How do you initiate and measure the success of projects that move the needle in a significant way? How do you know when you’ve done enough testing and iterating to know if your CX projects are ready to scale? How do you get the rest of your business onboard with your CX plans?
These questions and more were commonplace at the Customer Experience and Engagement Summit 2019 held in Auckland in late May. The answers to them were surprising, familiar, and also common sense at times. It was refreshing to hear from experts in the field how they were tracking on their CX journey, and how they were actually offering their customers better experiences, not just offering theories.
So we’ve given our customer experience ‘state of the nation’ below.
Employee experience: nothing drives customer experience better
Companies can spend thousands if not millions on customer experience initiatives, which can all be for nothing. How? They don’t bring their employees on the transformational journey. The result of this is that you have a shiny set of new tools and procedures, but no one there to use or drive them.
Employee experience will look different for each business and industry. Take what Fiona Blanchard from the Auckland War Memorial Museum had to say on this matter. People don’t need to visit the museum, it’s an optional outing. The museum has to get its customer experience spot on, or else people won’t come back. Where as fast food chains can pull on one of the most important factors in Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs - food - if you’re hungry, they can feed you. Bad experiences can easily be forgotten when your stomach is growling.
Issues such as pay, uniforms, and recognition, are some of the ways employees can feel valued. And when they are satisfied, they’re far more likely to satisfy your customers. This was backed up by research from a Gallup report, which highlighted that satisfied employees lead to a 20% increase in sales. Considering that many initiatives to improve employee experience can be negligible from a cost perspective, there’s a clear ROI.
One insight from our dealings is that IT departments can often be some of the staunchest competition you might face when attempting such change. Our recommendation is to bring them on board early, and have them part of the stakeholder team. To elevate their experience one step further, we recommend up-skilling and empowering them (plus others), rather than relying on consultants to maintain such initiatives.
All roads… journeys lead to CX
Throughout the conference and in the wider market, we’ve seen many different models for implementing CX into your business. The model we’ll cover is the one that raised by Russell Douglas, which we’ve also seen shared from the likes of Isaac Jeffries and Daniel Stillman.
- Entice - How you are attracting future prospects to your company. This covers everything from messaging to medium. Basically, anything that will capture their attention.
- Enter - The initial experience your future prospects have when they step into your environment - be that physical, digital, or voice. How can you overcome the goldfish attention span issue, and demonstrate the value you offer?
- Engage - The various ways you deliver ideal experiences to your potential customers. This can be very narrow or extremely broad - from keeping them on your website for longer to nurturing them over days, weeks, or months.
- Exit - How your customers feel when they finish engaging with you. Were they left frustrated, satisfied, excited? Were they likely to refer you to others? Or did they go one step further and actually refer you to others?
- Extend - How you keep your customers coming back for more. You’ve done all the hard bits, now the post-sales engagements come into play, and you don’t have to wait until something breaks. First make sure people want to hear from you in the future, as there might be some circumstances where it’s simply a no no, then you can surprise and delight your customers until the cows come home.
ROCXI is the new ROI
Has ROI enjoyed it’s last summer? Even the likes of Tonkin & Taylor’s Michael McGlynn, one of the staunchest ROI proponents in marketing, would say yes. But only if it’s been replaced with a new and improved version - ROCXI. With the need for businesses to have CX as a core focus, it reinforces the need for every activity a business undertakes needs to positively contribute to its overall CX.
Should we stop there or should we go one step further to ROX? It’s implied that you’re investing in customer experience, and that employees are crucial in delivering customer experience excellence. So perhaps ROCXI is the new ROI, and ROX is the new ROCXI. Whichever camp you’re in, having an unwavering focus on delivering the best experience possible is the fastest way to succeed.
The friction involved in becoming frictionless.
“Let’s get frictionless, frictionless…”
We’ve reimagined Olivia Newton-John’s 1981 hit, and how apt it is, only 38 years later. You may have heard the word a few times, If we had a word counter, frictionless would have ranked high up in the list. So how do you become frictionless?
A well-run UX workshop that involves key stakeholders from the business (including customers and competitor’s customers), is perhaps the best way of understanding the friction points in your business. From these workshops, seasoned UX practitioners can help identifying smoother paths in your customer journey. While these can be facilitated by in-house professionals, an external party running these can offer a perspective that is not possible from someone within your organisation - due to the echo chamber effect and even industry bias.
Finishing where we started.
To mix it up, we’ll end this article where the conference started - in the future. Kris Nygren gave us a great snapshot or prediction of where CX was heading in the future. He used the model that included trends, myths, artefacts, signals, and humans. All of these were important but as Kris rightly reminded us, it’s that future human that’s going to be the most vital.
While we might not be able to call our customers in the future, keeping a close relationship with current customers and having customer panels can give you insight into where things are going - particularly with a reasonable proportion of early adopters. Contact Energy do this effectively, and Z Energy have a form of it with their Innovation Refinery. It doesn’t have to be perfected or overly official, but having forms of these panels in the process is vital.
From a tech perspective, the next biggest thing in tech probably already exists, it’s just waiting for someone to ‘do it right’. Uber wasn’t formed off the back of new tech, it just approached an industry from a CX point of view.
It’s also been forecasted that we won’t see a number of things in the future such as mobile phones, meat, driving, power bills, etc. And will be a plethora of new tech surfacing that we simply can’t currently foresee, which will likely take far longer to become mainstream than we release. To catch a glimpse of what this world could look like, here’s an AR future that Keiichi Matsuda envisioned a few years back.
Ultimately, it’s not about getting hung up on what will be or what won’t, but what the future needs of humans will be. There are so many possibilities of what it could be, but if we keep our eyes on our customers, we’ll be in good stead.
If you want to see how we can help drive your customer experience to new heights with our design-led expertise, drop us a line below.