Customers are suffering digital distress – Three proven approaches to ensure you delight and deliver.

1. Design digital experiences around the customer needs, not around your customer mythology
Despite mountains of data customer insight remains an elusive animal. As a direct consequence, digital is frequently applied across existing processes without fully understanding customer pain points and the real Successful Customer Outcome.

Making invalid assumptions can irritate and permanently drive customers away. Take grocery checkout for example where retailers digitize an existing experience based on assumptions of customers wants. The resulting experience may still be fractured, with faulty scanners (they break a lot), long lines, and the more than necessary Associates to provide support for glitches. Not a great customer experience. If, however you develop an understanding of customer needs (even when customers do not know them) you may discover the checkout process is not required at all. Eradicating that process meets customer’s desires in terms of speed, convenience, and simplicity.

Amazons (i) checkout-less retail stores, walk in walk out enabled by scanning your phone on entry, scanning goods as you move around the store, and then scanning your phone on departure with automatic billing, provides just such an experience. In addition to improving the experience, costs are reduced and the customers come back for more and thereby grow revenues. In fact, this triple-crown benefit is a sure fire way of measuring any customer experience transformation.

2. Drive digital initiatives to simplify and improve convenience
Customer Research demonstrates the disconnect between what executives think customers value in digital, compared to working out their needs in a more objective and structured way. A technique such as the Successful Customer Outcome Canvas (SCOC)(ii) provides a step by step approach to articulating actual needs and aligning the experiences to deliver them. The resulting insight in terms of a set of objective measures based on needs allows the organization to question every interaction in the context of ‘does this contribute to the SCO?’ and if not, how do we remove it?

Uber(iii) are a terrific example of ‘one click simple’ with the apps user interface designed around understanding the overall Successful Customer Outcome and then delivering an optimum number of interactions. Providing this digital experience helps meet the customer’s desire to move efficiently, pay digitally, and provide feedback in the moment. Part of that ‘Successful Customer Outcome Canvas’ insight was in removing the anxiety of where is the car and how long do I wait? You can see the car and driver speeding towards you on the app.

3. Categorize your customers by need, rather than segmenting by circumstance.
Dealing with customers as segments (age, income, zip code etc.) misses the vital personalisation that digital excels at. By force fitting customers into standardized processes suited to segments creates friction and fractured experiences. Diagnosing objective needs may, for instance, highlight the digital savviness (or not) of a category of customer, and in doing so allow you to create a bespoke experience. Rather than industrial age segmentation, organizations that adopt Outside-In(iv) categorization meet and evolve customer expectations in an informed way with greater empathy and the resulting trust that “you have my back”.

Are you ready? Ask yourself these questions (be honest and not complacent!)

a. Are digital initiatives aligned to Successful Customer Outcomes with optimized touch points, or are they designed around internal functional considerations?
b. Is your approach to innovation Outside-In and not restricted to departments, internal specialisms, legacy systems, regulations and last century mindsets?
c. Are you tapping in-the-moment real-time analytics to understand what your customers are experiencing as it happens, and then course correcting those experiences as they occur?
d. How are you managing your customer’s digital expectations? Are you keeping them informed of developing digital services?
e. What mechanism are you using to incorporate new digital learnings into the customer experiences? And are those learnings (next practices) gathered from outside of your sector, or are they just industry best practices?


5 Reasons why it is time to wrestle Customer Experience AWAY from Marketing

Traditionally Marketing has played the central role in bringing the Customer Experience (CX) to the attention of the organization, and while the intent is good the impact is often very, very bad.

Why? Marketing is noted for their soft and fluffy approaches and when it comes down to delivering they simply do not connect sufficiently with the rest of the organization. Often times it isn’t their fault. Consider if you have been trained in marketing methods from the last century – why should we then criticize the marketers when those approaches don’t work? especially now in the digitized promiscuous customer age? Seriously, we must get more scientific about the customer experience and be brutally truthful, science and marketing are worlds apart.

Don’t lose hope if you are a victim of a marketing led CX effort.

Based on 2017 research with 300+ global organizations* the BPG distilled winning strategies in terms of what is delivering in our rapidly Uberfying world…

1. Forget the theory.

It was written for a different time and no amount of trying to make it fit will address the challenges of rebellious, promiscuous and impatient customers who are literally connected to social media around the clock. You need to anticipate and navigate the ever-changing environment without calling another meeting, needing to talk with the other C levels, or indeed brief the Public Relations department. Simply put – You do not have the time.

2. Connect the dots across the organization.

Customer experiences create all our work, without exception. Fundamentally, you can link everything that is going on inside your company with an interaction somewhere at some time. Can you see that connection and is it known the rest of the organization? If you can’t then start connecting those dots to explain how everyone is intimately connected to successful customer outcomes.

3. Ensure rewards pay people for the right things.

Here is a paradox. If you pay people for doing things do not be surprised if the stuff they do doesn’t contribute to success for the customer. For instance, call centers are wedded to managing calls. Average Handle Times, Abandon Rates, Failure demand and so on. How much of that relates to achieving an effective resolution for a customer (not the scotch mist type of help desk support and closed calls)? Next practice suggests reward structures based on delivering successful outcomes. It is less about measuring what is done and more about delivering successful outcomes.

4. Dashboards.

Are you Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s)pointing you towards success, or are they just number blinding you? Here is a quicky to try… Look at your top 20 KPI’s and mark them red, amber, green. Red is for outputs (how many, where and when), Green is Outcomes (the result of outputs). If the balance is red you need to shift the emphasis, and in doing so the important measures of Outcomes become the ‘beacon on the hill’ to guide all activity to the right place.

5. Learn to see around the corner.

The future isn’t predictable, precise and cast in concrete. If recent times tell us anything it is that the business of prediction is more wrong than right in our turbulent world. You need a team around you that understand no amount of planning and due diligence will get you there. While you are offsite planning the next five years your competitors are winning the ever fickler customers who regard your brand as staid and ‘yesterday’. Up your game and make sure the people around you understand the new dynamic. Stop them relating to 20th-century models and get them thinking and delivering to the new order of business. It is now or never.

If you want to stretch your team join us for the one day ACXP ‘hands-on’ doing session designed to let you take away actionable strategies and techniques fine-tuned in world leading organizations like Apple, Emirates, Zara, Zappos, Bentley, Disney to name a few!

Here’s the place to find out more:

* The BPG conduct periodic research across its membership of 90,000 professionally qualified registrants based in 116 countries.