A theory is great. It gets you thinking, designing and planning. However, unless you take all the theory and the work you built around it and implement it, it is entirely useless. Today, I present six critical questions you need to ask when implementing Customer Experience theory in your Customer Experience reality.
The concept of implementing the plans you make from theory is significant to me. It began back in my executive position at British Telecom. In that role, I had many bright consultants come in to share fabulous theories. I found theories tiresome after a while, and I began saying, “That’s all very interesting. Now, how do I implement that in my day-to-day operations?” The clever consultants did not have a satisfactory response!
Choice Architecture, a principle that psychologists have studied for decades, is the concept that describes how the presentation of information affects people’s decision-making. Framing is the tone you use to present your options. How you frame the choices changes your results. These two concepts can help you present your goods or services to customers in ways that influence them to respond the way that you want and drive more value ($$$$) for your organization.
I have had the same mobile (cell phone) company in the UK for around 25 years. However, I am about to leave them—and they don’t know it. With my imminent departure on the horizon, I wondered how do organizations avoid customer defection? It turns out that customers usually indicate they are going to leave, and you can see it in their habits.
I see it happen all too often as a global Customer Experience consultant. Customers leave, and companies have no idea how it happened. We discussed this problem on our recent podcast, and how this comes down to not understanding your customers’ motivations and not executing a proper segmentation based on these motivations.
Have you been to the Congo? If not, can you describe the weather? How about the vegetation?
Now tell me why you thought that? Did you see a movie or read a book about the Congo? Did you travel to a nearby country and guess that the Congo was probably a similar experience? Did you or someone you know someone who went to the Congo?
Now, to be clear, there isn’t a wrong answer here. You could have gone to the Congo even. The point I am getting at is that all of us have expectations about the Congo that came from somewhere, whether it was a personal experience or reading Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness in secondary school. These expectations are also an example of a Reference Point.
We all have a Status Quo Bias when it comes to decision making. Also called Status Quo Inertia, the Status Quo Bias is our preference to keep things the same or maintaining a previous decision. Your customers have one, too, and you can use it to get them to do what you want in your Customer Experience.
In the 80s, two professors, William Samuelson and Richard Zeckhauser wrote an article for the Journal of Risk and Uncertainty called, “Status Quo Bias in Decision Making.” They discovered that in a series of experiments that how they framed choices had a significant effect on the participants’ decisions. Subjects made hypothetical investment decisions on a questionnaire, which presented the investment options in different ways. Whenever the researchers identified an option as the status quo, that was what participants chose most often. As the professors say in their paper:
Many organizations have called to tell us that their Customer Experience initiatives are not performing like they did. The results that were once skyrocketing have plateaued. They are surprised by this turn of events, but we are not.
As global Customer Experience consultants, we know that Customer Experience is less of a destination than a journey. Where you are going with Customer Experience (i.e., what customers want) could change and the work you do on the route (i.e., the way you deliver a Customer Experience) will also need to change. In other words, what got you where you needed to go yesterday is not going to get you where you need to go today. You have to embrace new thinking and approach Customer Experience differently.