These articles are recommend by customer experience thought leaders and practitioners. Below are some brief summaries and links to the original posts.
Create peak moments and avoid the one bad pit
This is first in the round up because of how true we found this to be.
"...all great experiences hinge on peak moments, and one bad moment—one pit—can ruin years of steady loyalty for a customer"
"A company can go for years keeping customers moderately satisfied with service, but unless you’ve really made them happy—overwhelmed them with some peak experiences—you’ll never move the customer satisfaction needle in any significant way."
Look through onboarding processes 'to see where the opportunities were for elevation, insight, pride, and connection'.
This 'power of moments' article at first appears to be at odds with an article from the Harvard Business Review which said it's problematic to try and delight customers. The HBR article says that "delighting customers doesn’t build loyalty; reducing their effort—the work they must do to get their problem solved—does". However, take a leaf from Nordstrom's customer service where staff gave clients the item they wanted at sale price, 2 weeks before that sale began. This meant they wouldn't have to wait for that sale and could get their item now without feeling they lost out. That's reducing their effort and a peak moment.
People are desperately looking for organisations they can trust
"All around us, institutional trust is in freefall — across every category, industry and geography. Yet the research from Edelman also demonstrates that people are desperately looking for organisations that they can trust."
How do you create an organisation people can trust?
"The answer may be much closer than you realise. Start by asking the people who work for you."
Because employees "look to their employers to be a trustworthy source of information about contentious societal issues"
How else to build trust?
Anticipate and act before they do.
"When a customer is due a refund, they should not have to search or work for it — the brand should know this already due to the sophistication of its systems, and deliver the outcome"
This links into why Nordstrom has such a good brand. Their employees will sometimes give a discount to their clients because they're aware of a sale coming up in 2 weeks, so rather than have the customer wait, they give them the sale price before the sale has started.
Scrap the annual employee feedback survey and instead ask them how long their commute is
"We've all been on the other side of what it's like to interact with a person who is disinterested in their job."
"Companies that see the most marked improvements in customer experience are the ones that make getting feedback from their teams a core part of their company culture."
Ask them about:
Employee benefits offered
Even the charitable contributions your company makes.
Read more on asking your team how they feel.
Thinking is not worth the hassle
This is something written for marketers but it applies to CX perfectly as having 5 touch points all getting CSAT scores of 9/10 sounds great but the mental load of going through 5 steps might be the reason behind an overall score of 6/10.
We make 1,000 times as many different decisions as our caveman ancestors did.
We're exhausted from making decisions.
Happier employees = better CX? By 2025, Millennials will represent 75% of the workforce.
If you want happier employees and millennials start making up 75% of the workforce then here's what they care about:
- identifying with company values
- creating a better future
- flexibility and autonomy
- work/life balance
- mentoring and meaningful connections
- feeling gratification from our work
Ask, what makes you 'worth it' to your employees.
Want to know what else they care about?
Lack of Imagination, not technology, holds back superior customer experience
"We can do now things that were never possible 20, 30, 40 years ago,"
"We can do these things, so we're limited by our imagination. We're limited by our current way of doing things"
Educated people have a complexity bias
If it's too easy, maybe it's not going to get an A grade? We are given schooling for a decade where the exam monster is always something in front or behind us. When something is then easy, it feels like it's wrong.
Understand expectations, get the basics right, it's not always about technology
I included this article in the round up because there are two simple points included that are good reminders of something essential that we ourselves learned from the ground up.
The two points are:
- "They want frictionless experience, not necessarily futuristic."
- "They want skilled customer service."
As a co-founder of 2 companies, where we started running support ourselves from the ground up, the best thing we ever did was to reply rapidly with accurate answers.
We knew the systems inside out, we had the authority to make decisions and overall we could answer and fix almost any problem in minutes.
We also replied within seconds at any time of day.
In the early days I had my phone set to wake me in the night if someone had a query and I'd get up at 4am to answer and then go back to bed.
That was the mentality and it worked. We made sales and had customers that loved the product and the service. We did what it required to solve their problems when they had problems and the right sort of 'over and above' service we gave was recommending competitors when we didn't have features they needed.
We're all rushing to create great experiences and technology often comes to mind, especially with our 'complexity bias' as mentioned further above but having well trained people who respond quickly and fix problems first time is a great set of basics to get right first.
Read more about retail customer experience
Learn more about a simple CX win for your customers: See what they see.