Three Secret (Top Team) Reasons why we have to get more scientific about the Customer Experience

Complexity is an insidious thing. Humans seem unable to keep things simple and will add rules, reporting lines, and complications seemingly for the fun of it. And process people take it to a whole new level.

Why is that so? There is a simple answer, but many people don’t like it, or don’t want to admit it; if you pay people for doing dumb stuff they get really smart at it.

Are you rewarding people for doing dumb stuff?

Politicians are especially good at creating fiefdoms and empires, and the ones really clever at that rise above the rest, making the problem progressively worse by in-turn recruiting like minded people. 

Now as much as humans have traditionally done this, there is a new kid on the block. And this new kid is defining a whole new way of being, one that is built and operated with the customer at the center of everything.

Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t that people haven’t talked about the customer before, just this time it is very different. The new game is all about customer experience management (CEM). 

Here are a few of the meaningful stats that back this up.

According to Gartner, 89% of all businesses will compete on customer experience this year.

Another 89% believe customer experience will be their main differentiator by 2022.

The Temkin Group found that companies that earn $1 billion annually can expect to earn, on average, an additional $700 million within 3 years of investing in customer experience.

 84% of companies who claim to be customer-centric are now focusing on the mobile customer experience.97% of global consumers cite customer service as important in their brand choice and loyalty.

CX also influences on-the-spot purchasing, too – as 49% of buyers have made impulse purchases after receiving a more personalized experience.

BPG Research 2021

And for those organizations effectively embracing the customer experience CEM is much more than journey mapping and the surface experience. For the leading companies, CEM is the opportunity to connect everything they do, from the customer interaction, right through to individual task, activity, and systems that support them.

Interestingly this eradicates unnecessary complexity and creates a virtuous circle. You figure out what a successful customer outcome looks like, you align everything you do to achieve it, the customer ‘gets it’ and comes back for more, and you evolve the customer experience to be even better next time. 

It is a bit like a fitness regime as you get fitter, you get faster, you become better, and what was once difficult becomes easy.

👑 Those who Get It Win the Triple Crown

Not surprisingly great CEM drives down the cost of delivery, improves service and grows revenue. This triple crown of deliverables becomes the tangible measure of success for Customer Experience Management.

And as if this wasn’t motivation itself to do more CEM the work environment is simplified; we can increasingly reward each other for delivering results and outcomes (doing the right thing), rather than just measuring and rewarding what we do (doing things right).

That is what I mean when we say ‘let’s get more scientific about the customer experience’

Do you want to know more?

Do you want to embrace advanced Customer Centric thinking and become Outside-In?

I have just done a 3 minute explainer video for Outside-In – see it here: https://bit.ly/OIDifference

Then follow these steps….

Step #1 – Get The Book:
Outside-In The Secret *FREE* | https://bit.ly/OI2021now

Step #2 – Get The Training:
Certified Outside-In Master® | https://bit.ly/COIM2021
Certified Process Professional Master®  | https://bit.ly/CPPM21
Accredited Customer Experience Master®  | https://bit.ly/ACXM2021

Step #3 – Get the Software:
Parallel | https://bit.ly/Parallel2021

Step #4 – Connect With The Community:
LinkedIn | https://bit.ly/Steve2021

Step #5 – Keep Pace with Change
Recent Interview | http://bit.ly/STInnovation

Step #6 – New Article – Customer Obsession 
LinkedIn (3 minute read) | https://lnkd.in/dHeCJhN


The North Star Metric and Why You Need It Now

Have you got a North Star metric? It’s one of the essential things for any company looking to innovate and drive growth. If you haven’t created one yet, it is time to seriously figure it out. And today, I will be explaining what a North Star metric is, why it’s essential, and how to come up with one.

The North Star metric is the most critical. It is that Metric that would consistently deliver Successful Customer Outcomes (SCO’s) and drive sustainable growth if you focus on above all else.

For Facebook is ‘daily active users,’ Airbnb is ‘nights booked,’ and for the BP Group, ours is ‘monthly organization upskilling.’

Why is having one important?


Because delivering SCO’s and driving change is a lot of work, and it’s easy to dilute effort and resources on things that don’t move the needle. Additionally, getting distracted with the latest and shiniest new ideas is a common problem. Having a North Star metric keeps everyone in your company focused on the most critical Measure for your company’s success. Chosen wisely, it will connect the dots from the front line to the top team

Creating Your North Star metric

You may already have created it in your Successful Customer Outcome Canvas®[1] (SCOC®). Even if you haven’t yet the steps are straightforward by examining your current key performance indicators and assessing what could be a lead Metric. Examine the metrics in the context of what creates the best outcome, for the business and the customer. It is especially effective when you aggregate the SCOC’s against all your customer categories and bringing out the most significant ones and deciding decide which is the most essential Metric.

Defining that North Star metric can have a considerable impact not only on your immediate customers but on how your company operates overall.

Your North Star metric will be different from other organizations, as is how it’s rolled out and communicated.

Connect the dots, Draw the Lines

Anyone involved in delivering Successful Customer Outcomes and driving growth for your company, from the ‘C’ suite to the marketing team to the operations team and all of your external agencies, should be clear on your North Star metric and their role in driving it forward. If you don’t have one and your success maybe isn’t where it needs to be, perhaps you should consider defining one for your organization.

  • Set up a time with key stakeholders,
  • Identify your customer categories,
  • Agree on the SMART needs,
  • Choose the most important one, then
  • Brainstorm what it should be across the entire organization.

It starts with understanding who are your best customers are and why. You will need to cut through all distractions and noise to identify the one metric that will have the most significant and most sustainable impact on your business performance.

It’s a significant process, and sometimes it can be challenging to see the forest for the trees.

It will take a concerted effort, but it is one of the most worthwhile things an organization can do to connect the strategy to execution. Realistically isn’t that desirable for every organization seeking to make winning systematic?

The Guiding Light

The North Star metric becomes the guiding light. It is tangible, objective, and touches everyone and everything. It is a simple concept and as a result everyone can understand it.

You can explore the North Star Alignment approach within the Certified Outside-In Masters® program. Review the short video introduction here:
https://cemnext.com/oi2020


[1] The Successful Customer Outcome Canvas® is a technique within the CEMMethod®. This technique and its companion approach can be reviewed here. https://cemnext.com/customergame


Other Useful Resources

I have just done a 3 minute explainer video for Outside-In – see it here:
https://experienceprofessional.com/oivideo

How to become Outside-In
Step #1 – Get The Book: Outside-In The Secret *FREE* https://bit.ly/OI2021now  

Step #2 – Get The Training:

Certified Outside-In Master® | https://cemnext.com/oi2020
Certified Process Professional Master®  | https://bit.ly/CPPM21  
Accredited Customer Experience Master®  | https://bit.ly/ACXM2021  

Step #3 – Get the Software:

The Experience Manager | https://bit.ly/TEM2021  

Step #4 – Connect With The Community:

LinkedIn | https://bit.ly/Steve2021

Blog | https://bit.ly/CXO2021

BPG Website | https://bit.ly/BPG2021

Steve Towers Web  |  https://bit.ly/SBT2021

Twitter | https://bit.ly/SteveTowersTwitter

YouTube | https://bit.ly/ST_Youtube

Is Your Call Centre killing Great Customer Experiences? (Part 2 of 3)

Contact center metrics may be crippling you

Part Two. In Part One we reviewed how poor metrics drive bad behaviours. Lets dig deeper with a typical scenario…

And if you think this experience is unusual grab a coffee and google ‘poor customer experiences’.

Leadership Delusion

The leadership team can talk until they are blue in the face about customer centricity but if they insist on metrics designed for running factories everyone suffers. Here’s another typical conversation:

In all three instances the customer did not achieve a Successful Outcome.
In fact there is now more effort required by the customer, and also more cost and time to be incurred for the organisation if the customer does follow through. If the customer doesn’t bother that is more potential revenue lost.

So how does this organisation look to the browsing customer?
Pretty awful to say the least.

We know why this is so. Organisations like this are focused on measuring Outputs, rather than measures of Successful Customer Outcomes. If it is so obvious why is it so many persist in this Failure-Demand cycle?

Because they are measuring the wrong things.
And guess what? Yes, they will have automated those measurements and put them on fancy management dashboards so everyone can feel happy. Except the customer of course. But what does that matter?

In Part Three – a big reveal. A couple of techniques that will help shape Successful Customer Outcomes brought to you from companies like Amazon, Zara, Zappos and Emirates.

Now, please remember if you pay people to do dumb stuff they will get really smart at it.

Join our upcoming Coaching and Accreditation sessions online, LIVE & Interactive

Do you want to embrace advanced Customer Centric thinking and become Outside-In?

I have just done a 3 minute explainer video for Outside-In – see it here: https://bit.ly/OIDifference

Then follow these steps….

Step #1 – Get The Book:
Outside-In The Secret *FREE* | https://bit.ly/OI2021now

Step #2 – Get The Training:
Certified Outside-In Master® | https://bit.ly/COIM2021
Certified Process Professional Master®  | https://bit.ly/CPPM21
Accredited Customer Experience Master®  | https://bit.ly/ACXM2021

Step #3 – Get the Software:
Parallel | https://bit.ly/Parallel2021

Step #4 – Connect With The Community:
LinkedIn | https://bit.ly/Steve2021

Step #5 – Keep Pace with Change
Recent Interview | http://bit.ly/STInnovation

Step #6 – New Article – Customer Obsession 
LinkedIn (3 minute read) | https://lnkd.in/dHeCJhN

The Reason Why You Will Never Become Customer Centric

Business failures are all around us, nothing new there then. If we go back a decade or so we saw the demise of Nokia, we’ve seen companies like Blockbuster crash and burn, and other companies in the High Street whether it’s in Europe or in the US disappear and never to be seen again.

Why is this so? When you look at the investment those companies were making there was no lack of intent to spend in understanding how the customer was changing. In the year that Apple introduced the iPhone Nokia was investing heavily in voice of the customer (VOC) surveys, customer satisfaction and NPS.

But they missed the point. Progressive Outside-In companies (think Amazon, Zara, Zappos, Emirates) are not about retrospective subjective analysis of perceived performance.

Also it isn’t about overlaying processes with a new language when fundamentally the very systems and processes were never designed to deliver customer experiences. Those now creaking processes were designed with a factory mindset centred around production line thinking, throughput and waste. Hence the challenge for many is more fundamental as it’s not about rejigging what you’re doing – it is about a complete rethink to move outside in the way that you do business.

Remarkably even in the third decade of the 21st century there are still those companies that think they can just tweak and change the language inside their organisations.

As if doing better advertising and marketing to customers and talking about ‘new’ services on top of their existing infrastructures and IT systems hacks it. The actual reality is somewhat different.

Senior Executive commentary

Top teams and senior executives need to grasp this challenge. Roland Naidoo, a senior executive at African based entertainments company Multichoice puts the choice starkly:

“Would you measure how fast a 1600cc car performed around an F1 circuit. No? Then why would you try to measure customer experience AND improve it on processes and products there were never designed with experience in mind. Go on enter your 1600 into the next F1. Wonder how it would perform?”

Roland Naidoo, Multichoice Africa

Lipstick on a Pig? Surely not…

Those companies who understand that ‘outside-in’ thinking calls for a complete realignment and new appraisal of what the customer experience consists of.

Rather than, to coin a phrase, putting lipstick on a pig. You have actually got to think about what is it you’re trying to achieve; what does success look like for our customer? And then align across all functions, all systems and ways of working towards successful customer outcomes. Disney refers to this alignment as getting everybody to understand where true north is and not to do anything unless it contributes to that alignment. Imagine all new initiatives being assessed by a similar approach?

Are you working in a Rubik cube?

Another aspect which comes into play is this idea that traditional measurement* is predominantly subjective and retrospective. Progressive outside in companies are not reactive – they get scientific about the customer experience.

Measuring each interaction as it happens and if necessary course-correcting in real-time. They develop the ability to see around corners to understand what’s coming next. They don’t have to wait for analysis 2 weeks after an event to decide that some remedial action is required.

This knowledge in the instance of what is happening requires us to create this idea of ‘action in the moment’ for all our employees. Zappos**, for instance, give their employees the tools and the capability to be able to make decisions in the moment (without the need to escalate to supervisors).

Industrial Age thinking will kill you

And there is another challenge companies face if they are still organised around functional specialist silos. If you’ve recruited low paid people and given them a script to follow, manage them to average handle times and throughputs you’re going to fail.

Once more the outside-in companies have an edge here as they understand that to give your most precious resource (the customer) to the employees then you need the right people in the right place able to do the right things at that moment of truth.

So what is your organization doing? is it trying to put lipstick on the pig? is it just trying to overlay the existing process is an infrastructure with this new customer-centric way of talking and doing?

It is very simple. You need to get down to brass tacks of rethinking what customer experience is all about its implication for the organisation going forward. Those organisations that are taking this outside-in approach find the world becomes simpler, faster and much more directly oriented towards delivering successful customer outcomes and winning for the bottom line.


* Why does traditional measurement fail?
from the CX Rockstar aka James Dodkins at https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6566333517070954496/

** Zappos – Wow customer service: https://www.forbes.com/sites/micahsolomon/2018/09/15/the-secret-of-wow-customer-service-is-breathing-space-just-ask-zappos/#7da91ff01b2c

Roland Naidoo can be reached at:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/roland-d-naidoo-b403a029/

Join our upcoming Coaching and Accreditation sessions online, LIVE & Interactive

Certified Process Professional
Master (CPPM)
10th Aug4 days @ 5 hours per day
Accredited CX Master
(ACXM)
18th Aug4 days @ 5 hours per day
Accredited CX Mentor
(ACX-Mentor)
1st Sep4 weeks @ 3 hours per week
Accredited CX Champion
(ACXC)
8th Sep3 days @ 5 hours per day
Certified Process Professional
Champion (CPPC)
22nd Sep3 days @ 5 hours per day
Certified Outside In Master
(COIM)
8th Sep7 weeks @ 3 hours per week

It is the end of the world as we know it… but I feel fine

The following from C. S. Lewis was written in 1948 after the dawn of the atomic age. Just substitute COVID-19 for the Atomic bomb and you will get the shivers.

In one way we think a great deal too much of the atomic bomb. “How are we to live in an atomic age?” I am tempted to reply: “Why, as you would have lived in the sixteenth century when the plague visited London almost every year, or as you would have lived in a Viking age when raiders from Scandinavia might land and cut your throat any night; or indeed, as you are already living in an age of cancer, an age of syphilis, an age of paralysis, an age of air raids, an age of railway accidents, an age of motor accidents.”

In other words, do not let us begin by exaggerating the novelty of our situation. Believe me, dear sir or madam, you and all whom you love were already sentenced to death before the atomic bomb was invented: and quite a high percentage of us were going to die in unpleasant ways. We had, indeed, one very great advantage over our ancestors—anesthetics; but we have that still. It is perfectly ridiculous to go about whimpering and drawing long faces because the scientists have added one more chance of painful and premature death to a world which already bristled with such chances and in which death itself was not a chance at all, but a certainty.

This is the first point to be made: and the first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things—praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts—not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds.

— “On Living in an Atomic Age” (1948)

Chilling eh? And hopeful too!
It is the end of the world as we know it… REM would be a good bash on the last night perhaps?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8OyBtMPqpNY

The Shocking Truth about Customer Experience


The single biggest piece of advice I give to senior executives setting out on the Customer Experience journey is to STOP. Yes seriously, the vast majority of CX efforts are completely misaligned.

CX Efforts Misaligned

Don’t get me wrong the intentions are good. Unfortunately, it goes something like this:

  1. Top Team are listening and decide they need to get with this customer centricity/Outside-In/working backwards thinking.
  2. Senior Management makes noises that the customer is THE thing the business must focus on.
  3. The Executive engage the marketing and sales guys to get with it and start pushing the message.
  4. Functional leaders hear the noise and bluster. They start using the language, whilst thinking this is just more fluff and nonsense. They make the right noises for now but keep their heads down, because they know this will go the same way as so many other ‘strategic initiatives’.
  5. Fundamentally functional heads carry on working with the out of date reward system that promotes sub-optimal industrial age thinking and practice.
  6. The Executive see the usual inertia, results not coming through, apathy and indifference and decide their business isn’t really an Amazon.
  7. Top Team then reverts to just getting better at what we are doing, then when someone in ‘our industry’ proves it we will follow.
  8. Functional leaders breathe a sigh of relief and invest even more in industrial age systems and training. The illusion of doing something, in this case, is actually worse than doing nothing.
  9. The businesses failure is noted by customers who move to those who do understand and deliver Customer Experience success.
  10. The company becomes another footnote in the history books. Talked about at business schools and picked apart because of the failure to get the new Outside-In customer-centric mindset.

Making Customer Experience Successful everywhere all the time

This isn’t rocket science (unless you are NASA of course). Understanding that the structures and ways of working from the industrial age were NEVER designed to be customer-centric. They were established to make things faster by optimizing production lines.

And oh, don’t think because you are not in manufacturing you are OK. It is likely your complete ways of working will be making everything look like production management systems, with talk of leaning out, waste reduction, standardization, efficiency, productivity. Sound familiar?

Understanding this Customer Experience misalignment is fundamental.

I encourage doing three things before re-joining the CX road-march:

  1. Understand how big the gap is between what you are doing and what Successful Customer Outcomes you need to be delivering.
  2. Audit the current key performance indicators.
    Are they mostly about outputs?
    Usually, the balance will be 80% output metrics (like calls answered, Average Handle Times, Abandoned Rates, Projects completed on time to budget etc.).
    Meanwhile, the really important measures that tell you a Successful Customer Outcome is being achieved will only be a small proportion.
    What you measure is what you get and no amount of Customer Experience drum banging will work unless those measures of Outcomes become the most important.
  3. Create an awareness of what real CX success is all about.
    This isn’t just the stories. It is about the actual things on the ground that need to change. The WHY and the HOW go hand in hand. Often times upskilling a group of key players at all levels to make them Ambassadors for the Customer achieves way more than massive corporate investment in branding and image.

In conclusion, Customer Experience cannot be treated just like another corporate initiative. To achieve success requires a significant shift in mindsets, and when that is achieved the realignment of the Enterprise to Outside-In can really begin.

Want more guidance and tips like this?


☑ More Articles like this one
– visit my CX Obsession resources

 ☑ Upskilling and mentoringEvery level from the boardroom to the lunch room – BP Group

☑ In person and virtual trainingThe ACXM™ program

 ☑ Executive briefings and keynotesHow to get your hands on me and other CXperts (see what I did there?)

Turning your customers into long term assets

The Customer is King. What? Seriously?

Terms like customer experience management are banded about by consultants and popular business journals.

However customer experience is often associated with the soft and fluffy pop management sentiment that the customer is king, and typically lacks a clear objective contribution to business success.

Hence it is dismissed by serious business executives who focus their attention on production line based approaches that seem more tangible offering improved efficiencies and lower costs.

Prepare to reframe that thinking. Customer Experience Management (CEM), as practiced by several of the worlds leading companies, is science based and enables organizations to consistently win the triple crown – simultaneously lowering costs, improving service and growing revenues. What can be more tangible in terms of achieving business success?

So let’s get scientific about the customer experience. Being a customer-centric business today means more than treating customers like kings. It requires discipline, method and intent. It means engaging customers like people, connecting with them in unique and authentic ways, building and maintaining a relationship with them over the long-haul.