How Can Wells Fargo Recover From Massive Stakeholder Insensitivity?

by Michael Lowenstein on December 6, 2016

Michael Lowenstein, Ph.D., CMC Thought Leadership Principal, Beyond Philosophy

All of the changes in customer decision-making dynamics, and influences on corporate and brand perception over the past decade or two, have brought business-to-business and business-to-consumer marketplaces to a new frontier. There is an increasingly critical connection between brand promise, corporate trustability and reputation, the customer experience as created by people and processes, and downstream customer behavior.

In an exploding Newtonian way, any small ripple in reputation change (such as through a product recall, operating scandal, or executive miscue), brand performance or customer service can have a tsunami type effect. And the ‘long-tail’ of online social media commentary may make the damage last indefinitely.

Employees have a particularly important role here. Studies have found that employees are often less than enthusiastic about their employers and the goods they produce. As noted in many discussions of employee ambassadorship, small lapses in committed behavior by employees, identified as ‘badvocacy’ by Weber Shandwick, can cause a great deal of damage to reputation and business outcomes. Negative or ambivalent employee attitude often drives customer complaints, some of which are expressed and some of which are either suppressed, mentioned in casual conversation, or posted on social media sites.

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Michael LowensteinHow Can Wells Fargo Recover From Massive Stakeholder Insensitivity?

Yikes! Rental Car Horror Stories

by Colin Shaw on December 1, 2016

Whenever I rent a car, I dread the moment when the agent asks if I want collision damage waiver insurance. I don’t want it, but the way the question is asked always makes me second guess myself for a moment.

And then there is the confusing array of refueling options, and the half dozen clauses I have to initial on the application. By the time I’ve got the keys, I’m never entirely certain what I’ve signed up for. And I’m slightly worried that it’s more than I thought.

This is, of course, a terrible customer experience. The emotions the rental car process produces – uncertainty, confusion, anxiety – are exactly the sort of negative feelings that destroy long-term value for a company.

One car rental company seems to have taken this to a new level. According to the New York Times, Payless Car Rental has a pattern of “pointlessly antagonizing its customers.”

In one case, a Payless customer returned a car and found she had been charged for personal liability insurance that she had repeatedly declined. The same agent who rented her the car claimed to lack authority to remove the charge. The renter began to get collection letters, even after she had paid the disputed charge to avoid damaging her credit rating.

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Colin ShawYikes! Rental Car Horror Stories

For Employees and Customers, Should the Goal Be Higher Engagement or Higher Experience Value?

by Michael Lowenstein on November 29, 2016

Michael Lowenstein, Ph.D., CMC Thought Leadership Principal, Beyond Philosophy

Several years ago, in worldwide customer service experience research conducted for a major high-tech client, to drive stronger downstream customer behavior, it was found that processes and customer interaction had to take service employees well beyond the basics of knowledge, efficiency, and friendliness. Consistently, and irrespective of continent or country, the most effective reps showed true empathy for the customer’s issue, literally “owning” the issue as if it were theirs as well, walking in their shoes. and making a true emotional connection.

What wasn’t so completely understood at the time is that that this level of employee commitment and personal investment also positively impacted the employee experience. This was something of an epiphany for our client, representing an unanticipated ‘bonus’ result.

Customer experience pros can argue back-and-forth about whether a vendor can create deep emotions such as bonding and love in a customer. There are lots of articles and studies around stating things like “Highly engaged customers are loyal customers”. There’s little doubt that engaged customers can, and do, help shape the brand. They can also provide useful feedback and build brand-based communities. Today, is that enough?

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Michael LowensteinFor Employees and Customers, Should the Goal Be Higher Engagement or Higher Experience Value?

3 Vital Trends For Your Mobile Experience

by Colin Shaw on November 24, 2016

How much time did you spend on your mobile today? Are you reading this article on it right now? When you misplace it or forget it at home, be honest: Do you feel naked without your phone?

Smartphone users love their phones. I know I do (my answers are 2.5 hours; no, but if it weren’t mine I would be; and yes.) Over two billion people use them two hours a day. With this much time spent fiddling with the phone, the chances are that many of your customers’ ONLY Customer Experience is a mobile user experience (UX). Far too many organizations are not optimizing this experience the way they should.

Consider your answers to the following questions:

Can you remember a time when a mobile functionality took ten times longer to undertake on your mobile than it would on your desktop? How did you feel at that moment?

Have the graphics (or worse yet, some ads) ever taken forever to load, leading you to bail on the site?

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Colin Shaw3 Vital Trends For Your Mobile Experience

The Secret To Becoming A Successful Executive!

by Colin Shaw on November 22, 2016

At our customer experience consultancy, we talk a lot about creating value. A customer’s perception of value drives customer loyalty and retention. And those things in turn create long-term value for a business.

But companies don’t just create value by accident. Those who do it best embrace a strategy that puts value into the very fabric of corporate culture.

Gautam Mahajan has now written an excellent book on this topic, called Value Creation: The Definitive Guide for Business Leaders. Mahajan argues that an executive’s role is to create value, rather than just to be a good administrator or an efficient manager. Many executives are so comfortable in fulfilling their functional roles that they forget that creating Value will take them ahead, enhance their business objectives and profits, and make their customers happier.

Mahajan’s book offers a blueprint for CEOs to establish a value creation culture. The insights he provides can create a positive impact on your life whether you’re a C-suite executive, a volunteer, a public sector worker, a parent or a student.

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Colin ShawThe Secret To Becoming A Successful Executive!

Another Amazing Mistake – Customers Revolt!

by Colin Shaw on November 17, 2016

Toblerone fans got a nasty surprise when they bought their favorite treat recently. The chocolate bar got a makeover, losing volume and a noticeable gap between the triangles. Customers noticed the change, but not in a good way.

Toblerone, a chocolate bar known for its triangular shape and unique packaging,reduced the size of their 170-gram (Almost 6 oz.) candy bar to 150 (5.291). Their 400-gram (14 oz.) candy bar lost 40 grams (1.4 oz.). The price, however, remains the same. Customers voiced their displeasure on their Facebook page and all over social media.

The company that produces Toblerone bars is Mondelez International. They cite the rising cost of ingredients as the reason for the change. They wanted to keep the shape and the packaging but needed to cut costs. Hence, the gap between the peaks that outrages customers—and reflects poorly on their brand.

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Colin ShawAnother Amazing Mistake – Customers Revolt!