Do You Use the Right Measures for Your CX?

by Colin Shaw on August 16, 2019

What gets measured gets managed. This oft-quoted line from Peter Drucker is more pertinent today than ever concerning Customer Experience strategy. Every marketer should measure their performance in Customer Experience to understand what drives value for customers

We discussed measuring Customer Experience correctly in a recent podcast. With 11 books on marketing and Customer Experience, our guest Don Peppers, bestselling author, blogger, business strategist, and acclaimed keynote speaker, joins us to share his wisdom on the subject.

Peppers says that you have to think about the quality of the Customer Experience and why you measure it. Is it to see how well you have done? Is it to establish a business case for the program? Is it to reward people who interact with customers? The answer to why will have much to do with how you measure your results. 

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Colin ShawDo You Use the Right Measures for Your CX?

How Friction Can Be Good For Customer Experience

by Colin Shaw on August 14, 2019

I might have misled you in recent weeks. I have been talking about frictionless experiences and how vital it is to have a smooth Customer Experience. However, some of my reading lately has exposed some nuances about the friction in an experience that we haven’t addressed.

Many organizations are talking about how to make their Customer Experience easy, which is the right thing to do. You want your experience to be friction-less or easy.

However, I read a great article on the subject by Jess Weaver regarding the value of inconsistent design, and one of the things I read that I think is true was some friction in an experience can be worthwhile. For example, consider the furniture you put together yourself at Ikea. If you got two identical boxes, but one of the boxes you built yourself, you value that box more because of the labor you put into it.

It’s a great point. Some friction creates value.

We discussed the subject of when friction is good and when it isn’t in a recent podcast. We also define which kinds of resistance you want built-in your experience that can create an experience that keeps customers coming back for more.

Consider the ordering process at Starbucks. There are these bizarre foreign-sounding names and sizes. Plus, you had all these combinations of coffees. It is not easy, particularly if, when it comes to your drink, you are…particular.

There was an education component for ordering Starbucks, and that introduced friction. It was challenging at first, but once you have buy-in from the customers—and Starbucks has been successful at getting customers to buy-in—it is part of the experience that your customers appreciate.

Some other examples of friction that are beneficial to the experience are:

  • Seeing a line outside a club and thinking you might want to go there since it appears to be the hottest ticket in town
  • Buying a classic Disney film on VHS or DVD (remember those?) even though it was old-fashioned and you had seen it before because it was “out of the vault,” and you wouldn’t have access to it again for ten years
  • Waiting months to get an appointment with a medical specialist because you want to see “the best,” and he or she must be the best since they are so unavailable

Each of the examples above is a demonstration of the demand that is inspired by the idea of Scarcity. Scarcity is the concept that we value things more when they are harder to get. Feeling that you might not be able to get it when you want it produces artificial demand.

Scarcity is an example where a little bit of friction can be a good thing for your experience. After all, you could open another club in the same style as the velvet-rope version that is hot right now or buy the 20th Century Fox version of Cinderella or hire another specialist at the clinic to alleviate the wait. You will eliminate the friction, but you will also reduce the demand.

I have mentioned before that I had a milkman way after it was the normal thing to do to get your milk. I said as much to my wife Lorraine, but she pooh-poohed me saying that she liked how the milkman came ‘round on a Friday to collect the milk money and chat.

Eventually, Lorraine’s milkman left, and a new one took his place. The new milkman decided instead of coming around to collect the money in person, he would leave the bill under the bottle and pick up the check the following day from under the mat. The new milkman eliminated the friction in the milk delivery experience, aka the Friday night chat. To be fair, it was easier for us.

However, he also eliminated the part of the experience that Lorraine valued. After two weeks, we canceled and bought our milk at the store like everyone else.

Why We Want it Easy Until We Don’t

From an evolutionary standpoint, people want things to be easy is because you know things that take effort means you burn energy. Early humans didn’t have the abundance of food we have today, so they tried to conserve energy whenever possible. So, anything easy was preferable to our energy-miser ancestors.

We have developed heuristics, which are short-cuts in thinking that help us make decisions without using a lot of energy. You might remember from previous discussions the Availability or Representative heuristics, or the Anchoring Effect, among others. These short-cuts help us reduce the amount of effort it takes to decide things.

However, if everyone makes their experience easy, it commoditizes things. When things are commoditized, it destroys competitive differentiation.

Now, you could argue that your Customer Experience and your brand would differentiate you, and it would. However, having some effort in there also can create value, too.

All theories of human behavior have boundaries or limits on them. In other words, one human behavior theory explains things really well under specific conditions, but if you change the circumstances, then the argument doesn’t explain things as well anymore.

For example, the theory that says things should be easy, that people are cognitive misers who don’t like to make an effort with their thinking, is a sound human behavior theory and it applies in many instances but not all the time. Sometimes self-perception serves to describe your behavior even better than the decision-making thing. So, when you put together the Ikea bookcase (which isn’t easy), you value it more because you worked so hard to have it.

So, you can see that your willingness to order a coffee at Starbucks using specific coffee jargon is evidence that you like it. You go through that extra effort and wait in line rather than having a smoother experience in plain English at the local coffee shop down the street. In this case, it is the friction introduced into the process that shows you how much you value that thing.

But Pointless or Unintentional Friction is Still Bad

All friction is not created equal. We are not arguing you should intentionally make things harder for customers. Pointless or unintentional resistance caused by obliviousness or poor understanding of the friction concept is still terrible Customer Experience Strategy.

Favorable types of friction involve two key descriptors:

  1. Valuable: There is an added benefit of the friction, and that can include the advantage of being a part of an exclusive club that is “in the know” for this experience.
  2. Deliberate: There should be a strategy behind the friction to create the value in the experience rather than friction caused by incompetence or worse, apathy.

Introducing friction is risky in the best of circumstances and intentions. However, when added to further some specific goal, like self-identity or some other perception of the increased value from increased effort, you can intensify the demand for your experience by adding some friction.

So, to summarize the complex discussion on friction, you should take every opportunity to make things easy on your customer. Reducing unnecessary or invaluable friction is your default. Then, recognize what sources of value are for customers in the Customer Experience that you bring to the table as a brand and how does it make customers want your product or service. Next, look for ways to increase that value, which may or may not be introducing a deliberate and strategic benefit through friction.

If everything is easy, how are you going to differentiate yourself? The answer is not making things complicated for no reason, but it might mean making things a little bit more complicated deliberately toward a specific Customer Experience goal.

 

To hear more about Why Some Friction is Good in more detail, listen to the complete podcast here. 

If you want to benchmark your organization’s performance in the new world of behavioral economics against other companies, take our short questionnaire.  Once you submit, we compare your answers against what we know about the market and send you a free personalized report about where your organization is today. 

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Hear the rest of the conversation on Why Some Friction is Good on The Intuitive Customer Podcast. These informative podcasts are designed to expand on the psychological ideas behind understanding customer behavior. To listen in, please click here.

Colin Shaw is the founder and CEO of Beyond Philosophy, one of the world’s leading Customer experience consultancy & training organizations. Colin is an international author of six bestselling books and an engaging keynote speaker.

Follow Colin Shaw on Twitter @ColinShaw_CX

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Colin ShawHow Friction Can Be Good For Customer Experience

The Critical Skills that All Customer-Facing Teams Must Have

by Colin Shaw on August 1, 2019

When I created Beyond Philosophy, I chose the name for a reason. I believe it is crucial to do more than discuss your theories about Customer Experience strategy. Sure, you need to think about it, understand the philosophy behind it as well as the science, but after that, you should go beyond the philosophy and do something.

In other words, theories are fascinating but falderal unless you implement them in your Customer Experience.

The theories we talk about in behavioral economics that people are so excited about now are 50 to 60 years old at this point. However, these ideas have not infiltrated business, politics, or life to the extent that they should because implementing them in real-life is difficult.

I find it exciting to discuss practical tools and approaches. In our most recent episode of our podcast, we talked about how you get the frontline teams to embrace the philosophy behind your Customer Experience program and deliver it.

The Reasons Behind Our Reasoning

 

When it comes to practical strategies you can take, we have developed some tools in our global Customer Experience Consultancy work to help you address the problems of implementing these theories. It starts with understanding the customer journey and how they feel during the different moments of their experience.

We enable this understanding through behavioral Journey Mapping, which we have discussed in the past. In brief, we changed how we assessed and plotted the customer journey from beginning to end in our Journey Mapping exercise by including emotions in the mix. We added emotions for a couple of reasons, but one of them has to do with my wife. Let me explain.

When I walk in the front door, and I shout hello to my wife Lorraine,  within a one-word response I can tell you how Lorraine is feeling, happy, sad, or if I have done something wrong (which is usually the case). We know each other well, so I can tell how she is feeling based on how she sounds in tone and cadence alone. If I can see her, I will also see her facial expression and body language and use that to interpret the emotional environment I have entered.

I’m sure most of you are the same with your significant others. You can evaluate them to determine how they feel.

Once you know where you are emotionally speaking, you can choose what to do or say next. (In my case, I might need a moment as I will be frantically scanning my memory banks to see if I can remember what I forgot and why she is vexed with me this time.)You can do something that will make the situation worse or better.  Effectively, you convert your significant other from feeling one way into feeling another.

It is the same exercise with customers.  A customer walks into a Customer Experience feeling something. Hopefully, customers are happy, but they could also be frustrated, annoyed, or even ambivalent. A customer-facing employee must first evaluate how customers feel. Then, the customer-facing employee makes a choice that meets your goal, which is to evoke the emotion that drives value for your organization.

Why Training on Emotional Management for Frontline Employees is Vital

 

How many high-minded strategic initiatives have come down from the top levels of the corporation and then died at the frontline? The answer is too many. The cause of death? Lack of employee training.

Before you get to training, you have some critical work to do. It would help if you first researched what drives value and which emotions influence these factors. Then, it is crucial to design your experience to evoke those emotions.

However, emotional engagement is not going to manifest itself magically in the customer experience just because you’ve designed the experience that way. It is essential to train your people on how to do that.

Many employees need training on how to evoke those emotions. You can research and design, but if you don’t train people a practical way to apply what you discover and plan, you have wasted your time with the first two steps.

If you don’t train employees, it is harder for them to engage with your program. Moreover, the employees are not motivated to do anything differently because they haven’t been trained to do anything different.

This emotional management training isn’t for everyone. Some people get it and naturally understand how customers feel and can instinctively manage emotions.

However, in the best circumstances, I estimate that only around 20 percent of your people have this level of emotional intelligence. The vast majority of your team, approximately 60 percent, need some help with these skills. The other 20 percent probably are working in the wrong department, but for now, let’s focus on the 60 percent in the middle.

The Three Skills for Frontline Teams to Manage Customer Emotions

 

So how do you address these skills with 60 percent of your team that needs some help?

It comes down to three skills:

  1. Understanding the significance of customer emotions.
  2. Identifying what emotion the customer feels.
  3. Knowing how to manage the customer’s emotions to a valuable place.

Skill #1: Understanding the Significance of customer emotions.

 

The first skill to work on is teaching the majority of your team about the critical nature of emotions in a Customer Experience. This knowledge is fundamental for your frontline team. Without a baseline understanding of this concept, you doom your success with the next two skills.

Skill #2: Identifying how the customer is feeling.

 

There are five areas of customer behavior to consider when determining how they feel. Their words, tone, facial expression, body language, and actions are crucial. Ask yourself five questions, which include

  1. What words are customers using?
  2. How are customers saying the words?
  3. What do the customers’ facial expressions look like?
  4. What does their body language say?
  5. What are customers doing?

For example, let’s say you are trying to build a relationship based on trust with a customer. You need to recognize if they have those feelings of trust toward the offer, company, or even you. If you hear them say, “I’m not sure,” or “I don’t think I understand,” or “I was expecting this,” then their words indicate they do not trust the offer/company/you yet.

However, it is not a conclusive diagnosis based on the words alone. The words are one indication of the five. It’s always more than one indication or an accumulation of indicators that help you identify an emotion.  If you pair those words with a facial expression that seems wary or closed and body language that indicates they are leaning away from you or closing themselves off to you, then you can be more confident that they don’t trust the offer/company/you yet.

Skill #3: Managing Customers to an Improved Emotional Outcome

 

The next area to focus on is how to get customers to a different place emotionally based on the employee’s actions. The exciting thing here is that the employees use the same five areas that you used to assess the customer’s emotional state.

  1. Tell employees what words to use.
  2. Teach customer-facing individuals how to say the words.
  3. Give the team specifics about their facial expressions.
  4. Educate your people on the importance of body language in communication.
  5. Show the frontline team what action to take to resolve customer concerns and problems.

In the example I shared about a customer who does not trust the offer/company/you, you would say things that address their uncertainty like, “Let me assure you that…,” or “I guarantee that…,” or “I can promise you that…,” and other phrases along those lines.

However, on the subject of giving employee language that addresses a situation, I must share that I am not a fan of scripts. They are unnatural and lead to the idea that employees are just “checking boxes” rather than engaging in a real exchange with customers. In some cases, a script might be necessary, of course, especially when there are disclaimers or legal issues, and so on, but, generally, I prefer natural exchanges between your team and customers.

Why Training Is the Practical Application of Theory

 

When you combine giving your employees specific skills to recognize how customers feel and then the tools to manage the emotions of the situation, you have trained the team to get to the next level of customer engagement. When you have higher customer emotional engagement,  have a much better emotional outcome for your Customer Experience.

So, there are several benefits to training, too. First, your team recognizes the fact that customers have emotions because you are talking about it and training people on it. Second, you are giving people the tools to deal with somebody who is upset or frustrated. Finally, you are teaching the team how to be successful in their role. Most employees want to do well because people get a sense of enjoyment out of that rather than merely answering the phone or ringing up purchases, or whatever customer-facing task the employees are hired to do.

One of the prominent theories in behavioral economics is from Professor Daniel Kahneman, who won the Nobel Prize for behavioral economics called the Peak-End rule. Kahneman’s rule says that what people remember is the most intense feeling they had and how they felt at the end.

For me, this rule is massively influential for creating Customer Loyalty. By training your team on these skills, you give people the tools to evoke the desired emotion that drives value at these pivotal moments. The methodology in which customer-facing employees evoke those emotions to create a memory is an example of applying the theory, the Peak-End rule, in practice.

Once you’ve designed your experience, it is essential to train your people. You should invest in the frontline people and get into the detail of identifying the customer’s feeling and convert them.

Training is where the rubber hits the road. It is where creating memories that enable customer emotional engagement, which is the starting point for customer loyalty.

Most of all, training shows you did not just listen to all this theory because it is interesting. You went beyond it and did something.

A customer-facing employee must first evaluate how customers feel

Customer loyalty is a function of customers’ memories. Customer Service excellence is an integral part of how people remember things, but too few organizations take the time to train their customer-facing employees to deliver it. Our Memory-Maker Training fills this gap with instruction in the soft-skills needed to produce a higher level of satisfaction that influences better experience memories as part of an overall Customer Experience strategy. Click here to learn more.

To hear more about the How Customer-Facing People Should Evoke Emotions in Customers for your CX in more detail, listen to the complete podcast here.

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Hear the rest of the conversation on How Customer Facing People Should Evoke Emotions on The Intuitive Customer Podcast. These informative podcasts are designed to expand on the psychological ideas behind understanding customer behavior. To listen in,please click here.

 

 

If you enjoyed this post, you might be interested in the following blogs and podcasts:

THE SURPRISING EFFECT OF CHOICE ARCHITECTURE ON YOUR CX

MEMORY CUES – EXCELLENT CX IS USELESS IF NO ONE REMEMBERS IT

THREE THINGS THAT DRIVE ME MAD AT RESTAURANTS

Colin Shaw is the founder and CEO of Beyond Philosophy, one of the world’s leading Customer experience consultancy & training organizations. Colin is an international author of six bestselling books and an engaging keynote speaker.

Follow Colin Shaw on Twitter @ColinShaw_CX

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Colin ShawThe Critical Skills that All Customer-Facing Teams Must Have

The 5 Essential Practices for Your Customer Experience

by Colin Shaw on July 31, 2019

Because we have frequent thunderstorms and power outages in my Florida home, I recently decided to buy an uninterruptible power supply for my electronics. I’ve had good experiences with Apple products so I first checked to see if Apple made that sort of thing. They didn’t, so I set about comparing and contrasting the models that were available.

I quickly got lost in technical specifications, so I decided that I would choose based on how long the power supply would last. This wasn’t because that was in fact the most important criteria, it was simply something I could understand!

My experience illustrates the nature of customers: irrational, intuitive, driven by past memories and factors that seem irrelevant. We need to consider these traits when designing a Customer Experience to create most value. There are, then, five behavioral economics practices that are essential if you want to improve your customer experience. We discussed these on a recent webinar I hosted for Freshworks, the second in a series titled  ‘Five behavioral economics practices to enhance your customer experience’.

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Colin ShawThe 5 Essential Practices for Your Customer Experience

The Significance of Office Politics on CX—and Your Career

by Colin Shaw on July 29, 2019

I used to work in corporate life. I managed to get up to a senior position. When people asked what I did, I used to say, “I play chess.”

I was joking, of course. The truth is I spent my day on company politics. My guess is a lot of you do, too.

Surprisingly, there are not training courses on company politics and how to deal with them. In light of this fact, we decided managing company politics would be an excellent subject of conversation for a recent podcast. Politics are everywhere and in every organization. They exist because it is human nature to crave power and influence.

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Colin ShawThe Significance of Office Politics on CX—and Your Career

Is Facebook’s Culture Killing it?

by Colin Shaw on July 24, 2019

Are you thinking the same as me? Facebook is not what it used to be – or at least my perception of what it was. Instead of being a company that I admire with a customer centric and open culture it now appears that the inherent culture of Facebook is one of non transparency which chooses to manipulate their customers and their data.  Furthermore, I believe this could lead to their downfall.

Their investors maybe don’t feel the same way. The New York Times reported that Facebook had been fined $5 billion for privacy violations and the share price went up! It was good news that it was only $5 billion. Many people thought it was going to be much more. 

Of course, many people thought that it should have been a lot more. I count myself among them. 

Privacy is not a small thing. This latest violation should have us all wondering, can we trust Facebook and will this fine make any difference? 

We discussed Facebook on a recent podcast and the implications of privacy violations for their users. We believe the loss of trust is going to be a massive issue moving forward. 

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Colin ShawIs Facebook’s Culture Killing it?