizations to something that can be leveraged by anyone, through managed services, out of the box, stand-alone, or bolt on options. That’s the good news. The bad news is that none of us are really sure what to do with it.

   The conversation reminds me of the conversation about the “Cloud” from years ago and the “Millennial workforce” before that. Got a problem? Let’s throw some Cloud at it. Or, is that something we can fix or do in the Cloud?

   Your action item:

A.I. is tech, not a magic box. It’s a set of tools. Learn the basics of what is in the A.I. toolbox so you can plan and leverage A.I. And for goodness sake, quit throwing A.I. around like a buzzword, or our future robot overlords will be cross with you.

 

EX is CX

  As we do more studies that pass scientific rigor and are not just “feel good” soft and fuzzies, the correlation between how your employees experience their work life emotionally and how your customers experience your service is undeniable. In fact, the correlation is so tight that we are clearly measuring the same thing. It’s not really clear that EX causes CX, or that CX causes EX. But what is clear is that if your EX goes up, your CX will go up as well. And conversely, it is unlikely that you can run an organization where customers are very happy, but employees are not.

That said, our focus must be on genuine and significant improvements to our employees’ well-being to reap the benefits of this correlation. A small monetary award is likely to have a short-term effect and will need to be repeated. But investing in options that decrease an employee’s stress at work and home will have long-term benefits.

  Your action item:

If you have a dollar to spend, spend it on your employees. But make it count. If the #1 frustration is that they are hungry because they can’t afford lunch, buy them lunch. If the #1 frustration is the way your system prevents them from taking care of their customers, fix your system.   

Design, Design, Design.

   Moments of truth are crucial in a customer’s journey with us. But those moments increasingly can be both anticipated and constructed. Having the right employee in the right place at the right time with the right tools and knowledge is too complex to be left up to chance. You cannot design your customer’s experience to ensure success at every iteration, but good design can exponentially increase the probability of success at each encounter and the likelihood of those encounters occurring.

   Your Action Item:

It’s too much to try to design everything. Take a small bite. Design some portion of your customer’s journey end to end. Measure, Rinse, Repeat.

   

Deliver

  True story. Went to a nice hotel, tried their keyless entry app, glitched, got locked out of my room. Look, the idea of keyless entry is really nice, but the key card is fine. Just let me into my room.

In the race to implement new tech, offer new services, and not get left behind, we can lose focus on the imperative of delivering on what we’ve already offered and promised. Your value proposition to your customers is never based on the enhancements you’ll make tomorrow. It’s in what you can reliably deliver today.

Customers are more forgiving of a service that can’t achieve their dream state than they are of any level of service promised and not delivered. Basic block and tackle exercises are never sexy, but it’s what strong relationships are built on.

  Your action item:

What is your defect rate? If you’re not good with it, improving it must be your #1 target. Nothing else gets done until your word that you’ll do something means something.

"It will be Okay" Photo Credit: Scott Ackerman // https://preview.tinyurl.com/ybfqm845

Why Customer Experience?

On a cold December morning when I was 22 years old, I made a stupid mistake and lost my debit card. I had $520 to my name–just enough for rent and food for myself and my expecting wife. By the time I realized my mistake and called my bank, I was scared, furious, and sure that the little bit of foothold I had made in life was about to crumble.

After two fraudulent charges equal to the majority of the money in my account were confirmed, I was transferred to a fraud specialist. Long moments passed…

“Miss Emmons, I’ve reviewed your account and I understand the situation. I want you to know you aren’t liable for unauthorized charges, and we’ll get your funds back to you within 24 hours. It’s great that you called us so soon.  I’m going to need your help to verify a few things. I’m going to ask you about a few transactions, okay?”

By the time the representative was done talking, I was calm. I felt like I was a hero. This type of thing happens to a lot of people. I was smart and responsible. I took care of it right away. I had made a good choice of a banking institution. In a few quick sentences, less than a hundred words, the trajectory of my life changed. The representative didn’t do me any special favors. They simply enacted policy but in the context of providing a great customer experience in a difficult situation.

I wasn’t a high-value customer. I wasn’t on anyone’s preferred customer list. I had negative net worth. But I was given a transformative experience instead of a transactional one.

It’s been nearly twenty years since that event. I have obtained home mortgages, credit cards, auto loans, money market accounts several times over. And I call that same bank first every time.

Customer Experience allows us to channel the power of business to make meaningful impacts at key moments in our customers’ lives. Today, maybe they are just paying a bill or setting up a reservation. But we are always on the very edge of intercepting a customer at just the right moment when a simple act of service and a little precise framing can make all the difference.

I live and breathe Customer Experience because it is where we impact lives.