I had the luck of getting a 1 hour one on one with Ed Thompson at the Gartner BPM Summit in Sydney. Ed works for Gartner and is a world expert in Customer Experience.
I spoke to him about what I do, my passion for customer experience and what I try to do for my clients. In return I received some great tips on improving the customer experience.
Here are my notes from the session:
Customer Satisfaction Measurement
Most companies are moving away from long CSAT surveys and are typically using NPS (Net Promoter score) - . However the latest trend is to use Customer Effort Score (CES) – which measures the amount of effort a customer has to put into a particular interaction with the company (customers don’t like effort!)
Process Improvement Implementation
He recommended process improvement efforts are undertaken in 6 month sprints – if it takes longer than that you’ve lost momentum and you’ll lose the enthusiasm of the business.
We should describe our processes the way a customer would – for example a customer would never call a process “provisioning”, to them it’s “getting the service”.
Getting high level engagement
To maintain an ongoing focus on the customer experience he recommended getting 20 minutes at least once a quarter to talk to the senior managers / exec of the organisation. These sessions would not be focussed on stats (everyone gets bored of stats) but focussed on real life examples of where companies the had particularly bad customer experiences and what they are doing to fix them. This is a bit of a shock and awe tactic but it really helps to bring things to life for those that are disconnected from the front line. He suggested using call recordings, mystery shop videos or even bringing in customers to talk about their experiences.
Ed also suggested getting everyone at the senior level from the CEO down to do a “back to the frontline” day – a bit like undercover boss except, err, not undercover so that they can really reconnect with what the frontline troops have to deal with.
Customer Experience Days
He also suggested that companies have a “customer experience day” where anyone from the company who is involved with customer experience should get together to discuss how they can help each other and co-ordinate ideas.
Customer Complaints and Compliments
It’s important to really take control of the feedback process – the ability for customers to provide feedback should be there as quickly as possible after the interaction. This is particularly the case with compliments. People fester on complaints and will tend to lodge a complaint up to twice as long on average compared to a customer leaving a compliment. So the lesson is – you snooze, you miss out on compliments.
He also recommended having an option to ask permission to use the customer’s compliments so that these can be used e.g. in a twitter feed, facebook wall or any other marketing.
He also mentioned that the top 5% of organisations with the highest customer engagement were those that gave feedback to customers on the customer’s feedback. 35% don’t give feedback to
the customer but will use the feedback to improve the organisation. 60% of companies will ignore the customer feedback and do nothing with it.
Building a Customer Community
One of the key things he recommended is to build an online community. i.e. forums that customers can join and discuss the companies products and services, etc. This provides an extra channel of contact. It helps to deflect some of the contact via other channels and doesn’t require a huge amount of staff involvement once enthusiastic members get on board (generally the 1% contribute 90% of content).
Staff would act as moderators and step in if a question remains unanswered after a few hours. It’s success is dependent upon a recognition scheme of some sort where they would be rewarded with points / stars / guru status, etc for contributing. e.g. companies could invite the top 10 contributors to a dinner or awards day on behalf of the company.
Ed recommended checking out Lithium which is the software that many organisations use for social customer experience.
Those organisations that do adopt a multichannel approach have increased levels of loyalty and profitability.
Obviously Ed recommended companies getting on facebook and twitter ASAP if they aren’t there already and he mentioned that it’s a good way to engage facebook followers with quirky / weird / interesting novelty topics. One example that he has seen being popular is showcasing people with collections of old bank piggybanks. This apparently appeals to older customers!
Facebook is also an excellent place to showcase charity / socially responsible activities.
Ed also stressed the importance of undertaking continual social media monitoring using software such as Radian6 so that companies can be aware of what everyone is saying about them on whatever social media they are using. He even mentioned that some companies publish live feeds from Radian 6 to show what people are talking about at that instant.
Ed mentioned that apps are critical and can greatly boost an organisation if done correctly.
He also said it’s essential to have separate apps for separate products / services as this way you can track number of downloads (usefulness) and feedback (useability) – otherwise you get a mish mash of feedback and no indication of why they downloaded the app.
A shining example
Ed mentioned USAA as a good example of a company that has engaged customers (I should say members because it is a membership based organisation) and has paid great attention to the customer experience. They have an astonishing average of 6.5 products per member - have a look at their community focus and you'll understand why they've been so successful.