Are you Lovin’ or Hating McDonald’s New CX?

by Colin Shaw on March 23, 2017

To be honest, I’m not lovin’ McDonald’s food! However, I’m lovin’ their plans to overhaul their Customer Experience to regain the 500 million lost customer visits. McDonald’s plan to upgrade to the “Experience of the Future “ has much to teach us all about how to adapt to the changing expectations of today’s discerning (and demanding) customers.

McDonald’s rolls out the new experience to 2,500 U.S. locations by fourth quarter 2017. They are adding meal delivery, app-based mobile ordering, curbside pickup and a facelift to the stores. In the dining room, they will also use self-serve kiosks and have employees deliver food to the table when it’s ready.

Why Easy is Crucial to Customer Experience

An easy experience is essential to a brand, particularly in the fast food business. It serves as a competitive differentiator. Also, being easy is indicative of a consistent experience. In fact, this easy concept is so significant to delivering exemplary Customer Experiences that I included it as one of the 7 imperatives in my latest book, The Intuitive Customer, co-written with Professor Ryan Hamilton of Emory University.

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Colin ShawAre you Lovin’ or Hating McDonald’s New CX?

7 Reasons To Focus on Customer value

by Colin Shaw on March 21, 2017

Customer-centric organizations are 60% more profitable than non-customer focused organizations (Deloitte and Touche). Forrester Research declares 2017 the year that businesses become customer-obsessed. So what is the secret? Providing ‘value’ to the Customer. However, most organizations are terrible at doing this and particularly bad at articulating it.

According to a recent Gartner survey, 74% of providers focus too much on their product features and technology. But if product features aren’t that critical when your buyer is making a decision, what is?

What customers really want from your organization is help solving their problem. They want to hear what other customers were able to achieve by using your solution. They want to understand the value and benefits your products promise to deliver, not just the product itself. But this can get a little tricky, as value is defined differently by everyone.

I have just read a great new book called Value-ology Palgrave McMillan, 2017. Value-Ology is the art and science of creating relevant value for customers.

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Colin Shaw7 Reasons To Focus on Customer value

Surprisingly Easy: The Path To Customer Loyalty

by Colin Shaw on March 16, 2017

My first manager had a poster on his wall that said, “There isn’t a lot of traffic on the extra mile,” a tenet of Customer Service. Today, that poster might read, “Why meet customer expectations when you could exceed them?” Exceeding expectations and going the extra mile are still important concepts for front-line employees, but not for the reasons many like to think they are.

A few years ago, Harvard Business Review told us all that excellent customer service was not the foundation of customer loyalty, as we once thought, but instead a minor influence. The authors argued bad customer service had the most impact on loyalty—by destroying it. Therefore, delighting customers did not lead people down the path to customer loyalty; not hacking them off did. Moreover, HBR asserted that the path to customer loyalty was the easiest path of all.

The Easy Path to Customer Loyalty

People love things to be easy. They want everything to be easy. From little decisions like which toothpaste to buy to big decisions like which index fund to invest in, they want to take the easy path to a sound decision. Not only that, when they have a problem opening the cap on said toothpaste or have questions about how to get eStatements for the index fund, they want an easy explanation or solution, and fast!

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Colin ShawSurprisingly Easy: The Path To Customer Loyalty

Startling Revelation! Tell More Jokes To Get Ahead in Business

by Colin Shaw on March 14, 2017

When I was a kid, my teachers labeled me the class clown. I wasn’t one for long winded jokes, but I was always ready with a snappy comeback, a sarcastic comment or a funny observation. My classmates loved my wisecracks, but I have to admit that I spent more time honing my sense of humor than reading my textbooks.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve held onto my wisecracking ways and yet, I’ve been successful in business.

Research confirms that my success isn’t just an accident (though of course I like to think that I am exceptionally witty). According to a study conducted by the Harvard and University of Pennsylvania business schools, using humor effectively can actually bolster your status at work. If you can make people laugh, they’ll think you are more competent and confident than you might actually be.

“If you are brave enough to tell the joke you want to tell, whether it succeeds or not, people ascribe confidence to you because they see you as efficacious” for taking the risk, considering all the ways a joke can go poorly, said one of the study’s co-authors, Allison Wood Brooks of the Harvard Business School.

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Colin ShawStartling Revelation! Tell More Jokes To Get Ahead in Business

Are Telecoms The World’s Worst At Customer Experience?

by Colin Shaw on March 9, 2017

We are fortunate enough to have two homes; one in England and one in the U.S. However, we are unfortunate enough to have two telecom providers; Virgin Media in England and Brighthouse, now Spectrum in Florida. Neither of them provides a Customer Experience worth mentioning—at least not in a positive light. Telecoms are bad at CX around the globe!

Back in 2012, we did some research involving over 40 telecoms. We asked the Customer Experience professionals there to name a Telecom they admired for the experience they provided. The silence was deafening. Five years later, it still is, apparently.

So, based on simple fault reports I have been dealing with in the last month, with these two providers I would give them a ‘0’ on the 0-10 Net promoter scale! I am a detractor and that is what has motivated me to write this blog. Rather than this be a rant let’s look at the key issues with Telecom’s Customer Experience?

  • Telecoms lack Customer Centricity. The customer must chase the organization. Customers endure a tortuous process of trying to suss out the problem by sending you over to a department where people treat you like an idiot by asking stupid questions before, then finally, you get to speak to somebody that can help, however there has not been a warm hand over. This is simply unacceptable. Quite frankly, a lack of Customer Centricity does not create a win-win situation or even a win-lose situation. It’s lose-lose.
  • Telecoms neglect to provide a consistent Customer Experience. One person doesn’t know what the other one is doing or has done. They operate as individuals, duplicating efforts or, in the most egregious cases, duplicating lack of effort. We have had four or five Virgin Media engineers to the house in England to solve the same problem. A few told us that the last guy didn’t record anything (they are not told to), so they have to go back to the beginning on each visit. Why? It isn’t clear, but it feels as if no customer call information ever gets recorded. Not surprisingly, the problem we were having isn’t solved either.
  • Telecoms lack follow through. In Florida, we are having problems with our service, so I called customer care. The Brighthouse/Spectrum customer service representative told me an engineer was scheduled to see me the next day. I was skeptical based on past experiences.  So, I phoned them the next day to see when the engineer might arrive. Customer service had no idea what I was talking about; the appointment was not scheduled. No one knew why it wasn’t or who I talked to or how to get someone to come today! We rescheduled, but I am not optimistic that anyone will turn up.

A Hopeless Case or An Area of Opportunity?

To make matters worse, consolidation of the telecom industry creates an unhealthy environment for Customer Experience progress. As telecoms grow larger and monopolize the market, they eliminate competition as well as the incentive to improve. After all, if you are the only game in town, who cares how you treat people? The result is that customers suffer poor customer service and a miserable Customer Experience while the telecom enjoys record gains in market share.

On the other hand, and a more optimistic hand to be sure, the opportunity is there. It’s ripe. It’s bursting with potential for a telecom to come in and get this right. If a telecom with a truly customer-centric culture emerge with a committed eye to improving the Customer Experience, they could dominate market share.

Changing for the Better Starts with This ONE Thing

I worked in Telecoms for 18 years before leaving to start my global Customer Experience Consultancy. I understand the challenges of this industry. However, even I find it astonishing, the lack of progress the industry has made toward providing an exemplary, or even adequate Customer Experience.

In my experience, Telecoms focus on cost-cutting, internal politics, and a relentless climb to higher profits, and enjoying a positive analyst briefing. I once attended a budget meeting in my former role at one of the largest telecoms in the world where not one initiative we undertook moved the ball forward on Customer Experience. Each and every one was a cost-cutting measure.

I don’t want to rant, but I do want to wallop this issue. Telecoms provide an awful Customer Experience. Moreover, it isn’t limited to just one area. Many details need improvement in the Telecom Customer Experience.

However, each of these details falls under one larger concept. Telecoms need to stop focusing on what’s right for their operations and focus on what’s right for the customer. Moreover, they need to do it with their actions and not their words. It’s all well and good to SAY you put the Customer first and draft an inspiring list of values that extol this sentiment for your organization. But delivering on these words is far more impressive.

What do you think? Are telecoms rotten at CX? Does anyone in telecoms provide an exceptional Customer Experience? If so, do they service England or Florida?

Make sure your Customer Experience exceeds your Customer’s expectations rather than being a disappointment or frustration. Learn how with Beyond Philosophy’s Customer Experience Essentials Certification Training.

If you liked this article, you might also enjoy these additional resources:

How does the Customer Experience evolve inside an organization? How do you overcome the challenges associated with it? Download our whitepaper, The 7 Key Ingredients of a Successful Customer Experience Program in Telecoms, and find out!

Why Are Telecoms So Bad at Customer Experience?

Putting Lipstick on a Pig: Time Warner Merger Goes Ahead

Act Now to Turn Customer Pain Points into Pleasurable Profits

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 five bestselling books and an engaging keynote speaker.

Follow Colin Shaw on Twitter @ColinShaw_CX

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Colin ShawAre Telecoms The World’s Worst At Customer Experience?

Price Slashing Exposed! Low Prices Don’t Mean Better Value

by Colin Shaw on March 7, 2017

When we meet new clients at our customer experience consultancy, they often tell us they create value for their customers by offering low prices. They think “value” means “price,” and they believe that customers want to save money more than anything else.

There are two major problems with this kind of thinking.

First, it doesn’t take an economist with an Ivy League degree to see that cutting prices can only go so far. You reduce your price by 10 percent. Your competitor cuts theirs by 15, so now, to keep your customers, you must reduce your price another 10 percent. This is the classic “race to the bottom,” and eventually you will reach a point where you can no longer cut your prices without losing money. By then, you will have established an expectation of low prices AND you will still need to find other ways to add value and stay competitive. The problem is, your profit margin is now so low that it’s hard to find the money to improve other areas such as customer service.

The second problem with the price=value equation is that it’s simply not true. Research has consistently shown that price is only one factor that customers consider in determining value. And most of the time, it’s not the most important consideration.

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Colin ShawPrice Slashing Exposed! Low Prices Don’t Mean Better Value