Dear CEO, where does CEM exactly begin?

If you already are successfully implementing  CX in your company this is not for you.
If you consider, as a CEO, that CX is the next battle ground  for you to step in, to beat your competition, please read this post.

Dear CEO,
Did you know you should be the jealous and exclusive owner of this strategic and cultural transformation of  your company that is Customer Experience?

My point here is to simplify and share with you the set of attitudes and decisions you should pay attention to in this context.
First and foremost  let us see the way you connect with people in your company. As a C level manager and as you thrive to make your brand visible to the world, you should put the exact same kind of energy connecting with your team.

If your commitment is seen by your people and if you keep communicating with them, they will convey the same level of engagement and interest to your customers. Why? Just because they will chose to be happily aboard, they will respect your decisions as management, they will promote the products or services and be supportive of the tools, policies and procedures.When top management connects with the team, the latter finds a meaning daily and translate it into exceptional service quality and tremendous engagement. Lire la suite

Customer experience sense can’t be taught

Customer experience is difficult to be taught inside the organization. You can teach products features, sales techniques, and specific software handling but it is quite challenging teaching adults  attitudes such as politeness, availability, respect and humility for instance.
Sure it is still possible to explain to your team that keeping your customers happy is the next competitive battle ground to win, you can set and you have to, a series of KPIs  to measure your own customer experience index, you can implement processes to help your  people follow through and yet you will have to accept that the knowledge, organization and tools provided to create the best customer experience possible can be easily blowed away by the slightest wrong behaviour.
Moreover most companies are so wired to think everything inside out that most of the time when time goes tough the customer is no longer a priority.
Yes,customer experience spirit is hard to get in real life.
Creating continuously good Cxs has a lot to do with values. And values are caught not taught. It also has to do with individual behaviours. And as knowledge is implemented through each and everyone specific behaviours you can imagine how complex it can be to deliver seamless good experiences. Finally creating good customer experiences also has to do with emotion identification, acceptation and handling. And this competence is far from being shared.
Yet, it is possible to foster Cx in any companies. First step is to recruit the right customer centric people aligned with the company values and behaviours , second to continuously improve the team customer focus agility, third to make the company culture a cement,  fourth to show the value added delivered on a daily basis  and at each point of contact by everyone both to the customer and the company.

Customer insight: state of mind or way of ( business)life?

To detect if someone has the customer insight just observe the way he relates to the client and particularly the kind of behavior he has.

Most moments of truth situations experienced by clients find their roots in the behavior of some customer relationship professionnals. And we know  behavior is often a mere reflection of our state of mind.

We all happened to deal once with a person who, while we were going through  « difficult » times as a customer, could not imagine any other solution than the one dictated by the procedures. His state of mind was business centricity only. Not customer focused. This kind of myopia creates unhappy customer experiences and frustrates the agent as following the rules does not always maintain him in his confort zone. Following procedures should not prevent creativity and therefore should not offset a solution oriented attitude . Approaching the problem from another angle facilitates the customer’s life and secures long-term business. Moreover it shows the customer that we do care. As Richard Branson stated, companies today think shareholders first, customers second and then finally people. As a matter of fact people are the key and should be empowered to be creative solution providers. Why not initially focus on employees by giving them the means to serve the customer more efficiently ? It is also a way to stay connected to the real world and walk at least at the customer’s pace or at the best, just a step ahead in order to anticipate his needs.

To go

Managers:
Procedures have to be respected for sure. But they are here to serve both customers and company. They should not protect you from the customers.Procedures can be altered and designed to prevent the company to act stupidly when customers are being smart.
Colleagues:
First focus on understanding the moment of truth the customer is going through and share your understanding with her.
Adopt a solution oriented attitude to show your concern and give a set of options for the customer to make is choice. Be creative and keep both customers and company secure.
Give feedback on a regular basis to confort or modify procedures.

Straight from Twitterland via@Hyken: satisfaction is a minimum

This morning I read this great following tweet from Hyken:

« @Hyken: All satisfaction proves is that we’ve fulfilled the minimum requirement avoid a complaint. »

I could not do anything else but concur, answering that satisfaction is first and foremost the result of getting the expected done in order to start #CX

Satisfaction is not an end result per se.
Satisfaction is the raw material that will help the principle design of customer experience.
Therefore we should avoid considering satisfaction as satisfactory. Your clients’ satisfaction and Hyken is right here, is the evidence that you did the job you are expected to do and paid for.

So satisfaction is again basic contract completed. It is showing that there will be no complaints or negative buzz so far. Your clients satisfaction is not enough to create a sound competitive advantage. Just doing the job is not discriminant enough. It positions you as a mere and normal player in the customer’s ecosystem. Full stop. If you want to be a step ahead from your competitors and become the reference,  then you will have  to execute perfectly for sure,  but above all,  you will strive to emotionally engage your clients.

Post happily written by Veronique Aboghe, Happy Experiences.

Treat your customers as you would like to be treated? Hell no!

There is still, from my point of view, paradoxical injunctions given to  people dealing with customers: they are told that we must learn to wear the customer’s shoes and also to treat customers as they would like to be treated themselves. Again and according to me this can not work because it is conflicting and not sufficient.

Let me explain why we need three steps to overcome this paradox:

First we have to admit that treating a client as we would like to be treated ourselves is a completely self-centered attitude. We become and remain the center of our own attention, our eyes are staring our proper needs, limited beliefs and experiences. What is expected is that each of us mirrors our own expectations.

Treat a customer as we would like to be treated is only the first  but unsufficient step to get closer to the customer.The questions usually asked are :If I were in this situation myself, what would I think, what would I feel, what would  I do? If this step can give you some resources and information, those are limited to your own personal experience, which may be restricted and not useful enough.

The second step is of course to exercise our ability to empathize i.e. to remain ourselves while understanding the situation of the other person. We get better at understanding a client  in his context,  taking a ride in his reality to better walk in his shoes. This means putting aside our own beliefs and limitations and visit the customer’s experience reality.

Here the questions that may arise are the following: Depending on what I can see of his real world , what are the client’s feelings, what  does he think, what does he do? Although this second approach is richer and even closer to the customer than the first one, it requires  not getting caught by our own reality and a robust capacity to suspend judgment . It has the advantage of allowing us to detect and begin to understand the behaviors and expectations of the clients.

To finish, here is the third step I suggest. First, abandon the exclusive use of the golden rule that is  « treat the customer as you would like to be treated yourself ». I invite you instead,  to apply the Platinum rule , metal often considered more valuable than gold.  With this rule you are asked  to treat the customer as he would like to be treated.  Based on the criteria that represent a good experience for him, the questions to  be asked to the customer are: what does the customer want to feel,  what does he want to think, what does  he wants to do.

We see here that the challenge to serve and understand the customer is primarily to take  awareness of what is a factor of success according to him. Note that the success is not measured by the brand standards .To illustrate this  80% of companies think they  provide a positive experience to their customers and only 8% of those same customers do agree. Mind the gap!

Capturing and respecting the voice of the customer in its essence ( feedback, expectations, desired experience) is key to reduce this gap. That depends on the ability of the staff to put the customer at the heart of their attentions, provided the company C level leaders  know how to show the way.